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How much water can you add?

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Eculligan

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We have an amazing batch of wine going from our own grapes that have been sitting in their 5 gallon car boys for 4 months without a transfer. The wine is completely clear at this point . I’m told that we should transfer into the second car boys to get the wine off of the solids at the bottom . When we do this how much water can you add to make up the lose of volume to keep the wine at the top of the car boy?
 

Eculligan

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Thanks that’s what we will do. Another question. After we re rack the second time how long should we wait until we bottle and do you recommend sulfates for the second rack? We added some on the first....I’m so excited . We tried it tonight and it tasted like a legitimate $17 dollar bottle of cab. Don’t want to ruin it!
 

Rembee

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Thanks that’s what we will do. Another question. After we re rack the second time how long should we wait until we bottle and do you recommend sulfates for the second rack? We added some on the first....I’m so excited . We tried it tonight and it tasted like a legitimate $17 dollar bottle of cab. Don’t want to ruin it!
I normally add the recommended amount of potassium metabisulfite or a camden tablet at every racking.
As far as bottling, there are some variables to consider before bottling.
  • has the wine stabilized
  • has the wine cleared enough
  • does it need back sweetening
If back sweetening, I normally wait until the specific gravity reads the same 3 times within 3 weeks thus making sure it has stabilized. If not back sweetening then I will look for the specific gravity to read the same within a 2 week period.
 

Johnd

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Thanks that’s what we will do. Another question. After we re rack the second time how long should we wait until we bottle and do you recommend sulfates for the second rack? We added some on the first....I’m so excited . We tried it tonight and it tasted like a legitimate $17 dollar bottle of cab. Don’t want to ruin it!
Since this is a dry cab, I assume you don’t intend to do too much more than wait until it’s ready to bottle, so I’ll offer you the following for consideration:

  • In my experience, it takes at least 8 months for a red grape wine to be clear, free of CO2, and bottle ready
  • Consider racking now to rid yourself of lees, rack down or top with a commercial Cab, and add sulfite as needed
  • Wait another 4 months, repeat the racking / sulfiting, and then bottle.
If you don’t have the ability to measure sulfite in your wine and to adjust based upon pH, you can follow the “1/4 tsp in 6 gallons” rule of thumb to stay on the safe side.
 

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