increase amount of wine in primary stage?

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Aug 3, 2010
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I am attempting to make wine from wild muscadine grapes from my back pasture. I have followed a recipe found online and have fermented with the skins in a strainer bag for 10 days, still waiting for the SG to drop to 1.010 or less. Today I removed the skins after squeezing all the juice out and noticed that there is only a little over 4 gallons of it. I was shooting for 5 1/2 or 6 gallons because I plan to use a 6 gallon carboy. Is there any way to increase the amount at this point, such as add more distilled water or grape juice? If not, how do I make up the excess space in my 6 gal. carboy?
personally i would not add juice or water at this point. Do you have a 5G carboy?? or put sanatized marbles in the bottom of the 6 to raise the levels.... this is all me, of course its your wine, and you can do what you want... Good Luck
That's the story of my life, you think it's going to be bigger but always winds up short. I would say get a 3 gallon and a 4 gallon carboy. Short of that a 6 gallon bucket with an airlock on it will buy you some time.

It's the air to must ratio you need to worry about. With CO2 coming off that will help to protect your wine but when that ceases you need it with as little as possible head space.

I've often thought about what I could add to a 6 gal. carboy to fill the void. It would have to be glass as plastic (PVC pipe, balloons) will create an off flavor taste.

Do you know anyone near you that can loan you a few carboys for awhile? You could even do a 3 gal. carboy and a few magnum bottles w/airlocks. Get creative.
To even begin to answer this we would need to know the exact recipe you used including how many lbs of grapes you used.
Thanks for the comments. I had a sudden trip out of town and am just now back. My recipe is: 30 lbs muscadine grapes, 10 lbs sugar, 1/4 tsp pectic, 6 tsp yeast nutrient, 5 crushed campden tablets, 1 oz calcium carbonate, 1 pkg Montrachet Yeast (recipe found on Youtube - wjjames26011)
Last night I checked SG which is at 1.009, so am ready to transfer to secondary fermenter. I found a 5 gallon water jug, but it is plastic (food grade of course) Is this plastic OK for use?
Even though it is a food grade container it still can allow odors and such to permeate the plastic.

The water companies are now discovering that all those plastic water jugs, now arn't as clean and bacteria free as they thought. They are getting scratched and the plastic still breathes so to speak.

Use a better bottle or as I prefer a glass carboy.
OK. The plastic bottle will be good for camping or a road trip. So, I have racked the wine into the 6 gal glass carboy, leaving a +/- 2 gal of emptiness at the top. In watching some other videos online I noticed that they also had a lot of head room. Several of my local friends do not even use a carboy, just a white plastic bucket (like my primary fermenter). Should I not be concerned about the extra air space and just keep on keepin' on?
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I've been using the plastic water bottles for 20+ years without any problems. In fact I prefer plastic, much lighter, easier to store.
I've been using the plastic water bottles for 20+ years without any problems. In fact I prefer plastic, much lighter, easier to store.

i may have posted this on another thread, too...
has anyone used PET plastic carboys? many wine making companies are selling these. lighter, cheaper, if they really don't retain smell, color, they could be great!
well I know I don't know alot but I've heard the PET plastic carboys are fine from a number of places and I know where anyone can get 4 gallon ones really cheap, they even have a raised center good for collecting sediment. You can get these full of water for under $5 at Sam's club nice jugs will post a picture in a few.
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