starting first batch today?

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Aug 27, 2009
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I have collected everything I will need (also I switched my plan from fresh peaches to cherry concentrate) and will be starting my first batch of wine in just a few hours.

I just wanted to double check my plans with some more experienced wine makers:

1) mix 1 tablespoon sodium metabisulfite with 1 gallon of water
2) wash EVERYTHING involved with this solution.
3) poor can of concentrate into primary fermenting bucket
4) poor in water to 5 gallon line (can says it will be about 4.5 gallons)
5) add 2 tsp. acid blend, .5 tsp tannin, 4 tsp. yeast nutrient, and 2.5 tsp. pectin enzyme (as called for in recipe on can)
6) add sugar till specific gravity is 1.095
7) add 5 campden tablets (this is what the recipe says but do they add 1 tablet per gallon? makes sense but idk for sure)
8) make yeast starter by gently mixing a pinch of yeast nutrient, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and some lukewarm water with yeast packet (is this done in an open container like a cup or a bowl or should I sanitize a bottle and make the starter in there with the cap slightly unscrewed because of co2 production? Also what temp should this be left at? cool like a fridge or room temp like my desk, or warm like on the heater?)
9) wait 24 hours
10) put yeast starter into must
11) cover with lid with air lock
12) all done things are off to a good start.

That is how I understand the process that is going to begin in a couple of hours. Thoughts, opinions, and corrections are more than welcome!

Thanks I can't wait to get started.
Well, heres my take.

Mix 6 tbls Na Meta with 2 gallons of water, clean everything well, including your hands.

When adding the water use lukewarm water. When the yeast hits in in 24 hrs(depending on which your using, you'll want the must around 70-75). If the can says it'll make 4.5 gals, than bring it up to 4.5 gals. Better to follow their instructions the first time out.

The chemical(additive) amounts you list sound about right, though I would use 3 tbls Pectin E.

The starting SG sounds good. I would transfer it to the secondary around 1.010. Dissolve the sugar completely in some of the water or in some of the mix to make sure it is incorporated well. I'm guessing that may be around 12 cups of sugar, but only your hydrometer will tell you for sure.

Campden, not sure, never used it. But 1/4 tsp of the powdered is generally good for 5 gallons. Read the instructions on the tablet pack or use the search in here, I know there is quite a bit about the equivelant between tablets and powdered.

Starter, sounds about right, again I have never used it. And again, in the search there is alot of info on starters. I have always just rehydrated in water according to the instructions.

Allow your must to sit for 24 hours to acclimate to the room temp and to allow the pectin E to do its job, it doesn't work once fermentation has begun.

Pitch your yeast or starter.

I personally wouldn't ferment under an airlock. If you insist on using a lid leave it on loosely, better yet leave it off and just cover with a clean dish cloth.

The most important thing is PATIENCE. This can not be emphasized enough. Fermentation should take 7-10 days, depending on temp, yeast and some other factors.

Maybe some of the others can add more, but it sounds to me like you are heading in the right direction. Soon you will be obsessed like the rest of us.

Best of luck, check back in with your progress and any other questions or concerns you have.
awesome so it sounds like I have it figured out but I am seriously confused about one thing. Why would I ferment without the lid? whats the point of even sanitizing if I am just going to leave it open like that with no airlock to protect it from bacteria and air? and then when would I put the lid on? after about a week when fermentation settles down or are you saying ferment open till I rack to secondary?
Initial fermentation can cause a lot of foaming...cover it with a cloth til the worst of the foaming is over then you can put it under airlock.

The sanitizing solution should be 3 tbls per gallon like arctic said, youll be fine but keep that in mind from now on.
In addition to Wades reply, get a spray bottle and keep it filled with the same ratio of solution. If for instance you want to drop the hydrometer in to read it, spray it first, wait a couple minutes and stick er in. Be sure you sanitize anything that touches your wine, stirring spoons, etc.