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storing demijohn of gooseberry wine

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TerryB56

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I have just filled a demijohn with wine that has been fermenting two weeks. It is sealed with bung and airlock. There is about an inch and a half of cloudy material at the bottom. Do I need to do anything else to it and how to store for the next four months before bottling? Thanks for any help.
Terry
 

Scooter68

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The process is that you have to rack several times, normally during the first 4-8 weeks, to eliminate the sediment (Lees) at the bottom. The initial lees can give off tastes to the wine in some cases depending on what is in them such as seeds. During aging process racking is normally done about every 3 months to limit the exposure of the wine to oxygen, but; initially it is more important to reduce/eliminate the really measurable lees in the wine. So in the first 4-8 weeks you may need to rack the wine 2-3 times to get rid of the majority of the lees.
Would help if you provide your recipe and the basics of what you have done. Such as any clearing/fining agents you have used.

It is especially important to have the wine completely clear of any sediment before bottling day comes around. You really don't want bottle your wine and have the last few bottles noticeably cloudy compared to the rest of bottles.
 

TerryB56

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Hi Scooter, I used the recipe from homebrewanswers.com for gooseberry wine. I used 1.3kg of red gooseberries, water, sugar, yeast nutrient, campden tablet powder, pectolase and wine yeast. One thing that puzzled me was in the recipe it says to sprinkle yeast powder on surface but on packet of yeast it said to hydrate the yeast first in some water. I went with what was on the packet. It did not mention using any fining substance. Could I syphon the wine into the fermenting bucket today,avoiding the sediment in the bottom, and then back into the demijohn. Should I store the demijohn in a dark place. Thanks for your help.
Terry
 

Scooter68

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Other than removing the fruit bag or Skins Bag (If you have one) just doing what you are talking about is ok while fermentation is ongoing. Once fermentation is over it is better to go from one Carby(Demijohn) to another and avoid the exposure to oxygen.
Absolute darkness is not necessary but away from a lot of sunlight and a cool place - 60s temps good. (Not cold) That's why cellars/basments are best.

Let me be sure you had the wine in a bucket initially and then transferred to a demijohn?
When yo did that you left some lees behind in the bucket but now more have dropped out correct?

IF fermenation is still going on leave as is and monitor until fermentation is finished. THEN rack to another Demijohn/carboy.

IF fermenation is over, then rack as suggested to get the wine off the lees which contain dead yeast and other sediment.

Hopefully you have at least two demijohns because using one and a bucket is a lot of extra work and does expose your wine to a lot of oxygen unnecessarily. Not the best thing for the wine.
 
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TerryB56

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Hi Scooter, yes wine was in a bucket to begin. First time at syphoning so may have been a bit careless and sucked up more sediment than intended. I`m not sure how you know if fermentation is still going on. I only have one demijohn at present so will look for another.
Terry
 

Stressbaby

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Scooter is correct, it is a lot easier to just rack from one container to another. However, lots of people do just what you have described using the bucket as an intermediate step. I will sometimes do that if I don't have a carboy or some combination of carboys that match in terms of volume. If you do this, I would make sure my wine was adequately protected with KMS to protect against oxidation.

That 1.5 inches you have is known as gross lees and it is generally thought to be important to get the wine off of the gross lees relatively quickly. Fine lees which drop later is a different matter. What I do is rack around 3-7 days when I'm pretty sure fermentation is done in order to to get off the gross lees; then a second racking at 1-3 months, then every 3-6 months after that. When I started I racked every 30 days but now I rack FAR LESS OFTEN.

You can tell if the wine is still fermenting by watching the specific gravity. Bubbles in an airlock may not be reliable. Consecutive days of SG under 1.000 without movement generally signals the end of fermentation. Note that your fermentation may appear to slow or stop for a while after moving to the demijohn. That transfer eliminated some of the yeast, stunned those that are left. Because you probably degassed a little bit as well, even after fermentation restarts it may take a while to resaturate the wine with CO2 and see it bubbling off...another reason to watch SG instead of airlocks.
 

Scooter68

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Hi Scooter, yes wine was in a bucket to begin. First time at syphoning so may have been a bit careless and sucked up more sediment than intended. I`m not sure how you know if fermentation is still going on. I only have one demijohn at present so will look for another.
Terry

What size is this batch? If it's a gallon - you might just run by your local recycling center and pick up a discarded 1 gallon carboy. Just be aware that "Carlos Rossi" branded wine comes in a 4 liter carboy and that means an additional 7.3 oz of volume. For a one gallon batch that is not a great idea.

If your batch is 3, 5, or 6 gallons then your only option it pretty much to purchase another carboy. Dividing those batches into 1 gallon or 4 liter carboys is more work and although I am "Thrifty" I don't think you want to be dividing the batch up that way.
 

TerryB56

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I have just made 1 gallon so far, with another batch of gooseberries in the freezer to turn into wine at a later date. I have bought another demi john as this being Inverness, Scotland I doubt many of them are taken to our recycling centre.
Terry
 
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