Im freaking out. What have I done wrong?

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Xerxwine

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I'm making wine for the first time. Here is what I have done so far.

I bought 26 kg of grapes to make red wine. I gave it to someone to crush it with a grapecrushing machine. I brought the barrel home and put half kilogram of rock candy(flavorless,coloreless,plain sugar) to it. Pic of the candy

I didn't pour any yeast because my uncle told me the natural yeast on the grape's skin is enough.

I closed the lid. Tightened it with the collar so that no air goes in.

I started punching the wine from the next day. Two times a day.(one thing that I'm worried about is that I've seen on other YouTube videos that they don't punch or stir the one for a week or so)

During the past 7 days I see a little foam when I punch the wine but not really noticeable. I'm not sure at what stage of fermentation I am. The skin and grapes do come at the top but I think it should puff to much higher level.

Today I added an airlock. I drilled a hole,put a bung and installed the airlock on top. I don't see any bubbles. The water inside the airlock is not bubbling.

I'm literally going insane since all I think about during the day is my wine. I have spent a lot (buying barrel(second handed though), long wooden stirring stick, airocks, drill equipment and of course the grape)

I would very much appreciate it if you could help.

P.S The barrel looks like this but the silver collar is a bit bent since it's second handed.Barrel
 
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Scooter68

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You might want to edit your post and remove your location information if you are actually in that country. Wine making in most Muslim controlled countries can result is severe repercussions. I know there is plenty of dissent in your particular country but still.....
 

winemaker81

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@Xerxwine, do you have a hydrometer, and if not, can you get one? This tests the specific gravity and is the easiest way for a home winemaker to determine if fermentation is complete.
 

Xerxwine

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You might want to edit your post and remove your location information if you are actually in that country. Wine making in most Muslim controlled countries can result is severe repercussions. I know there is plenty of dissent in your particular country but still.....
Yeah you're right. But I doubt they can track me. Also I'm making for my own. I'm not gonna start selling.
But you're right tbh. I'm gonna remove it
 

Xerxwine

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@Xerxwine, do you have a hydrometer, and if not, can you get one? This tests the specific gravity and is the easiest way for a home winemaker to determine if fermentation is complete.
Unfortunately I don't. I need to look up and see how much it costs. If it's cheap I might buy one

Edit: I checked. A bit expensive but I can buy it.is there no way to find out without hydrometer?
 

NorCal

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Welcome. The problem with using "natural" yeast is that you don't know what was present on your grapes and in what amount. The cost of a good wine yeast is quite inexpensive vs. the cost of not having a successful fermentation. A hydrometer is $12 delivered here in the US, it is the sure way of knowing how your ferementation is going. You could try "pitching" the new yeast (look for 1118) or start a new fermentation and feed this must into it. Also, the fermentation needs oxygen on the start of fermentation, you don't want an air tight seal. This also didn't help your situation.
 

winemaker81

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Edit: I checked. A bit expensive but I can buy it.is there no way to find out without hydrometer?
No. A hydrometer is the least expensive tool for the job. It's the one tool I'll bet 99% of the folks on the forum will vote as an essential tool. If your wine making is not a one-off, e.g., you're going to keep doing it? It's worth it.

They are made of glass and are fragile. Treat them carefully and with respect, and they'll last a long time. Mine is 38 years old as of next January.
 

Xerxwine

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ok I'm gonna buy hydrometer and update you guys. Tomorrow everywhere is closed in my country. Hopefully my wine doesn't turn bad by saturday . I'll let you know. Thanks a lot
 

winemaker81

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@Xerxwine, welcome to an international fraternity!

Your wine is outgassing (emitting CO2) and will do so for a week or more. This protects the wine from O2.

O2 is use by yeast for reproduction during fermentation. AFTER fermentation O2 is the enemy. But you have a short term buffer so you're probably OK.
 

Rice_Guy

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a hydrometer is measuring density relative to distilled water (1 gm/ cc). ie if you have access to a two place balance and pipettes you can monitor the density by tracking the decrease of weight per cc. ,,, this sample can be returned to the wine.
For most folks in the US starting they don’t have a balance and accurate volume measurement so the hydrometer is cheaper and quite accurate.
I checked. A bit expensive but I can buy it.is there no way to find out without hydrometer?
 

