How to clear my 'wine', without adding anything?

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Mycofunco

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I am keen to make use of some of the interesting edibles available, to turn them into wine. My father was an avid amateur wine maker, winning many trophies in shows, and such. But I am interested in making wine, as simply as possible, without having to study, or master chemistry. Last year I harvested a load of damsons, and they were at peak ripeness, lovely and sweet. I thought, it's time to have ago at wine. I wanted to make it the way grape wine has been made for hundreds, if not thousands of years, without chemists' cocktails of immediate answers. There is something to be had with the mystery. So the experiment consisted of one ingredient, damsons, in a fermenter, mashed up, with seeds and all. Yesterday I opened it up, and the aroma was delicious. Though I have tried the unfiltered clouded liquid, and it is not hardly as alcoholic as it smells, but more so, it lacks body, and needs clearing. I am in no rush. I expect I need to filter it, and leave to rack. Or filter, then add sugar to add alcohol, and then rack. How can I clear it l, without adding anything? Racking and racking amore? Any advise ia appreciated, thank you.
 

crushday

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Time, Time, Time. Especially since you've indicated you're not in a rush. And, I don't think you'll need to filter.

Now, a few questions and comments derived from a reading of your post:

1. What's your volume and storage medium?
2. Do you have a hydrometer? Pretty difficult to test alcohol levels with taste alone. A hydrometer will also give you an accurate measurement of gravity so you can ascertain RS too. (RS=residual sugar)
3. You've indicated employing a simplistic approach so likely don't have a hydrometer - but, they are cheap.
4. Do you have Kmeta on hand? What's your pH and SO2 levels?
5. Racking every three months is going to provide clear wine, over time. Every time... (edit: as @cmason1957 noted, pectic haze could slow or retard clearing.)
6. Make sure you're topped up tight, especially important since you're not adding any kmeta.
 
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Mycofunco

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I have 10 litrws including the pulp. I have several hydrometers, inherited, as is my intrest, from my fathers passion for wine making. I do not yet know what a kmeta (will have a look on google). Do not know the pH, nor the SO2 levels (?)
Thank you
 

crushday

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As you recognized in the original post, making wine is a scientific process. Sorry for my use of abbreviations and acronyms...

Kmeta = Potasium Metabisulfite - used to produce SO2 and acts as a catalyst to preservative and protect the wine from oxygen exposure and unfriendly organisms. Typical dosage is 50ppm (parts per million)

SO2 = Sulfur Dioxide (bi-product of Kmeta) is the most common chemical compound used in winemaking. ... Sulfur serves two main purposes. It prevents the wine from reacting with oxygen which can cause browning and off-odors (oxidation), and it inhibits the growth of bacteria and undesirable wild yeasts in the grape juice and wine. (this is somewhat redundant in explanation of Kmeta)

pH plays a significant role on the amount of Kmeta to introduce to the finished wine. A lower pH requires less and higher pH requires more. You need a pH meter to check this. They vary in price and you can get one on Amazon for about 10 bucks. Check out this link for more information on SO2 management: Guide to SO2 Management and SO2 Calculator | MoreWine

I assume you're finishing up fermentation and therefore the must is dissipating CO2 (bi-product of yeast eating sugar. Other bi-product is alcohol) - which is heavier than O2 and provides a protective blanket if undisturbed. As you know, O2 is a catalyst required for decay and will oxidize otherwise great wine if allowed.

You should check out all the manuals on this page: MoreManuals! Winemaking Guides | MoreWine
 

cmason1957

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I do have my doubts that your damson wine will clear without some help. A quick google search seems to show that damsons are very high in pectin. This can lead to cloudy wine, that won't clear, unless you add something to break up the pectin, the opposite of what you want when you make jams/jellies, Pectic enzyme. I could very well be wrong, having never made plum or damson wine. On the plus side, it doesn't sound like you heated the must, which would almost certain set the pectin. Time will tell.

