Some questions on wine making…..

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Oaks

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Hey I have some questions on wine making. I’ve listed below when and what I’ve done so far.

Primary ferment started July 12.
Racked wine July 17, (5 days later), for secondary ferment.

I did not have a hydrometer at the start of this so no reading but on July 19 took hydrometer reading 1.000. Same reading 3 days later. July 21 added leftover wine (4 days after I had racked into secondary ferment vessel), from the beginning primary fermentation to the gallon carboy and filled to the neck to minimize air and prevent oxidation. I had it 3/4 full but realized from research the carboy needs filled to the neck. Still learning *shrugs* Hopefully didn’t mess it up.

Anyway I have never added anything to it. No campden tablets, yeast nutrients, potassium sorbate. Nothing aside from yeast and sugar at the very beginning. So I’m 16 days past secondary ferment. Should I rack a third time and add campden tablet? Rack a third time and let sit another couple weeks and rack a fourth time then sweet to taste and add potassium sorbate then bottle? I didn’t add campden tablets in the beginning as I didn’t have them at that time. I just had straight juice fresh from fresh fruit and added yeast and sugar. Just covered the juice with a towel until I racked into secondary ferment. At that time it was transferred to a carboy and a airlock attached. Yes I did things odd and out of the norm but I worked with what I had available at the time. I’m learning and researching and having fun experimenting. Tips and advice would be appreciated!!
 

salcoco

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normal rack protocol I follow is rack into secondary on completion of fermentation, rack in three days , rack in three weeks and then three months, every three months until bottling. in your present state I would rack now and add k-meta in powder or pill form. no need to add sorbate unless you plan to back sweeten then add k-meta and sorbate at time of sweetening, if plan is to bulk age add k-meta each three month rack if back sweetening waiat un til bottling time to do so and then add sorbate and k-meta
 

FlamingoEmporium

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You might still be ok and produce a decent wine. what kind of wine was it.
did you have any bubbling in your airlock ? Is it clearing ? Cloudy ? (See question on what kind of wine.) some fruit wines take a long time to clear.

you only need to rack now to get it off of any gross lees that have settled.

if it hasn’t gone below 1.000 it could be your yeast has eaten all it could. What yeast did you use ? Too early for sorbate right now, but Campden or K meta is a good idea

how about taste ?
 

Rice_Guy

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* pH (acid) especially below 4.0 acts as a preservative. A normal grape juice is between 3.0 and 3.8. If you are fermenting grape you probably are OK, question,,, what are you fermenting?
* beers are in the pH 5 area and require refrigeration or pasteurization for storage.
* Potassium metabisulphite acts as a chemical preventing alcohol oxidation in a finished wine and helps the selected yeast dominate a juice. Meta is worth adding if you wish to get some shelf life.
* grape juice starts around 1.090/ 11% potential alcohol. Alcohol above 5% is a good preservative. Apple juice is about 1.050/ 5% potential alcohol making a cider. Traditional European cider methods manage to get several years shelf life out. Again what juice did you start with?
* A low alcohol high pH juice presents food safety risks and should be refrigerated or frozen. A general rule is if it tastes bad don’t drink it.
* wine is a traditional beverage with certain fruits that naturally matched the rules which FDA forces us to use today. ,,,, It just worked by itself 500 years ago.
* me personally minimize the racking! ie if there is gunk siphon off the clear liquid. Also air is your enemy, minimize the head space on all containers.

and Welcome to Wine Making Talk
 
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BigDaveK

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Wow, juice and yeast and sugar - old school wine making. Chances are you'll be fine. That's the way it was done for many years. A lot of the things we add aren't absolutely necessary but they dramatically increase the chances for a good wine to be made.

Keep experimenting and having fun!
 
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Oaks

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normal rack protocol I follow is rack into secondary on completion of fermentation, rack in three days , rack in three weeks and then three months, every three months until bottling. in your present state I would rack now and add k-meta in powder or pill form. no need to add sorbate unless you plan to back sweeten then add k-meta and sorbate at time of sweetening, if plan is to bulk age add k-meta each three month rack if back sweetening waiat un til bottling time to do so and then add sorbate and k-meta
I do plan to back sweeten if needed but I do know not to do so until bottling. I’m trying to determine racking procedures needed as well as learn how to bulk age.
 

