Newbie here

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Jan 5, 2009
Reaction score
Hi everyone! I'm new to winemaking (about 16 hours experience at this point) and have a really newbie question.

I bought an equipment kit from our local wine/beer making supply store, and am a bit intimidated by all the equipment and the total lack of instructions given on how to use it properly. All I have is a recipe book that is somewhat comprehensive - so I think I've figured most of it out without major error, but I have one simple question that I can't seem to find the answer to:

Is the red cap on the fermentation lock supposed to stay on or come off?

I've read enough to know that when you attach the lock to your secondary fermenter, it should be half-filled with water - and I understand that its purpose is to let the bad juju out and keep more bad juju from coming in - but does this process happen with or without the cap on?

Sorry if this is a question that's been asked a bazillion times...I'm sure I'll have more.

Thanks in advance!
I leave the cap on and only fill about 1/4 with water
Be careful pushing the airlock into the rubber stopper they break very easily :eek:
Is the red cap on the fermentation lock supposed to stay on or come off?

The cap is for preventing flies to drop in. So put it on.
Fill the airlock with water and add a bit of sulphite for sanitation. Or fill it with some wodka.

Also be careful not to push that little rubber grommet in the lid in!
Thanks for the advice! Now I have another question:

I'm only four days into my first batch. I'm following a recipe for honey wine from a book that came as part of my kit. This is what it told me to do:

On day one I added all the ingredients except the wine yeast to the primary fermenter
On day two I sprinkled the wine yeast on top of the must and did not stir
On day three I stirred
Today is day four

I'm slightly concerned that I'm seeing absolutely no activity yet. I assumed that after I added the yeast I would see some kind of foaming/bubbling action - but I see nothing. Is this already a cause for concern, or am I just an anxious newbie? Will I not see any "action" until the must is transferred to the secondary fermenter with an airlock?

My batch is in a plastic primary fermenter, loosely covered with plastic, and ranges in temp from 65-70, depending on the time of day.

Hope this is enough info to give me a general idea of what may be going on...

I'm a newbie as well so maybe take my advice with a grain of salt but...

Temp might be too cool. I had my primary in a spot that ranged from 62 to 66 F with very little activity. I moved it to a spot that was a more constant 68/69F. Loads of activity.

Also maybe check specific gravity (if you did in the beginning). You can compare the readings to see if there is any sugar to alcohol conversion going on.

Again I'm new to this also so double check if my info is correct. I don't want to mislead anyone.

Best of luck!
well instead of starting another newbie thread...

i think i'm just about ready to move to a secondary. is there a black and white tell that will let me know when its ready?

i recall someone saying check the SG. what should it be at?

do i need to wait for the airlock to stop bubbling? or is it like popcorn :) 3-4 seconds between bubbles hehehe
wingnutooa: SG, from what I've been finding and have been told, is the way to go. What's in your primary? (I'll check for your thread) My Merlot should be racked at 1.010 or less as per the kit instructions. There's no way to tell if its at that SG by the bubbles ;)
Mr. Schmaffy
I am also a complete rooky but some yeast's take a while to show visual evidence of fermentation
And as all the learned makers here will say "Patience"
And welcome to the club :)
Mr. Schmaffy
I am also a complete rooky but some yeast's take a while to show visual evidence of fermentation
And as all the learned makers here will say "Patience"
And welcome to the club :)

Thanks! And by the way - Ms. Schmaffy would be more appropriate and much preferred. ;)
I've only made two batches myself but both of them didn't begin to show signs of fermentation for like 3 days. I think it finally started because it got tired of me looking at it every five minutes.LOL
lol. you should post an avatar to avoid any future confusion.
Good to have you here Ms Schmaffy.
My humble apology if I offended.
I am just a humble old man from the deep south and mean no disrespect :cool:

But most of all patience is the key to this game
Wait 2 months, then taste and if it's good wait 6 more it will be better, wait a year and it approaches excellent!!

And just for your info this is a great place to learn :D
I use a covered primary with an airlock. I saw tiny bubbles building on the walls of the airlock halfway through the first day. Never looked inside to see what was actually going down. After three days that airlock was steadily bubbling pretty vigorously. I can only imagine that something special was happening inside. At least some sign of life on the surface.
Ms Schmaffy, get that primary a little warmer especially when starting a wine. It will most likely start at that temp but you really want anything that is not alchoholic to be alchoholic as soon as possible so that it doesnt go bad. This is why when making beer it is very important to make a yeast starter. Wine not so much but it does help to get the temp up to 75 when pitching yeast and tu try and keep it there until it starts to ferment and it will start much faster with a warmer temp. Some yeasts like Red Star Cotes Des Blanc can still take much longer then say Premier Cuvee or EC-1118.

Latest posts