Monty's Wine Making Process

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by monty, Mar 12, 2019.

Wine Making Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk by donating:

  1. Mar 12, 2019 #1

    monty

    monty

    monty

    Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    7
    I am new to the forum, and one thing I wanted to do was get some feedback and critiquing on my wine making process. When I got started I found I was sourcing different aspects of my process from all different books, websites, or other sources. I decided I would document MY process so that I can have some consistency. I maintain a google document that details my current process, and when I decide to change something, I update the document so I know for next time. I also try to put references in the footnotes for where I got specific pieces of information so that I can go back to it later if I need to.

    This document was very helpful to me after a multi year hiatus I had to take on wine making. I was able to jump right back in and did not have to re-learn everything.

    I've attached my Wine Making Process and the Log that I maintain for every wine. If you see anything that you do differently, or have any other advice for my process please let me know in the comments below.

    Thanks!

    -Monty
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Mar 13, 2019 #2

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    owner, winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    95
    Nice log file. It's very important to keep good notes like you're doing. A few things I see:
    * Do you do cold stabilization? If so, need to record conditions and measurements.
    * I didn't see acid measurements after the first one for the must. Probably need to monitor and adjust if needed
    * Do you do any filtering or fining that should be recorded?
    * Do you do MLF and need to record date and inoculation conditions?
    * Might want to include the dose (eg. g/L) along with the actual amount added to make it easier to scale up to larger batches.

    I started out with a paper log file but found it too cumbersome to adapt to every batch I made. I ended up using macros on a spreadsheet to track everything including ingredient lot numbers. It does the dosage calculation for me too.
     
    Chuck E likes this.
  3. Mar 13, 2019 #3

    monty

    monty

    monty

    Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    7
    @jgmillr1 ya know I almost didn't post my log, but I'm glad that I did. I did not create this log, and I've been using it for so long I have no idea where I got it from. I have not made any changes to it over the years, but I think it is about time that I do that. I very thoroughly fill it out, and take lots of notes as I go. I take so many notes the backs of the pages are usually filled. Why I haven't at least added more lines to the notes sections, I have no idea. I see a lot of advantages to digitizing my log, and I will likely look to do that in the near future. The paper is just very convenient as my binder with all of my logs lives in my basement with my wine, and its very easy for my to pull out and log as I go. I guess I've been nervous that the quality of my logging and note taking may take a hit if I wait to log everything until I'm done and at a computer. Maybe I could look into adding a cheap chromebook or something to my wine making space to help alleviate my concerns.

    * Do you do cold stabilization? If so, need to record conditions and measurements.
    Never had, and haven't had any issues that have necessitated adding it to my process. Do you cold stabilize all of your wines? How do you decide which ones and when to do it?
    * I didn't see acid measurements after the first one for the must. Probably need to monitor and adjust if needed
    Currently I do not do any pH, acidity, or SO2 measurements in my wine. Even though there are places for these values on my log, these are left blank. A "wine lab" is on my to do list for this year, once I get my new wine making space setup. I make wine from fresh juice that I pick up from my local homebrew store. The folks at the store have told me that the juice comes properly balanced, and I've been working under that assumption for pH and acidity to date. With my new wine lab in the hopefully near future I will take these measurements to confirm and adjust if necessary. I agree that I should be taking these measurements throughout the process, and will update the log to reflect that.
    * Do you do any filtering or fining that should be recorded?
    The only filtering and fining I have done to date is to add a little patience. So far it has worked wonders! My plan for fining/filtering is to add it to my process document and log when I think I need it for the first time. That is what I have done with a lot things that are in my process now. Once I experience it, I will note my observations that led me to believe I need it so I know what to look for in the future, research how to do it, and add all of that to my process.
    * Do you do MLF and need to record date and inoculation conditions?
    My MLF conditions are recorded under the Secondary Fermentation section
    * Might want to include the dose (eg. g/L) along with the actual amount added to make it easier to scale up to larger batches.
    Since I do everything in 6 gallons, I record everything in amount per 6 gallons. So the units I record look like "g/6gal", "tsp/6gal", etc.
     
