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K-meta post fermentation

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kyle5434

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Scenario: Let's say I racked my WE Nebbiolo kit into a carboy (along with 1/4 tsp K-meta) after secondary fermentation for a planned 3 months of bulk aging before bottling. But then some other need came up for that carboy (a friend asks me to make some wine for his wedding, or I see a great clearance deal on a 1+ year old kit like the LE16 Cherie Merlot and I don't want to let the kit age that much longer).

At what interval after the initial dose of K-meta would I want to dose again during degassing/clearing/bottling to ensure stability in the bottle? Two months into bulk aging? One month?

I'm trying to determine the statute of limitations on the effectiveness of K-meta, especially given that I'll be potentially introducing a bunch of air during degassing.
 

salcoco

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the best is to test for so2, but at best it has been my expereince you can add K-meta after one month without a problem. for your for instance I would purchase another carboy and let this wine bulk age at least three moths before bottling.
 

Doug’s wines

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Rather than type, here’s a good resource http://winemakersacademy.com/potassium-metabisulfite-additions/

Personally if the wine is full of CO2, air isn’t a big concern as the CO2 will keep it out. Fair warning, I’m not as air paranoid as others. My opinion falls into the camp of the wine bennefits from some early air exposure (not excessive of course) and as long as you aren’t looking for a decade of age, it’s not a big concern (my wine doesn’t seem to stick around that long). Haven’t had to pour out a batch due to oxidation yet, so perhaps if that ever happens my opinion will change!
 

kyle5434

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Thanks. On the one hand, I don't want to unnecessarily over-sulfite, but on the other, I'd rather err on the side of caution.
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks. On the one hand, I don't want to unnecessarily over-sulfite, but on the other, I'd rather err on the side of caution.
How long do you plan taking to drink it all??? Realistically I’d think not long enough to make your decision matter.
If you plan on saving a bunch for 2+ years then hit it. Otherwise it ain’t no thing.
 

ceeaton

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Thanks. On the one hand, I don't want to unnecessarily over-sulfite, but on the other, I'd rather err on the side of caution.
The kits usually come with a packet of Kmeta that is more than the standard 1/4 tsp most add to protect 6 gallons of wine (for up to 3 months). Once you add what came with the kit, I'd only add more when you rack it every three months until you bottle it. What I'm alluding to is that you might want to consider aging your wine for about a year, if you can keep your mits off of it for that long. I agree with what @salcoco suggested, buy another carboy for aging if you can afford it. I think you will be richly rewarded for doing so. I just bottled a barolo kit that stayed in the carboy for 23 months, and even though it still has a "kit taste" to it, the wine is very smooth and drinkable. Just my opinion, so you can decide if the suggestion is worth considering or not.
 

kyle5434

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I appreciate all the input, and I'm impressed at the passion that so many here put into the hobby.

I got into all this late last year when using some elderberries harvested from some bushes I planted 3 years ago, along with some frozen cherries, to make some wine. Turns out I didn't use enough fruit for my intended outcome, but it was a good learning experience, and in the meantime I kind of got the wine making bug.

But I'm not really looking to turn this into a passion. And I don't have the space for bulk aging a variety of wines for that long. To be honest, I'm perfectly happy with a $7.99 bottle of Cab/Merlot/Malbec/Pinot from Trader Joe's. In the interest of experimentation I'm investing in a sampling of kits, just to get a feel for quality vs. how quickly they mature. My first kit was the MV LE16 Cherie Merlot, just because the clearance price was hard to pass up. It went into bulk aging a few weeks ago. I've thought about picking up another one just because of the price, but I want to compare different kit makers/grades, so next in the line was a WE Selection Premium 16L, to which I plan to compare an RJS Cru International 12L, a Fontana 5.5L (with tweaks), a Williams Brewing red kit, and one or two Alexanders concentrates. At some point I may throw one of Vintners Reserve or Grand Cru 10L kits into the experimental mix as well. I also want to play around with some fruit wines before next season's berry harvest. (Against my better judgment, I did order - and have just started - the WE LE17 Petit Ruby Cab, which I'm sure will be good but also take far longer to come around than I would prefer).

Because of my space limitations, I'm looking to bulk age for 3 months then bottle, with my ultimate goal being to narrow down which kits provide results that are good-to-great within a year, and will also stand up to cellaring for a few years.

I totally get the value of aging. Heck, just last week I found a bottle of 2011 Trader Joe's Reserve Cab in my low budget wine rack in the basement. I'd purchased a couple bottles of this back in 2012 (probably in the $7.99 range at the time), and I seem to recall it being a bit rough when I opened the first one shortly thereafter - though that was ameliorated somewhat via an aerator. But it had really harmonized and mellowed out nicely over the past 5+ years.

At any rate, for now I'm looking to zero in on that sweet spot for the quality vs. time vs. space trade-off.
 
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Scooter68

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I would suggest that you continue your 'experimentation and focus on those varieties of wines that are 1) Not available at wine shops, 2) Too High priced compared to what you can make, or 3) Where commercial versions are really the not same as what YOU can produce.
By 3) I mean wines that are pure single variety fruit vs elderberry 'flavored' wines where the majority of the fruit in the wine is not the same as flavor on the label. Of course doing it yourself means you are in control of exactly what is in your wine as well as the ABV and other additions such as oaking or spice additions etc.
Anyone can walk into a wine shop and buy a good bottle of Cabernet, Riesling or any other classic variety and find a reasonably priced bottle. So I'd suggest not wasting time duplicating those wines if you are simply trying to save a couple of dollars per bottle. Since you are space limited and not looking to dive headlong and deep into the processes go with some 'different' varieties of wines. (This also means 'friends' can't compare what you are making to their favorite variety that they swear by. Many of us have 'friends' like that who we regret sharing our efforts with after they make their choice comments.)
 

kyle5434

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Yeah, one of my goals is to try to do some successful *dry* fruit wines. One wine maker in my state makes a dry elderberry (and I can get it at a store within a 30 minute drive from my house), but other than that, all the commercial fruit wines around here are sweet. So we'll see how those experiments go. I've got a 3-gallon batch of plum wine that I just racked into a carboy for 3 months of aging about an hour ago. At the moment, it's mostly just tart, but from what I've been reading about fruit wines, the fruit often tends to balance back over time. I'm going to try a similar dry peach, dry apricot, and dry cherry.

Today I also moved into bulk aging a light summer-type wine made just from bottled 100% juice (192 oz. Old Orchard Organic Berry blend, 192 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Premium, and 64 oz. Old Orchard Tart Cherry juice), all from Costco. Added some sugar to get to 1.080, and some citric acid to get to a pH of 3.5. I knew going in that the berry blend and cranberry were both mixtures of various fruit juices, but I have to say, it's already tasting pretty promising.

As far as the wine kits, I'll let any friends I share those with know up front that I tend to tweak (adding some plum puree to some, tart cherry juice to others, oak, etc.). In some cases my strategy will be to not tell them what style it's supposed to be, but instead to have them taste and tell me what style comes to mind. For those, I'm planning to use nondescript names on the bottle labels like "Chaumont Rouge" or "Bordeaux Fontaine". ;)
 

Kiazer

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How long do you plan taking to drink it all??? Realistically I’d think not long enough to make your decision matter.
If you plan on saving a bunch for 2+ years then hit it. Otherwise it ain’t no thing.
I add it as part of the degassing/ clearing process, then after its cleared for 2 weeks I rack and I add a 1/4 tsp and a tsp of sorbate and let bulk age for 3 months and then bottle. ...Its worked for me
 

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