Rhubarb wine, how long before it is okay to drink

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ludders

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I am a newish wine maker and have made 2 gallons of rhubarb wine at the end of May this year,shown on the rear of the heater pad. My wife has made the front two in June this year. How long should I leave them before bottling. They seem to be clearing well but that won't mean they taste good. I will keep one for long term but want to try the other. 3 months or 6? Am I likely to regret being impatient?
 

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Rice_Guy

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The normal answer is that it will taste better at a year. We eat with our eyes first, so a clear wine is more appealing. That said ,,, there really is no rule that you have to follow. If you can doctor the sweetness/ acid balance so you enjoy it, that is all that counts. For Example I will take anything left at racking for taste testing with back sweetening sugar or other experiment.

The big patience warning in all this is do you want shelf life? A finished wine won’t drop sediment in the bottle which transfers to gunk pouring into the glass. A good wine will not referment and blow a cork or explode (potassium sorbate prevents explosions for those who aren’t patient) For me, at nine months to a year age the yeast are dead so I sweeten rhurbarb, filter if it is in a contest and skip the sorbate. My 2017 rhurbarb did best at club contest but at twelve months age yeast had settled in the bottles making it unattractive.
 
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BernardSmith

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As Rice_Guy suggests you might want to taste the wine to see if you prefer this to be back sweetened. Most country wines benefit from a little added sweetness BUT to ensure that the added sugar is for YOU and not the yeast you would need to stabilize the wine. That means you need to employ a process to either remove every last cell of viable yeast, kill every yeast cell or prevent the yeast from reproducing and fermenting added sugar. The last is the path that most home winemakers choose and that simply means that after the yeast have finished to ferment the sugars in the wine you add K-meta and K-sorbate in tandem, and then after a few days you can add sugar.
Best way to determine how much sugar to add is to bench test and that process involves
1. Taking four or five samples of the wine at a known volume
2. Adding different known amounts of sugar to each sample and tasting the samples.
3. If the sweet spot has not been found you take another four or five samples and add either smaller amounts of sugar or even larger amounts.
4. When you hit the sweetness you want you know how much sugar to add to the total batch (divide the total volume by the sample size and multiply the amount of sugar by that number. (if your sample was say, 20 ml and the amount of sugar was, say 3 g and the total batch was 4000 ml then the total amount of sugar your wine needs is 200 *3 or 600 g). As wine ages to its peak you might find that the acids become less intense and so the amount of sweetness needed is reduced so I might add 550 g rather than 600 but that is your call.
 

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