Lees after 10 month aging

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Ericphotoart

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I just wanted to share my experience with my 2nd strawberry wine I started at the beginning of December '22. I bottled the wine 2 days ago and to my surprise it still had a very small amount of lees at the bottom of the carboy even though the bottom looked perfectly clean. The wine was in the carboy for over 10 months and racked, total, from the must to bottling, 5 times. It was "clear" after about 4 months. This is the first wine that's aging for so long in the carboy. I have another banana wine that's aging for 11 months and I will bottle it some time in spring '24. That was a good lesson to leave wine in the carboy that long. I think this is going to be my new process from now on.
 
Strawberry wine is one that loves to hold onto lees, even when it looks perfectly clear. I almost always hit my fruit wines, but particularly any berry or high pectin fruits (apple, pear) with a clearing agent, I have had the best luck with DualFine (Kieselsol and Chitosan combination).

Suggestion for this, decant it first and pour the last bit out carefully so as not to get much of the crud at the bottom.
 
While bottling I left about 1 liter from the bottom for immediate consumption so the rest should be ok but decanting is a good idea. I do it usually with commercial wine too. BTW this is the first wine that I backsweetened without adding sorbate. Wine was aging for 9 month when I backsweetened it and fermentation didn't restarted. Another good lesson!
 
BTW this is the first wine that I backsweetened without adding sorbate. Wine was aging for 9 month when I backsweetened it and fermentation didn't restarted. Another good lesson!
Wellllll… I have done this a few times now with the same result. But we bottled last years northern hybrid blend a few weeks ago (lightly back sweetened) after 11 months… no sorbate. A few days ago we opened a fizzy wine. Today i stepped on a cork lying on the basement floor and traced it to one of two corkless bottles in a milk crate! Luckily they are standing upright and sitting on a tarp. No stains on the ceiling, just a little wine on the tarp.

Looks like I’ll be un-bottling 48 bottles of wine tomorrow.
 
temperature change?
I had the same thing happen with an Elderberry -- 13+ months old, backsweetened, and bottled without sorbate. Popped a cork 4 months later and it came out with a POP! The wine is lightly carbonated and is bone-dry. I am very happy I only made 5 bottles like this.

Other folks bottle older wines without sorbate just fine, but I have no idea why my yeast refused to die. I'd say "Highlander", but the yeast reproduced so that's not it. Plus there was no lightning in the cellar. *




* hint -- 1986 adventure fantasy movie starring Christopher Lambert
 
I had the same thing happen with an Elderberry -- 13+ months old, backsweetened, and bottled without sorbate. Popped a cork 4 months later and it came out with a POP! The wine is lightly carbonated and is bone-dry. I am very happy I only made 5 bottles like this.

Other folks bottle older wines without sorbate just fine, but I have no idea why my yeast refused to die. I'd say "Highlander", but the yeast reproduced so that's not it. Plus there was no lightning in the cellar. *




* hint -- 1986 adventure fantasy movie starring Christopher Lambert
There can be only one!

It’s definitely fermenting, not due to temperature change. The wine is back to dry again. I’ll leave it in. Carboy for a few more months and bottle it again this winter.

The wine is not good carbonated. We just decant the bottles and let them rest a half hour or so. We add about a teaspoon of simple syrup per bottle and it is fantastic.
 
I had the same thing happen with an Elderberry -- 13+ months old, backsweetened, and bottled without sorbate. Popped a cork 4 months later and it came out with a POP! The wine is lightly carbonated and is bone-dry. I am very happy I only made 5 bottles like this.

Other folks bottle older wines without sorbate just fine, but I have no idea why my yeast refused to die. I'd say "Highlander", but the yeast reproduced so that's not it. Plus there was no lightning in the cellar. *




* hint -- 1986 adventure fantasy movie starring Christopher Lambert
Ditto with a Vidal, though mine was only 6-7 months but I had cold stabilized and thought the yeast was dead. I've had cider re-ferment even with sorbate. Yeast is going to do what it will do and the ONLY sure fire way to prevent re-fermentation is sterile filtering. Or as Chuck says (what I usually do) back-sweeten upon opening. This makes gift-giving tricky.
 
I had cold stabilized and thought the yeast was dead
I wonder if low aging temps might allow the yeast to survive longer? A fairly cold cellar all winter then cold stabilized at 28F in March, then then back into the cellar… my cellar has winter temps around 50F with a little supplemental heat!
 
I've checked my strawberry wine bottles and the corks are still in place. I don't know if it carbonated or not as I plan further aging for next 12-14 months.
I've had carbonated wine not push corks for nearly a year. Just be aware. Each bottle may have a different level or no carbonation. I believe bottle carbonation occurs in inverse proportion to my plans. If I want carbonation, nothing. If I want back-sweetened/still wine, it will carb no matter what.
 
I wonder if low aging temps might allow the yeast to survive longer?
Yes, wine is a multi variable food preservation system. One of the variables is temperature, a 125F fermentation should kill Sachronyces in a week. A 0F freezer should hold frozen dough with live yeast for over ten years.
 
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