    Chuck E likes this.
  4. Mar 13, 2019 #4

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    owner, winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    95
    Keeping consistent notes will greatly benefit any troubleshooting down the road. A logfile like that also keeps me on task for making the measurements I might otherwise forget to.

    I always cold stabilize my white wines and sometimes will do the dry reds if the acid is high. I work with french American hybrids that run high in acid anyway.

    My rule of thumb is to always cold stabilize a wine that will be chilled to drink or that is high in acid. It drops the TA by about 0.5 g/L. The process also drops a lot of suspended yeast along with the crystals, so it helps clarify the wine before racking& filtering.

    I set the temp on the chiller for about 27F and monitor the conductivity of the wine. Adding potassium bitartrate crystals speeds things along. Once the conductivity has remained constant for 36hrs, I call it done and let the wine slowly warm up before racking.
     
    Chuck E likes this.
  5. Mar 22, 2019 #5

    monty

    monty

    monty

    Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    7
    Just wanted to give this a bump and see if anyone else wouldn't mind taking a read through my process and give any advice! I've got some parts highlighted that I need to research a big more to work out.
     
  6. Mar 22, 2019 #6

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

    BernardSmith

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,776
    Likes Received:
    991
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs
    Hi Monty - and welcome. By no stretch have I any expertise in making wine with grapes. I make mead and I make country wines, but two quick thoughts after a quick scan of your process.
    1. I would always tend to ferment at the lowest temperature in the preferred range of temperature that is spec'ed for the varietal of yeast I have selected. Generally, the temperature INSIDE the fermenter when you are fermenting 6 gallons or so is about 10 degrees F warmer than the ambient temperature. Higher temps stress yeast and stressed yeast return the favor by producing all kinds of flavors and aromas many of which stress the wine maker. Yeast karma is a powerful phenomenon.
    2. You are thinking about changing to StarSan. Brewers tend to love Starsan. But a wine maker gets a three-fer when she or he uses K-meta as their sanitizer of choice. A) at one concentration it sanitizes B) At a weaker concentration it can kill wild yeast, mold and other bacteria and mircrobes and C) at this same concentration it can be used to inhibit oxidation and so is used at each racking and before bottling (the amount of K-meta used at bottling depends on the pH of the wine).
     
  7. Mar 24, 2019 #7

    monty

    monty

    monty

    Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thanks for taking the time to read through! For the temperatures, I've read a lot about this and it looks like the general recommendation for grapes is to ferment whites at the lowest possible temperature, but reds a bit higher. Based on your comment though I'm going to revisit fermentation temperatures to make sure I'm where I want to be. Thanks!

    I am making the switch to Starsan because I want to get more control over the sulfite levels in my wine. Right now I'm adding a measured amount of kmeta at each racking and as my sanitizing solution for carboys and other equipment. Since I use it for both, I don't really know exactly how much kmeta is going into my wine. One of the next things on my agenda is to really get started with a wine lab so I can measure the amount of free SO2, and know how much I should add at each racking. There are a few morewine articles on the topic of SO2.

    https://morewinemaking.com/content/winemanuals
     
  8. Mar 26, 2019 #8

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    owner, winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    95
    Good and very detailed process. You've clearly thought through the details. Each style has different requirements, so it's hard to scribe the one process to rule them all.

    All winemaking comes down to (1) using quality fruit and sanitation, (2) ensuring a clean fermentation, (3) correcting chemical imbalances (sugar, acid) for the intended style, (4) adding proper doses of fining and adjuvants (Ie oak, tannin or sugar) for the style, (5) stabilization of tartrates and refermentation (sorbate) and (6) protection from oxidation/spoilage via sulfites. Unsaid is good record keeping which your logs will keep you on task.

    Ditto and well said. The citric and sulfites are an excellent sanitizer. You can use starsan if you really want but sulfites do well and do not add any measurable amount to your wine.

    As @BenardSmith indicated, the correct level of sulfites depends on the pH. You will want to measure the pH as your wine making continues.

    The other feature is the time between racking and amount of air exposure. In the best case you are able to minimize oxygen uptake by purging air out of the glass carboy (or SS container). Prevention is better than reaction.
     
  9. Mar 27, 2019 #9

    monty

    monty

    monty

    Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    7
    All good info! Thanks a lot for reading through my process
     

Share This Page