How to do cold stablization?

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Chuck-crisler

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I live in New Hampshire, and it is cold. A few weeks ago I finished my initial racking and started cold stabilization. At that time the outside temp was getting down to the low 20s. I put my carboys out on a North porch protected from light. I thought that the stabilization would probably be quick so I could rack again before Christmas and get everything to bulk aging. Well, I forgot about the water filled air locks. Fortunately I realized my mistake before they completely froze. I have read here that typical wine doesn't freeze until about 17F and there is a relationship between wine temp and time for cold stabilization (colder = shorter). So my question is how to protect the wine when the temps are below freezing? I typically put the carboys in my garage/basement where the temps get down to 36-38F, which takes a couple of months. Also, how do others protect wine during bulk aging? I use air locks filled with water, which means that I have to check them. I have started putting a small amount of meta in when I rack the wine (target about 30ppm) so I don't think that I have any live yeast left. Would an undrilled stopper be good? I am also concerned about temp changes pushing the stopper out. Suggestions? Comments?
 
You can solve the airlock issue with vodka instead of water. Spare refrigerator? Even if it’s unplugged can be a stable environment. You would have to measure the temperature inside to know if that’s practical.

36-38F should only need a few weeks to do the job, not months.
 
I think 17F is kind of pushing it. You would need to keep a very close eye on it because that change from a liquid state to solid occurs quickly… you would hate to have a carboy go all explodey on you.

I shoot for two to three weeks when the lows will be in the mid to upper 20’s and monitor the carboy temp with one of those cheap laser thermometers from harbor freight.
 
I live in New Hampshire, and it is cold. A few weeks ago I finished my initial racking and started cold stabilization. At that time the outside temp was getting down to the low 20s. I put my carboys out on a North porch protected from light. I thought that the stabilization would probably be quick so I could rack again before Christmas and get everything to bulk aging. Well, I forgot about the water filled air locks. Fortunately I realized my mistake before they completely froze. I have read here that typical wine doesn't freeze until about 17F and there is a relationship between wine temp and time for cold stabilization (colder = shorter). So my question is how to protect the wine when the temps are below freezing? I typically put the carboys in my garage/basement where the temps get down to 36-38F, which takes a couple of months. Also, how do others protect wine during bulk aging? I use air locks filled with water, which means that I have to check them. I have started putting a small amount of meta in when I rack the wine (target about 30ppm) so I don't think that I have any live yeast left. Would an undrilled stopper be good? I am also concerned about temp changes pushing the stopper out. Suggestions? Comments?
put some vodka in the air locks
 
I have read here that typical wine doesn't freeze until about 17F
That is wrong -- The freezing point of wine is dependent upon the ABV and other constituents in the wine. IIRC, a 10% ABV wine may freeze at 27 F / -3 C, and an "average" wine may free around 23 F / -5 C.

This was a topic of discussion a while back, and I read a few technical papers. Several indicated there is no advantage in cooling the wine below 32 F / 0 C. The consensus is that closer to freezing produces a better result, e.g., the saturation point reaches its lowest point and precipitates the most. The risk of freezing your wine is not worth it, at least not IMO.

When I lived in NY, my porch stayed above freezing all winter, typically 35 to 40 F (1 to 5 C), and 1 to 2 weeks duration was sufficient. If you leave the wine all winter in that range, you'll get good results.

I use vented bungs for long term storage. Note that I don't ignore the wine for any length of time -- I check airlocks and bungs at least weekly.
 
This might be too obvious, but a chiller is a great way to do this. You don't need anything fancy with the exception of a temperature power switch. Just some water in a refrigerator pumped through hoses submerged in your wine is enough to do the job, especially if you're working with small volumes. They even have jackets for carboys on the market
 
I live in New Hampshire, and it is cold. A few weeks ago I finished my initial racking and started cold stabilization. At that time the outside temp was getting down to the low 20s. I put my carboys out on a North porch protected from light. I thought that the stabilization would probably be quick so I could rack again before Christmas and get everything to bulk aging. Well, I forgot about the water filled air locks. Fortunately I realized my mistake before they completely froze. I have read here that typical wine doesn't freeze until about 17F and there is a relationship between wine temp and time for cold stabilization (colder = shorter). So my question is how to protect the wine when the temps are below freezing? I typically put the carboys in my garage/basement where the temps get down to 36-38F, which takes a couple of months. Also, how do others protect wine during bulk aging? I use air locks filled with water, which means that I have to check them. I have started putting a small amount of meta in when I rack the wine (target about 30ppm) so I don't think that I have any live yeast left. Would an undrilled stopper be good? I am also concerned about temp changes pushing the stopper out. Suggestions? Comments?
wines can take -7 Celsius before they freeze. Put vodka-water in the air locks and they won't freeze
 

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