My wife and I just stopped at a very small winery in the US state of Iowa. This winery makes only fruit wines and adds nothing to any of their wines. One of the few wineries where I really didn't want to buy a bottle of anything, but with a free tasting, I felt like I must help them out a bit to cover costs. But we won't be stopping at that place ever again.
 

crushday

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A quick google search seems to show that damsons are very high in pectin. This can lead to cloudy wine, that won't clear, unless you add something to break up the pectin, the opposite of what you want when you make jams/jellies, Pectic enzyme.
Craig makes an excellent point and one I did not consider. It takes a village...
 

Scooter68

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As much as we know you want to do your wine without chemicals, if you are going to make wine you have to learn the basics. Using tools such as a Hydrometer and pH meter would give you a lot of help but... without the guidance of someone with a lot of experience in "natural wine making" you likely to end up disappointed.

I would also suggest avoiding YouTube videos as anyone can produce a video and you have no way of verifying their honesty or accuracy.

First step would be to find some decent publications on making wine. Keep in mind that making grape wine is a lot different than making plum wine or fruit wines.

Not writing this to burst your bubble but you need to have reasonable expectations and some solid guidance.

Also - if you are going to try to age your wine and let it clear naturally (Nothing wrong or tricky with that if you've followed good steps in making the wine.) Wine is preserved by having an adequate amount of Alcohol (Typically at least 9-10%) and enough acidity. That's the reason you will hear folks saying that you need a hydrometer to take measurements (before you start a batch) and a pH meter to determine the acidity. Also of course you have to keep oxygen from ruining the wine.
 

heatherd

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I am keen to make use of some of the interesting edibles available, to turn them into wine. My father was an avid amateur wine maker, winning many trophies in shows, and such. But I am interested in making wine, as simply as possible, without having to study, or master chemistry. Last year I harvested a load of damsons, and they were at peak ripeness, lovely and sweet. I thought, it's time to have ago at wine. I wanted to make it the way grape wine has been made for hundreds, if not thousands of years, without chemists' cocktails of immediate answers. There is something to be had with the mystery. So the experiment consisted of one ingredient, damsons, in a fermenter, mashed up, with seeds and all. Yesterday I opened it up, and the aroma was delicious. Though I have tried the unfiltered clouded liquid, and it is not hardly as alcoholic as it smells, but more so, it lacks body, and needs clearing. I am in no rush. I expect I need to filter it, and leave to rack. Or filter, then add sugar to add alcohol, and then rack. How can I clear it l, without adding anything? Racking and racking amore? Any advise ia appreciated, thank you.
I don't believe your goal of "not adding anything" is attainable because you'll need at least kmeta, yeast, and some form of clarifier or else it won't work. You will need to degass and age, adding kmeta every three months. I don't find racking to be needed every three months.
 

franc1969

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I am keen to make use of some of the interesting edibles available, to turn them into wine. My father was an avid amateur wine maker, winning many trophies in shows, and such. But I am interested in making wine, as simply as possible, without having to study, or master chemistry. Last year I harvested a load of damsons, and they were at peak ripeness, lovely and sweet. I thought, it's time to have ago at wine. I wanted to make it the way grape wine has been made for hundreds, if not thousands of years, without chemists' cocktails of immediate answers. There is something to be had with the mystery. So the experiment consisted of one ingredient, damsons, in a fermenter, mashed up, with seeds and all. Yesterday I opened it up, and the aroma was delicious. Though I have tried the unfiltered clouded liquid, and it is not hardly as alcoholic as it smells, but more so, it lacks body, and needs clearing. I am in no rush. I expect I need to filter it, and leave to rack. Or filter, then add sugar to add alcohol, and then rack. How can I clear it l, without adding anything? Racking and racking amore? Any advise ia appreciated, thank you.
Well, you can certainly try wine or fermented juice without anything added at all. 'Natural' is a buzzword these days. However.... for hundreds of years winemakers have been adding sulfur, using oak fermenters and barrels, and other fermenters that hold selected yeasts. Vineyards and orchards have yeasts, but most 'natural' yeast comes from surfaces in wineries and breweries. Not inoculated, but not as random as it may seem. Sulfur has been burned for centuries, what we use now is just standardized to guarantee the process. In the case of malolactic fermentation, or residual sugar- sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes bottled too doon and you got a sparkling wine or unintended bottle bomb. It was what it was, every year. Italians did this, but the product may not last for years, and some years didn't taste as good. It was ok.
Anyway- time will clear wines, that's all you need. If not grapes- you might not have alcohol and acid enough to wait that long. Pectin takes a long time to clear without enzymes, but low alcohol and uncertain acid levels make for spoilage and potential botulism. Drink it now and ignore the cloudy. Be careful of those seeds, I would not have fermented with them. They can be bitter, and I am not sure if plums have cyanide like other fruits.
 

