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Im a wine dummy :)

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Phung

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Hi all,

Yes, I am literally a wine dummy :p
I do not drink wine and if I do I get drunk after 2 sips.
I love doing new experiment and here is my story of how I got myself into starting this making wine journey...It been fun up to now. LOL!!!

My neighbor have a some black grapes ( I think ) vines leaning on our fence for the passed 25 years. Every year we treat our self with some fine grapes with the blessing of our neighbor of course :) We can't eat them all and there is always a lot of left over by winter comes. We just let it be and left it on the vines.
This year in particular it was overly abundance. My husband picked up a big basin full and still have as much left on the wines.
He said it as a joke that I should make wine with it......so I did...LOL!!!
I went online, looked at some recipes and videos. I make 2 different recipes, both without yeast.

The first batch is with sugar and water. I have 4 litters in fermentation. After 1 week they are still bubbly but much less. The recipe require me to stir it once a day for some time ( I don't know what it mean *some time* but I still stirring to this day). It said the first stage of fermentation is 14 days. All seems to be ok till now.

The second batch was just the mashed grapes. I have 5 littler of this recipe. After the first night, the fermentation was so much it got spill all over...(insert rolling eyes)...what a mess! Big clean up! The recipe require I let the first stage of fermentation for 20 days and stir it everyday.

All goes as planned until mid yesterday. I stir the juice yesterday morning and when I check on them later on in the afternoon ( I check on them several time a day since they are in my kitchen cabinet :) The fermentation of one without water and sugar looked different. It doesn't seem to raising up (not much bubbles) and when I stir the juice this morning it has very little bubble coming up. The fermentation of the one with sugar and water seem to be slowing down too but when I stir it, it still have a fair amount of bubbles.

Here is my questions:
#1 - Is it normal that the fermentation almost stop within less than a week (6 days)?
#2 - Should I still wait for the 20 days before I go for the second fermentation? I still have 13 days to go.

I am doing this just for the experience and fun. I don't think I want to buy all kind of equipment to make great wine. Hopefully someone can help me :)

Thank you
 

Phung

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I forgot to mention that I tasted the juice 2 days ago and it tasked nice...like wine with a sweet task in it. Now I just tasted and tasted a little sour...the one with no sugar tasted a little more sour that the one with sugar. Is that normal?
Also a couple days ago it smelled strong wine...but started last night the small of wine has faded a lot. Is that normal?
 

mainshipfred

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The wild yeast you are using does not have a very high alcohol tolerance. It could be you have reached that point. The only way you can be sure the fermentation has stopped is to use a hydrometer. If the reading doesn't change after several days you are done and the wine should be dry. The sweetness you may be experiencing is the remaining sugar once you reached your max alcohol level for the wild yeast. Hope this helps
 

Ajmassa

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If this is a one-time spur of the moment kinda thing for fun do we assume the equipment you have is minimal? At minimum you'll need :
-jugs for the wine after fermentation
-airlocks for the jugs
-some sort of strainer and funnel (cheesecloth in the funnel can work) or plastic tubing for siphoning


Everything you've said sounds right on target. The batch with added sugar has more to ferment so it should probably take a little longer to finish. Keep stirring 1-2x a day like you've been. And your wine is still fermenting, it will taste like a very very harsh wine.
1. Yes it's normal for fermentation to slow down after a week. Many times even finish. Once the bubbling and fizzing looks to be almost dead your ready to move it from the buckets.
2. Don't follow the # of days timeline. Listen to your wine. Once it stops bubbling it's not producing any more co2, which was protecting it from oxygen exposure. You'll know when because the "cap" of grape skins floating on the top will stop forming as strong. And it will not look dry anymore.
Hopefully you have some sort of jug or vessel to store the wine after fermentation. A vessel that seals it from oxygen with an airlock. (Preferably 1gallon jugs) --these are about 5Liter batches?
Your gonna have to get the wine into that vessel and leaving behind any gunk that settled on the bottom of the buckets. A strainer to scoop out all the skins into a separate container. --the goal is to get clean wine into that jug. And then use some sort of strainer bag with the grape skins it, and you can hand squeeze the rest of the wine out of the skins. (Pressing).
Once your into the jugs a lot more sediment will drop to the bottom. 1-2 days later you'll wanna rack the wine off of that sediment. Once you reach this point your golden.
Keep the wine in the jugs filled to the middle of the neck. Have some sort of airlock instead of a cap or cork. Airlocks will allow co2 to release (needed) but not let oxygen in.
At that point let them sit for as long as you can stand. The longer you go the better. If you go long you can rack off the sediment every few months.
 

