WineXpert secondary sg not quite there prior to clarify

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Apr 1, 2010
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I am in the secondary on a WE Chilean Pinot Noir. It was supposed to sit in the carboy for 10 days prior to clarifying, I let it go 15 days because of travel, work, etc. I checked the SG yesterday thinking I would go ahead with clarifying, but it was at 0.998 instead of 0.996 (whihc the directions said it was supposed to be at). I know I am to check it two consecutive days, but I just assumed it would be stable since I let it go 5 extra days. Because it wasn't quite at the desired SG, I let it sit and did not clarify. I will check again tonight to make sure the SG hasn't changed. My question is should I wait until it gets to 0.996 (assuming it will), or just make sure it isn't still falling. If it's stable, clarify at 0.998?
Those are reference points. Once the wine has reached a specific gravity (usually below 1.000) and no longer gets lower your yeast has eaten up all of the available sugar. You could stare at it till the cows come home and it won't change. You may move on to the next step in the kit.

Had the s.g. ceased at a higher level then you would most likely, but not necessarily you would have a stuck fermentation.
Give if a little more time between readings to be sure it's stopped, like 2-3 days at least. If it has stopped at 0.998, it's no harm done and I've had a couple do exactly the same and they taste just fine.

On your next kit when you rack from the primary to secondary, try to introduce a little air. Just insert your siphon tube a couple inches into the carboy so the wine falls through some air, that seems to help keep the yeast active a little longer, or at least that's been working for me.
Thanks, I will definitely follow that tip. Should I also stir every day or two while in primary? The WE kit directions do not say to stir. I've seen talk in this forum about whether to stir in the primary, and in fact whether to cover and place an air lock. While I think the prospect of gnats, bugs or other problems requires an air lock here (Florida), I was concerned about whether enough oxygen was getting in the primary. I stirred my first kit (WE Chardonnay) once on about day 3, but didn't on this Pinot. Maybe that was the difference.
Maybe, all you can do is try it and see if that works for you. I've seen both opinions on here. The yeast definitely needs air in the early reproductive stage.

Again don't worry about the 0.998, nothing is "wrong", your wine is fine. You just want to be sure it's really done before you stabilize and clarify.

Best Regards

First, it appears that this is one of the Selection International kits. (Please ALWAYS be specific when talking about kits. WE is not usually enough info.) I have not made that kit, but I would expect most WE reds to drop down to about .992. You should be aging this wine for 6 months absolute minimum, so don't be afraid to invest some of that extra time right now.

So what is the temperature of the wine? If it's on the cool side (ie below 70), it will be slow to ferment. Regardless be patient. I don't think in terms of days over schedule, I think in weeks & months.

Things to do. Check your hydrometer to make sure that it is reading accurately. Get the temperature to about 74, if possible. (The warmer temp will also help with degassing.) Stir GENTLY to bring any yeast that has settled to the bottom back into play.

Good luck, Steve
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yes, it is a Selection International kit. I have no problem with the long aging, am prepared for that. I wasn't quite sure whether getting it to clarifying, degassing stage on time was critical, so I'll not worry about that now. the temp has been a constant 75, so I figured getting the yeast active wouldn't be a problem for me. I like your suggestion about stirring at this point to see if it makes a difference. I'll do that and see where it gets me.
UPDATE FROM ABOVE: So I waited until yesterday to clarify and de-gas (25 days in secondary). I did a gentle spoon stir 5 days ago to try to reactivate the yeast, but it didn't seem to make a noticeable difference on the SG. SG before clarifying was 0.997. I added the metabisulfite, sorbate and chitosan and stirred with drill mount stirrer for 3+ minutes after each addition. The instructions called for topping off with water, but I've read many posts where folks say to use some of the same type wine. Since I was out of Pinot Noir when completing this step, I added Cabernet Sauvingon. Replaced airlock.
Now, I have what looks like gas bubbles at the top (about 2" below the top of liquid) and they don't seem to be falling or dissipating. No air is coming out of airlock. Did I screw something up? I'm wondering if either the SG was still not low enough or if adding the commercial wine did something to it. Any thoughts?
My thought is you need to relax :fsh

0.997 and 0.996 are not the end all. I had a batch of Luna Rosa stop at 0.998 (Egads!) and it tastes awesome. So yes I think we all like to see 0.992, sometimes is just doesn't happen and there is not reason to worry about it.

Your SG was stable, so it was time to stabilize and clarify, i.e. you didn't do anything wrong. Sometimes yeast decide to fire back up even after the stabilizers. My guess is you are just seeing a little more CO2 escaping, no big deal. It could also be some leftover oak chips or yeast bodies stuck to the side, also no big deal. You are going to rack one more time anyway before you bottle, so I would suggest de-gassing again at that next racking. Make sure your wine is 75F or higher and stir or suck the bejeebers out of it, it's going to be shocked anyway.

When you think you are ready to bottle, be 100% certain you have degassed effectively. My second kit is a little gassy, so I can taste a bit of a carbonated flavor. It's a sweet island mist kit so it doesn't actually wreck it, but for your wine you definitely want to get the CO2 released.
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When de-gassing, are you suppossed to wait until all bubbles have dissipated before topping off and putting on the airlock? Its almost as if the "bubbles" became solid when I added the chitosan, or the extra wine. If these were bubbles, I would have expected they would have settled by now and the airlock would be bubbling, but its not. Its almost like these are solid particles. When you say be sure to "de-gas effectively," how do I know when I've reached that point? When using a drill mounted stirrer, it seems to continue to produce bubbles as long as I continue to stir. Can it be over-stirred? I haven't leared how to relax yet, just my second batch, and my first batch (WE Australian chardonnay) hasn't been bottled yet...oh boy!
as far as de-gassing, there have been quite a few discussions here that you can look back at to get some good viewpoints, but one thing to remember is your juice will degas more efficiently at a little warmer temp, and also to reverse pulse your drill so as not to create a vortex that will suck air down into the wine. after doing it a few times, you can pretty much tell when your'e done.
When de-gassing, are you suppossed to wait until all bubbles have dissipated before topping off and putting on the airlock?

I never do.
overpinot said:
Its almost as if the "bubbles" became solid when I added the chitosan, or the extra wine.

Sounds more like leftover yeast or possibly oak chips if this kit had any. I have stuff floating around the neck on mine all the time. It stays in the carboy when you do you next racking so it's not a problem.

overpinot said:
When you say be sure to "de-gas effectively," how do I know when I've reached that point?
For me it means I'm sorta tired and not getting enough bubbles to be fun anymore ;) Sometimes you get an eruption, so you can be pretty sure your degassing was effective in those cases. Sometimes it's more like pulling teeth, and I use my wife's vacuum pump in those cases. You can also taste teh wine. If it tastes like it's carbonated, that's a very bad thing. Even then, it's not big deal. You can de-gas your wine again any time you want, right up to bottling.

overpinot said:
When using a drill mounted stirrer, it seems to continue to produce bubbles as long as I continue to stir. Can it be over-stirred?

Yeah, I give it a vigorous back-and-forth stir for about a minute at a time, then watch the reaction for 20-30 seconds. If I'm really not getting much reaction, well that's good enough for me. If foam shoots out the top of the carboy, well then I give it a couple more spins.

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