Scooter68

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A pectic haze can last a lot longer than the wine. Especially a low alcohol, low acid wine.

When we talk about making wine the Old World way or "Natural" wine making, keep in mind we rarely ever hear about wine making disasters that occurred way back when... Historians rarely kept such records unless the result was a massive number of people ill or dead as a result. That's not to say it's going to happen to OP, just that all those tales of wines being made without 'chemicals' don't include the failures that certainly occurred then too.
And best of all the fact is that a lot of closely guarded secrets (Special additives and methods like the sulfur treatments) existed for decades or longer in the competitive businesses and wine making has certainly been a competitive enterprise over the last few hundred years at least.
 

winemanden

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The best way to find which way suits you is to split your wine in half. Do one half the way you feel you want to go, and do the other half as has been suggested. Age them both for at least a year, try them, then you'll see why. THEN you'll see.😔
 

BernardSmith

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So the experiment consisted of one ingredient, damsons, in a fermenter, mashed up, with seeds and all. Yesterday I opened it up, and the aroma was delicious. Though I have tried the unfiltered clouded liquid, and it is not hardly as alcoholic as it smells, but more so, it lacks body, and needs clearing.
If you don't measure the density (specific gravity) of the must (the juice ready for fermentation) then you cannot really know the amount of alcohol that is in the wine. If the only yeast you are using to ferment the fruit juice is indigenous yeast then you also may not have any idea of the number of yeast cells available and their tolerance for alcohol. So, certainly working in the dark ( Your reference to "mystery") is one approach to wine making but a more sure-footed approach is to understand every single choice you make and what choices you are not making...
All other thing being equal, I would imagine that the sugar content of plums is equivalent to about 1 lb of table sugar in one gallon of 100 percent plum juice. That would have a specific gravity of about 1.045 and if 100% of the sugars were converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas your plum wine would have about 6% alcohol by volume. A craft beer might have 4% ABV, a cider might have 6% and a table wine is likely to be about 12 % alcohol by volume. Lower alcohol wines have a short shelf life: there is often not enough alcohol in the wine to prevent spoilage bacteria from finding a haven...
 

Raptor99

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Actually there is a way to measure ABV without knowing the OG if you have both a refractometer and a hydrometer. The procedure is explained here: Alcohol Measurement by Refractometer and Hydrometer Rather than using the formula on that site, it is easier to use the calculator here: Homebrew Refractometer Calculator

Why this works: The hydrometer measures SG (density), while the refractometer measures dissolved solids through light refraction. Neither measures sugar content directly. Both measurements will change due to the presence of alcohol. (The SG of pure water is 1.000). By combining the two measurements with a formula, you can calculate the approximate ABV.
 

hounddawg

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when young i helped old timers make fruirt/berry wines also called country wine, 98% of them was a hit or miss year to year, but even the best was being chancey. so i decide to marry the old with the new, as few new ways as possable, i aint a clue, about grapes, they are more compulated,
but you have come to the right fourm
Dawg
 
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