Phung

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Thank you guys :) I will go get some equipment and I'll be back tomorrow.
 

vernsgal

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You have to measure the SG , if not before, at least ,after and make sure it has gone dry ( below .998)
 

Redbird1

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The wild yeast you are using does not have a very high alcohol tolerance. It could be you have reached that point. The only way you can be sure the fermentation has stopped is to use a hydrometer. If the reading doesn't change after several days you are done and the wine should be dry. The sweetness you may be experiencing is the remaining sugar once you reached your max alcohol level for the wild yeast. Hope this helps
How do you know the alcohol tolerance of the yeast he is using?

Also, it can't be dry and still have remaining sugar. Those are mutually exclusive terms.
 

Redbird1

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You said the yeast does not have a high alcohol tolerance. How do you know that?
 

mainshipfred

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You said the yeast does not have a high alcohol tolerance. How do you know that?
This is just one article, there are numerous others stating the same. It is the same with MLF. Grapes also have the natural ability to go through MLF but it takes longer and will not finish.

Spontaneous Fermentation
Throughout the old world winemaking community (Europe etc.), there are commercial wineries that have been fermenting on indigenous yeast for generations. Many California wineries are catching on and beginning to practice spontaneous fermentation with favorable results. Hundreds of home winemakers have been happy with it as well.

That being said, why such caution? Quite simply, it is the unpredictable nature of spontaneous fermentation that either attracts us as winemakers, or scares us off. One of the most common characteristics of indigenous yeasts — even good ones — is their low resistance to alcohol. Many wild types of yeast are unable to perform once alcohol levels reach 6%. The result is stuck fermentation, flabby wine with a low immune system, and a pile of unwanted residual sugar — to name just a few problems.

Another risky feature is the fact that wild yeast exists on grapes in much smaller numbers than a dose of inoculated yeast. Therefore, it takes longer for wild yeast to colonize - up to a week in larger batches - leaving the grapes open to infection from other spoilage organisms and from oxidation. In addition, once fermentation begins, it is longer and slower, and at a lower temperature.

A third risky feature is the unpredictable by-product of off-aromas and esters that wild yeast can impart to the wine. So then, why would someone even want spontaneous fermentation? The answer? For pretty much the same reasons mentioned above.
 

sour_grapes

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You said the yeast does not have a high alcohol tolerance. How do you know that?
I imagine that it's just an educated guess, based on the reported behavior of the wine and the fact that most yeast strains in the world have a low tolerance to alcohol, compared to the strains that have been cultivated to ferment wine over the millenia.
 

Ajmassa

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Technicalities aside, this thread is Just a curious person looking for quick tips to turn their neighbors grapes into a couple gallons of wine and their biggest concern is having fun.
@Phung - Could natural yeast possibly leave some sugar left? Possibly, but no need to worry.
Does everything need to be sanitized that comes in contact with the wine? It should but it's not a dealbreaker. Use clean jugs and rinse with piping hot water- good to go.
Yes you could use a hydrometer and add this chemical and that chemical. But you don't HAVE to. You can make wine and keep it as basic as it gets. If you liked it and want to make more and improve it then start worrying about better ways investing more time reading and more $ for different items.
Until then, don't get hung up on details. And have fun. Also those airlocks mentioned, I believe you can put together a makeshift type from household items. Good luck
 

Redbird1

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An educated guess should not be stated as fact. Sure, the odds are that it won't be as tolerant as a cultivated strain, but at this point, it is impossible to tell without additional information. The wines could already be dry for all we know. Ajmassa5983 gave some excellent advice on how to proceed that should work no matter what yeast was used.

Edited to remove quotes.
 
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Redbird1

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If you didn't want to be responded to, why inject yourself? You made an educated guess that his answer was an educated guess. I was responding on my thoughts on educated guesses. Seemed appropriate enough.
 
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