Oaks

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You might still be ok and produce a decent wine. what kind of wine was it.
did you have any bubbling in your airlock ? Is it clearing ? Cloudy ? (See question on what kind of wine.) some fruit wines take a long time to clear.

you only need to rack now to get it off of any gross lees that have settled.

if it hasn’t gone below 1.000 it could be your yeast has eaten all it could. What yeast did you use ? Too early for sorbate right now, but Campden or K meta is a good idea

how about taste ?
Trying to do wine and it’s peach. I got my hands on a bushel of peaches and extracted juice from the peelings. I’m experimenting 😜. I did have bubbles. Lots of bubbles and activity within the first 24 hours. Had it overflowing and my towel saturated. Airlock wasn’t administered until second racking 5 days later. I just used a simple yeast. What I use to make bread. No fancy wine yeast. It is clearing. A very small about of sediment has formed since secondary racking. Last time I tasted I did taste alcohol and was okay.
 

Oaks

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* pH (acid) especially below 4.0 acts as a preservative. A normal grape juice is between 3.0 and 3.8. If you are fermenting grape you probably are OK, question,,, what are you fermenting?
* beers are in the pH 5 area and require refrigeration or pasteurization for storage.
* Potassium metabisulphite acts as a chemical preventing alcohol oxidation in a finished wine and helps the selected yeast dominate a juice. Meta is worth adding if you wish to get some shelf life.
* grape juice starts around 1.090/ 11% potential alcohol. Alcohol above 5% is a good preservative. Apple juice is about 1.050/ 5% potential alcohol making a cider. Traditional European cider methods manage to get several years shelf life out. Again what juice did you start with?
* A low alcohol high pH juice presents food safety risks and should be refrigerated or frozen. A general rule is if it tastes bad don’t drink it.
* wine is a traditional beverage with certain fruits that naturally matched the rules which FDA forces us to use today. ,,,, It just worked by itself 500 years ago.
* me personally minimize the racking! ie if there is gunk siphon off the clear liquid. Also air is your enemy, minimize the head space on all containers.

and Welcome to Wine Making Talk
I’m working with peach juice. Completely new thing and seeing what happens! 😆
 

Oaks

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Wow, juice and yeast and sugar - old school wine making. Chances are you'll be fine. That's the way it was done for many years. A lot of the things we add aren't absolutely necessary but they dramatically increase the chances for a good wine to be made.

Keep experimenting and having fun!
Yes old school. I would prefer to learn and do this old school but am also interested in the “norm” of today’s methods so I can apply either if I so choose. I am concerned with the vinegar issue as well as exploding bottles. 🤣 I’d prefer to avoid that.😜 so am here and need advice and to learn!!!
 

FlamingoEmporium

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With the bread yeast it may have stopped fermenting If there’s no bubbling in your airlock. As long as its under airlock you will be OK.

yeast made for winemaking will give you flavor and do a much better job of fermenting. Patience is a good thing to have. Let it stay as is or rack it again and add a crushed Campden tablet, and then leave it for a while to clear and age
 

Oaks

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With the bread yeast it may have stopped fermenting If there’s no bubbling in your airlock. As long as its under airlock you will be OK.

yeast made for winemaking will give you flavor and do a much better job of fermenting. Patience is a good thing to have. Let it stay as is or rack it again and add a crushed Campden tablet, and then leave it for a while to clear and age

What are your thoughts on not adding yeast such as when I try doing this again only with grapes letting the natural yeast on the skins etc do the work?
 

FlamingoEmporium

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What are your thoughts on not adding yeast such as when I try doing this again only with grapes letting the natural yeast on the skins etc do the work?
Do a search on the forum for yeast, or natural yeast. You will find some great info. It’s possible but could be frustrating. A package of EC1118 yeast can be bought online or eBay really inexpensively and makes a difference.
 