Xerxwine

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@Xerxwine, welcome to an international fraternity!

Your wine is outgassing (emitting CO2) and will do so for a week or more. This protects the wine from O2.

O2 is use by yeast for reproduction during fermentation. AFTER fermentation O2 is the enemy. But you have a short term buffer so you're probably OK.
Thank you for the information.

a hydrometer is measuring density relative to distilled water (1 gm/ cc). ie if you have access to a two place balance and pipettes you can monitor the density by tracking the decrease of weight per cc. ,,, this sample can be returned to the wine.
For most folks in the US starting they don’t have a balance and accurate volume measurement so the hydrometer is cheaper and quite accurate.
I found a chinese one. I'm not sure if the cheap Chinese hydrometers will do the work. There is also German one which is twice the price of the Chinese one. I'm not sure which one should I buy
 

Rice_Guy

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which one?
I have three types of hydrometers, the medical and mom’s are off by .002 from the newest triple scale. On an accuracy basis who cares about .002 when the target for finished is from 0.990 to 0.998, ,, or .008 units.
The other way to rank would be how often do they break? I have broken the medical style with .001 divisions but not the common larger more clunky styles with .002 divisions.
. . . I would choose on cost, accuracy doesn’t matter
I'm not sure if the cheap Chinese hydrometers will do the work. There is also German one which is twice the price of the Chinese one. I'm not sure which one should I buy
A third way to look is do they give a complete package? We typically pull a sample and put in a clear plastic cylinder (less breakable) or a 100 ml or 250ml glass graduated cylinder, ,, if you are lucky you might already have a sample vessel as a clean glass rose flower vase which is about 25 cm long by 2.5cm diameter.
 

Xerxwine

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which one?
I have three types of hydrometers, the medical and mom’s are off by .002 from the newest triple scale. On an accuracy basis who cares about .002 when the target for finished is from 0.990 to 0.998, ,, or .008 units.
The other way to rank would be how often do they break? I have broken the medical style with .001 divisions but not the common larger more clunky styles with .002 divisions.
. . . I would choose on cost, accuracy doesn’t matter

A third way to look is do they give a complete package? We typically pull a sample and put in a clear plastic cylinder (less breakable) or a 100 ml or 250ml glass graduated cylinder, ,, if you are lucky you might already have a sample vessel as a clean glass rose flower vase which is about 25 cm long by 2.5cm diameter.
Thanks a lot but I have already bought the hydrometer before reading this. It's a Chinese one 990-1160. What should I do now? Pour my wine inside the glass cylinder and what to do next?

Since today is the 8th day since I have crushed the grapes and as I said earlier I have punched it twice a day. I have no idea what number should the hydrometer show.:slp
 

winemaker81

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Day 8? Take a deep breath and relax -- it sounds like your wine is ok and you're doing fine. Most fermentations take 5 to 10 days, and the wine is outgassing CO2 for a while, so you have a buffer.

This thread explains how to use a hydrometer:


Fermentation is considered done if the SG is between 0.998 and 0.990, and remains constant for 3 days. If your wine is at 1.000 (which is the SG of water) or lower, go ahead and press. If there is still activity, you should leave a bit of extra head space in your secondary container(s), so the bubbling doesn't overflow the container.

The wine will drop gross lees (grape solids) relatively quickly, so you'll rack again in 1 to 2 weeks. After that, you want very little head space as O2 is your wine's enemy.
 

Xerxwine

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Day 8? Take a deep breath and relax -- it sounds like your wine is ok and you're doing fine. Most fermentations take 5 to 10 days, and the wine is outgassing CO2 for a while, so you have a buffer.

This thread explains how to use a hydrometer:


Fermentation is considered done if the SG is between 0.998 and 0.990, and remains constant for 3 days. If your wine is at 1.000 (which is the SG of water) or lower, go ahead and press. If there is still activity, you should leave a bit of extra head space in your secondary container(s), so the bubbling doesn't overflow the container.

