my wine turned sour

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Jul 5, 2008
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I have encountered a serious problem when making fruit wines - all my recent batches taste sour and i`m afraid that they all turned into vinegar. At first I thought I used to much acids so I made a few batches with no acids at all; the primary fermentation went smoothly and i moved the wine to an airlock carboy, where it continued to ferment nicely for a few more days, and today I tasted the recent batch and found that it is also sour!!!
The yeast I used were DV10. The airlock is secured firmly and bubbling fine.
What am I doing wrong????
Try taking some of the finished wine and sweeten it up a bit. Also, don't judge a young wine too harshly, let it age 6-12months.
Try taking some of the finished wine and sweeten it up a bit. Also, don't judge a young wine too harshly, let it age 6-12months.

I think this isn't a case of a young wine which doesn't taste as expected.
It tastes & smells awful. Especially since during the secondary fermentation its smells good (through the airlock) and then as the fermentation slows down it suddenly starts to smell bad.

I have two guesses -
1. It became infected with some bacteria that was unnoticed while the yeasts were working in full power and then turned the alcohol into vinegar.
2. Something with the yeasts - I have used DV10 in all the spoiled batches, prior to that I used Montrachet. Could it be that this type of yeasts gets "stressed" somehow and starts making vinegar at some point?

What do you think?
I'm not familiar with DV10 so I can't offer an opinion there. Did you sanitize the carboy, stopper and air lock between batches? Did you use K-meta before fermentation and if so how much? Other than these suggestions I'm as much at a loss as you.
I didn't find any "dedicated" sanitizer (such as Iodophor) in stores here, and couldn't figure out if metabisulfite is good for that (some say it is, some say it doesn't, different dosage etc...) so I used boiling water for sanitizing my carboys. I figure this wasn't good enough. What do you recommend for sanitizing (and at what dosage)?

I added sulfite to the must (the minimal dosage of 0.1 gram per liter as stated on the label, since the fruits were in a good condition).
After a thorough cleansing I use a K-meta solution for sanitizing. I can't remember the exact formula but it's about 3-4 tbls K-meta/gal. of water. When you take a whiff of the stuff it'll burn your nose. After rinsing with the solution you can just return it to the storage vessel for reuse. A gallon milk jug for storage is what I use.

When adding K-meta to the must use one crushed camden tblt/gal or 1/4tsp K-meta for 5gals. Even if the fruit looks to be in good shape you don't what may be lurking in there...I don't take any chances.
Do you rinse the carboy with water after using the k-meta solution? (I guess this will ruin all the sanitation).
Yes I do rinse with water then invert to drain and dry after which I cap or cover with plastic wrap for storage.
hello, I just encounter problem with my fruit wine but its already smell bad since i mix with yeast.i dont know but my yeast nutrient looks different than the first time i open it.its all lumpy but i used it anyway do u throw away your fruit wine?thanks
Hi Wynn

this is a really old thread from 2008. I don't think anyone will answer you here. But could you please tell me how your wine smells bad? Wine can have some unpleasant smells and tastes when very young or still fermenting. I'm guessing your wine is sour since that is the forum you decided to post your question to. Sour is normal for very young or fermenting wine. Smelling like rotten eggs isn't normal. Yeast nutrient that looks lumpy is probably still ok unless it looks and smells moldy. Please give more info and we will try to help. Don't throw the wine away until we discuss more. It could be fine.

Pam in cinti
Hi guys, sorry about posting in old thread... Thanks a bunch for all the replies.

Hello Pam in cinti, its very strange smell. I pintched my yeast, and my fruit are rambutan longan,but when I mix it I thought very foul smell and when I tried it taste very sour. its only been going third day but I already think the worst.
Hi wynn

I enjoyed reading about these interesting fruits. Since they are described as tart, unless you added sugar to your must it should taste tart. Also, the seed is described as bitter. Did you put whole fruit in, meaning with seed? The seeds from many different fruits cause bitterness in young wines, so it is always best to remove seeds.

One more thing that might be a problem. I would take a small sample of the nutrient, mix with some water or fruit juice and then take a small taste. If your nutrient has gone bad I think you will know very quickly.

For the must to smell bad so at the beginning I think something might be wrong with some item you put into it. Nutrient and seeds are likely problems. But then again, fizzing yeast is not a pleasant smell either until one learns that the smell means wine is being made.

I still say don't dump it yet.

Pam in cinti
All fruit wines are sour. You need to backsweeten all fruit wines.

This is kind of a broad generalization.

It is certainly true that back sweetening helps balance acid. However the acid in fruit wines varies widely.

I've eaten more than my share of rambutan. I think most would characterize them as "sub acid" or mildly acidic. I haven't made wine with them but would guess that they would actually require acid additions in order to get them balanced.
Living in Costa Rica, I have made many different fruit wines. I have added acid to all of them to bring them up to the required TA. Upon ending fermentation and aging I have never made a fruit wine that did not require backsweetening I don't make any fruit wines anymore except mango once a year for my wife who likes a sweet wine. I prefer a dry red grape wine.
Hei y'all, thank you for all the clues what could possibly make my wine sour/tart

I put in refrigerator now..with hope that acid may go down. but I also took some nutrient to taste.actually not so bad once I diluted with water. alcohol level quite high. I dont have any ph meter reading but will invest some as soon as I can. My hubby said I probably wasnt very careful with sanitation. as far my only guest are actually I used the wrong yeast. my yeast red star very nice but maybe wasnt suitable for fruit wine(the cause for off smell)

Have a great day everyone
I use montrachet and have never had this problem. And my sanitation is only some soap and water, if I remember.

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