ChuckD

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I would suggest making wine the “modern” way first until you are at least proficient before you start experimenting with natural yeast, no additives etc. it will give you a good base in winemaking knowledge that you can fall back on, and you will be ready for problems when they happen.
 

VinesnBines

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What are your thoughts on not adding yeast such as when I try doing this again only with grapes letting the natural yeast on the skins etc do the work?
Several people on the forum ferment naturally. I may play with natural yeast this year. A commercial winemaker told me how to harvest natural yeast. He takes a bucket to the vineyard, crushes grapes in the bucket, covers the bucket (I assume with a cloth so it can breathe) and leaves it for several days. When he comes back if it seems to be fermenting well, he uses that as a starter; if not he either starts over or uses a commercial strain.
 

BigDaveK

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I do plan to back sweeten if needed but I do know not to do so until bottling. I’m trying to determine racking procedures needed as well as learn how to bulk age.
Bulk aging is easy - put it in jug and forget about it for a couple months.

Racking is usually done after about a month in primary and then every 2 months or so. Don't watch the calendar! Do it whenever.
 

BigDaveK

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Bread yeast might be iffy. I've heard stories about not finishing the ferment or leaving an off flavor. Never used it.

Modern wine yeast has desirable qualities and it can really improve a wine. Please keep that in mind. I LOVE 71B for my fruit and flowers wines. Everyone has their favorites. In time so will you.

I've successfully done a couple natural ferments - as an experiment. It was fun. Just in case I suggest having a Plan B to add yeast if there's no activity after a few days.

I agree with @ChuckD to do the experimenting after a couple traditional batches. The experience, knowledge, and confidence will be a big plus.
 

Oaks

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Okay, I’ll think I’ll try the standard way of winemaking a go for a few rounds for research and learning purposes. Definitely wouldn’t hurt as it would be educational. I’m definitely more interested in the natural fermentation process though.

I did go ahead and rack the peach wine and added a campden tablet. I’ll also let it sit for a couple months and see what I have. 😆

The recommendations on using a commercial wine yeast was appreciated. I’ll look into it but am still on the fence with that. Mainly because the appeal of using a natural yeast from the fruit itself just seems more norm to me if that makes sense.

I’m completely out of my area of expertise on all of this but wouldn’t there be more of a benefit from the product as a whole if it can be created as a naturally as possible? Any of you guys have experience with both methods of fermentation and prefer one over the other?

Also thank you all for answering my questions and providing input. I don’t know what I’m doing! Yet!! 🤣
 

QuiQuog

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wouldn’t there be more of a benefit from the product as a whole if it can be created as a naturally as possible?
If you choose to do a natural ferment from the air or on the fruit, it could be a benefit or a detriment to the wine. Do you bake bread? Is the natural yeast more likely to be bread yeast in that case? Choosing a particular strain allows you to give your wine the best chance of a good outcome. I'm not sure I would consider choosing my yeast strain as particularly unnatural, being that yeast is a natural product. I wouldn't say not to try natural fermentation, I just don't think there's an inherent benefit to it. Unless you know there are lots of great yeast strains in the air like you might find in wine making regions. I'm not sure I would want to try natural fermentation if I lived somewhere like San Francisco. Sour dough wine? No thanks. :)
 

Oaks

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If you choose to do a natural ferment from the air or on the fruit, it could be a benefit or a detriment to the wine. Do you bake bread? Is the natural yeast more likely to be bread yeast in that case? Choosing a particular strain allows you to give your wine the best chance of a good outcome. I'm not sure I would consider choosing my yeast strain as particularly unnatural, being that yeast is a natural product. I wouldn't say not to try natural fermentation, I just don't think there's an inherent benefit to it. Unless you know there are lots of great yeast strains in the air like you might find in wine making regions. I'm not sure I would want to try natural fermentation if I lived somewhere like San Francisco. Sour dough wine? No thanks. :)
Yes to the bread. I’ve done both yeast from the store for bread as well as from the air for sourdough. I’m not interested in sourdough wine. 😂 was interested in the natural yeast from the skins of fruit. Thank you for your input. 😊
 

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