The wine will drop gross lees (grape solids) relatively quickly, so you'll rack again in 1 to 2 weeks. After that, you want very little head space as O2 is your wine's enemy.
What I'm worried about is that I sealed my barrel and it didn't blow up. I didn't know about but apparently it should have bulged. I think the barrel I bought is not firm enough and it could cause me trouble in the secondary stage. I don't know how to seal it. Should I cover it with plastic bag and then put the lud?

I will use the hydrometer and tell you nice people the results.

Also, can I pour back the wine I pour in the glass cylinder or I should throw it out?
 

winemaker81

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As long as your test jar is clean and sanitized, the wine is still good. Don't throw it out.

You need a different container for secondary storage. The barrel you have leaves WAY too much headspace. Your wine will oxidize.

Do you have access to 3 or 4 liter jugs? Any sealable glass container will do.
 

Xerxwine

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As long as your test jar is clean and sanitized, the wine is still good. Don't throw it out.

You need a different container for secondary storage. The barrel you have leaves WAY too much headspace. Your wine will oxidize.

Do you have access to 3 or 4 liter jugs? Any sealable glass container will do.
First of all I need to tell you that I didn't have anything sanatized or anything better than a ladle to take wine and pour it in the glass cylinder so I can check with hydrometer. I'm not sure if I damaged the wine by doing thism The ladle is made of steel I guess.
Ladle example

Second of all the number showed on the hydrometer was 0.993

Finally, my barrel has airlock,isnt airlock enough to not make me worried about the headspace?
By racking you mean I should pour everything (the juice,grapes,skin,seeds,etc) in another container that leaves less head space? Does the new container(barrel or whatever) needs an airlock too?

I would appreciate it if you could explain it to me.

P.s. I think my wine will create 3 percent alcohol since the fermentations has ended this fast 😂
 
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winemaker81

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Chances are your wine is fine. As @Rice_Guy rightly says, wine is a preservative system. Once fermented, wine is high acid and high alcohol, which kills or inhibits most organisms.

The first step in preparing our equipment is ensuring it's clean, e.g., free of dirt and other foreign material. Honestly, that's often a sufficient step in sanitizing. The second step, which is strongly recommended, is to further sanitize with K-meta water, which is 2 to 3 Tbsp potassium metabisulfite (K-meta) and 1 Tbsp acid (citric, tartaric, blend) dissolved in 4 liters water. Splash or spray your equipment and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep the K-meta water in a sealed container (I use a 4 liter jug), and it's good for months. As long as it's clear and stinks, it's good. DO NOT breath deeply, as it will burn your lungs. [There are other sanitizing agents available, but we'll keep this simple.]

I'll never tell you to not use K-meta to sanitize, but if you didn't, you're probably fine. K-meta helps guarantee that the equipment is sanitized, which means most organisms are removed or killed.

An SG of 0.993 indicates fermentation is complete or very nearly so. Press the grapes, leaving the solids (skin, pulp, seeds) behind and put the resulting wine in one or more jugs, with an airlock. The wine will settle over the next few weeks and the gross lees (sediment composed of grape solids) will settle out. You'll rack (siphon) the wine, leaving the gross lees behind. Ideally you need a food grape siphon hose, but folks use other methods to separate the wine from the gross lees. A ladle is not ideal, but you need to use whatever you have available.

I keep my records online -- this link is a kit I'm making where I wrote a very detailed log of actions. It's a kit, not fresh grapes, but a lot of the information may be useful. This includes pictures where it shows how I topped up containers.


MoreWine! publishes a lot of free manuals. The one on red wine production will answer a lot of your questions. I suggest you skim it, and ask more questions regarding things that don't make sense.

 

Rice_Guy

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C0CF37DC-193C-4A05-89F7-C57ADF500E82.jpeg

in the old days folks didn’t have sanitizers and red grapes worked well, white grape not as well.
Sanitizing, ,,, most microbial load is removed with soap and water.
For barrels the old way was to burn sulfur in the barrel which creates SO2 which is the active ingredient in potassium metabisulphite. A lot of this is creating a chemical which picks up oxygen and delays off flavor development, ,,, it tastes less good, ,,, but is not a food toxin.
 
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