Not Quite Ready

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Dec 21, 2009
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It's Day 14 of my first batch of wine. It's a Vino del Vida Valpollicella kit. According to the instructions the specific gravity should be .998 or less around Day 14. But it's at 1.008. Should I start checking it every day? The airlock is still bubbling every few seconds. Should I wait for it to slow down?

I made the newbie mistake of cleaning and sanitizing everything needed for racking into the carboy before I took a reading. Won't do that again!
What is the temp of the wine? Temp has alot to do with fermentation. Raising the temp should help.

As Tom already asked what is the current temperature. Also what has the temp been over the two weeks. Sounds like it has been cool.

I would also give the wine a gentle stir at this point to bring the yeast up from the sediment into the wine.

Btw, I would expect this kit to reach about .995.

Steve, That is a great idea "stiring it".
In my very limited experience, I have noticed bubbles in my wine, a process that just happens from the ferment. I notice when I degass my sample, the SG will be lower than when I first took it. My Cranapple was very bubbly and dropped 2 points when I did this. Went from 1.036 down to 1.016. Give or take a couple .002's!
You didn't mention whether you had racked from the primary to secondary, but if you have not it is safe and advisable to do so now. As everyone has said so far, get your temp up to 74F - 78F and then rack to your carboy. The increase in temp should help fermentation and the carboy will help keep a blanket of CO2 over your wine while it finihes fermenting thus protecting it from oxidation.

Zog I think you have the right idea. Your temps may have been a little low (which will slow fermentation) but as long as fermentation is still occuring you'll be ok. Just check the SG daily like you suggested and when it is below 1.0 and the same for two days in a row( i.e. between .998 and .995) then I would rack to your secondary. There are a lot of variables that can effect timing with wines so I would look at the timelines in the kit instructions more as a general guideline and not a hard and fast rule. The SG numbers are what are important at this stage of the process..
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The temperature has been 74 to 76 degrees since Day 2 ... at least according to the adhesive thermometer.

The wine is still in the primary in accordance with the kit directions. The directions tell me to not rack into the carboy until it gets to .998 or lower. Surlees suggestion to do so now raises an additional question. The instructions tell me that when the SG reaches .998, I should rack, add sulfite then sorbate, kieselsol and chitosan then degas the wine before airlocking and let it sit for another two weeks. From what I've read these instructions don't seem typical. Isn't it more normal to put it in the carboy for a while before adding the sorbate and other additives?

I'll check again tomorrow and give it a stir as well as suggested if it seems to need more time.
I find the adhesive is not exact. Look into one that you has a long stem.
Isn't it more normal to put it in the carboy for a while before adding the sorbate and other additives?

IMO, the answer is yes, it is more typical to rack at about 1.020 and let the fermentation complete in a carboy. As you start to get below about 1.020 there is not enough CO2 being released to adequately protect against oxidation. The carboy and airlock help maintain CO2 levels over your wine to guard against oxidation. Also, by racking at about 1.020 fermentation has slowed enough so you don't get any wine volcano bubbling out your airlock, but high enough not to get a stuck fermentation above 1.000. You can leave it in the secondary for 2 weeks or more and rest assured your wine is not oxidizing. Then, when you're sure fermentation is finished you can stabilize with SO2 and sorbate, degas, and use the desired fining agents.


You are making a Vino del Vida kit from RJ Spagnols. They recommend a 14 day primary ferment followed by racking to carboy, stabilization & clearing. As pointed out by other respondents, this is different from the procedure that many of us follow, and is recommended for other kits (even other RJS kits).

As this is your first kit, I suggest that you follow the instructions.

Right now, I would stir the wine gently (with a sanitized spoon) and check the sg every day for a couple of day. Hopefully it is still fermenting nicely and the sg will drop down in the next couple of days.

I usually ferment most of my wines this way. I ferment till done in the primary and this helps ensure a fermentation that finishes as you dont leave viable yeast behind. I do rack white and lighter fruit wines at around 1.015 thogh but I stir it upm to make sure I get all the yeast transferred over.
OK, I'll bite or maybe ask the stupid question. Since no one else has picked it up, maybe I really am asking the stupid question, but its not the first time for me. Whats wrong with cleaning and sanitizing?
OK, I'll bite or maybe ask the stupid question. Since no one else has picked it up, maybe I really am asking the stupid question, but its not the first time for me. Whats wrong with cleaning and sanitizing?

The equipment was cleaned and sanitized but the wine wasn't ready so the equipment wasn't used. It will have to be sanitized again in a couple of days when the wine is ready.

Wasted effort, I guess.

So it's been 12 hours since I gently stirred the wine in the primary fermenter and remeasured the specific gravity. The airlock hasn't bubbled since then. Yesterday when I first tested it and replaced the lid and airlock, it started bubbling again almost immediately. If the airlock isn't bubbling does it mean the fermentation has stopped? Is this normal after stirring? Am I too impatient?
Either the lid isn't on tight or it's stopped fermenting. You should be seeing CO2 bubbles in the airlock if it's fermenting although they may come only every minute or two. This is another reason I like to rack to a carboy at about 1.020 as I said above. You can see better what's going on through the carboy glass.

The bubbles you saw after stirring may have been coming from CO2 degassing from the wine and not from fermentation.

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