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Secret bottling technique?

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IronHoof

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Hello, I am a beginning wine maker. I have had a lot of successful wine, so far and am eager to get into keeping it for longer periods. however I seem to hit a snag. I can't seem to get a straight answer on bottling.
It took quite some time to gather the info needed. However I still have some uncleared questions. :D

I know if you bottle to early you risk a big mess to clean up.
I figured out so far that if you let the wine finish completely where there is absolutely no activity left. (which I always do) That you can reduce this quite a bit. Also not giving the yeast anymore sugar which is intuitive enough.

Then comes the campden and the p. sorbate. I understand your supposed to knock the bubbles out of the wine with a stick, and then take a cup and mix the recommended amount for your wine, and then place it back into the wine and stir. Then you begin bottle immediately.*

Now this is where my questions come in.

*How does the campden evaporate if the bottle is corked? Is it supposed to eventually go away?

*If so/not how long does it take before the wine is palatable?

*Then how long does it keep in general?

*How can I keep the mess under control if it should start fermenting again?
(As I understand it this can happen regardless and without warning.
I am okay with mopping if I should need to, but I don't want to be wiping down walls.)

To be honest all this kind of makes me afraid to bottle it.
However I already paid for the equipment so I am dedicated. :d
 

mwulf67

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I am bit new myself, but there is no reason to fear bottling to the extent you seem to be…I am not sure where your anxiety is coming from; in all my reading and research on our new hobby, I have never encountered anything to suggest that bottling should cause this much concern….yes, bottle bombs can happen, but they don’t just happen…

If you ferment dry and don’t back sweeten, it is exceedingly unlikely your wine will magically start fermenting again, creating bottle bombs…

If you ferment dry, add p. sorbate, and then back sweeten, it is still rather unlikely your wine will start fermenting again, creating bottle bombs…

Hopefully, some of the old-hands will answer your questions more specifically and/or correct anything wrong I might I have said…

Welcome to the hobby and the board!
 
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BernardSmith

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Hi Ironhoof, As Mwulf67 suggests, there is really no need to be anxious about bottling. Even in the worst case events, bottle bombs, in wine making have to be incredibly - incredibly - rare because if you use a cork and not a crown cap (compare beer bottles) the cork will fly off and the excess CO2 gas will shoot out the neck. The result will be a mess and a loss of the wine but no flying shards of glass. But that said,
1. If you ferment the wine dry there will be essentially no fermentable sugars in the wine for any active yeast to convert into CO2 and additional alcohol
2. If you stabilize a wine that has no more fermentable sugars and the number of active yeast cells are few (because of 3 below) then any added sugar will not referment.
3. If you allow the wine to age and rack the wine every couple of months you will by degrees remove much of the CO2 (and the active yeast colony).
4. If you stir the wine and stir and stir the wine or put the wine under a vacuum to remove CO2 - after all fermentation has long ceased - then you will remove almost all of the CO2. BUT
5. If your wine does contain CO2 (because you have not allowed it to age sufficiently and/or you have not mechanically degassed the wine then changes in atmospheric pressure or temperature coupled with any lees that drop out of suspension will result in the CO2 that was previously dissolved in the wine to "gassify" (nucleate) and increase the pressure in the bottle - popping the cork...
So, bottom line: allow the wine to age in the carboy and then allow it to age even longer and then when there is absolutely no sign of any more lees dropping out of suspension allow the wine to age even longer and only then bottle. No mess, no problem. The secret of wine making is ... patience.
 
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IronHoof

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Welcome to the hobby to you as well!

You indeed have a very good point, I am actually really excited about bottling my wine. I made a few really good wine recipes already, and longer term storage would be lovely. (not interested aging long term years and years; at least not yet.) I really like to look at every angle so I don't get caught by a caveat I wasn't aware of. There is a lot of excellent information online, but its spread about a piece in this article; a piece in that article. Then an article always hits you with something new you didn't know. You end up going round robin trying to cover yourself. :D
 
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BernardSmith

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Welcome to the hobby to you as well!

You indeed have a very good point, I am actually really excited about bottling my wine. I made a few really good wine recipes already, and longer term storage would be lovely. (not interested aging long term years and years; at least not yet.) I really like to look at every angle so I don't get caught by a caveat I wasn't aware of. There is a lot of excellent information online, but its spread about a piece in this article; a piece in that article. Then an article always hits you with something new you didn't know. You end up going round robin trying to cover yourself. :D
I agree that there is some excellent information online but there is too, a great deal of nonsense which is why I would recommend that you go to your local library get hold of a few good books on wine making. Wine making is both an art and a science and many of the most vociferous folk who post to Youtube have, in my opinion, very little knowledge of the science of fermentation and not much more knowledge of the art of wine making. You might also want to see if there is a home brewing or wine making club in your area.
 

cpfan

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Here's the general process that I would recommend for a beginner concerned about exploding bottles.

1 - allow the wine to finish fermenting, keeping the wine warm (68-72F).
2 - check the specific gravity (sg) with a hydrometer. It should be 1.000 or less. Check every other day until the sg remains constant for 3 checks.
3 - rack off sediment. add K-meta and sorbate.
4 - degas while wine is still warm. do not add any sweeteners.
5 - allow the wine to clear. add clearing agent(s) if you wish.
6 - rack off sediment.
7 - bottle warm wine (min 65F). Make sure that you leave sufficient headspace under the cork.

Note: some of my comments are NOT mandatory for everyone (eg sorbate). This quick set of instructions was created specifically for someone concerned about bottle bombs.

Steve
 

ErikM

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I recommend that you not be in hurry to bottle. Let the wine "age" for a month or two in the carboy with an airlock. Use cheap vodka in the airlock to prevent mold or mildew development. Quality whites could use at least a couple of months in the carboy. My quality reds spend about a year in a glass carboy before I even think of bottling. One advantage to bulk aging is that you can top off the SO2 every few months or so. Can't do that with bottled wine.
 

montanaWineGuy

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I had exploding bottles recently. Not due to refermentation, but trapped co2 in fine fruit particle sediment that I did not let fully clear before bottling. Lesson learned: 1 let clear, 2 don't purée the fruit, expecting better flavored results.
 

IronHoof

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A lot of really great information; I think I got my routine planned now.
I don't intend to foil cap anyway, so I am not very likely to get a problem other than corks popping out. I am about to find out really soon I have Jujube wine fermenting, and apple. They are crystal clear now just see finite little bubbles here and there. I am not doing anything until I don't see anymore bubbles. Then a couple days after I will hydrometer check it. Then hopefully I don't syphon any of the lees out because its REALLY clear I don't want to muck it up. I might just leave an inch in the bottom for tasting :)
 

Jericurl

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A lot of really great information; I think I got my routine planned now.
I don't intend to foil cap anyway, so I am not very likely to get a problem other than corks popping out. I am about to find out really soon I have Jujube wine fermenting, and apple. They are crystal clear now just see finite little bubbles here and there. I am not doing anything until I don't see anymore bubbles. Then a couple days after I will hydrometer check it. Then hopefully I don't syphon any of the lees out because its REALLY clear I don't want to muck it up. I might just leave an inch in the bottom for tasting :)
How did you do your jujube wine?
 
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