RJ Spagnols Too much oxygen? Help!

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by facn1989, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. facn1989

    facn1989 Member

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    Hi,

    I live in a small apartment and only have space one fermenter, so I'm using a conical FastFerment which saves space instead of the bucket/carboy combo. I can't bulk age either as I can only do one kit at a time, so I bottle when the instructions say so. My concern is, that the FastFerment has a lot of headspace between the wine and the lid (unlike a carboy which is topped up). I'm concerned about the oxygen. My kit will last about 6-8 weeks with a lot of oxygen just sitting there. I know the first couple of weeks won't matter because the wine is releasing CO2, but what about during clearing stage after degassing? Can my wine get ruined? I know the conical works well for beer, and I hear many success stories with wine, but I'm a little afraid I could be damaging my wine when over-exposing it to oxygen.

    Am I being paranoid? Anyone with experience using the conicals? Can it alter the taste down the road when opening a bottle in a year or two? I guess my question is if I can get the same exact result with a conical or do I have to compromise space with a lower quality wine.

    Thank you!
     
  2. someirishman

    someirishman Junior Member

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    I use 3 conicals for wine all the time, I ferment and degass/clear in them all the time without issue, my kits are bottled in 4 to 6 weeks, 2 to 3 weeks to ferment then degass in 1 day and add clearing agents and wait about 2 to 3 weeks until clear, I have few high end kits and just got a carboy to age them for few months or a year, you won't have an issue with a month or more in the conical especially when u add kmeta after ferment so don't worry they work great I just wouldn't age for months in them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  3. facn1989

    facn1989 Member

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    Thank you! That's a relief!
     
  4. facn1989

    facn1989 Member

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    FYI, I wrote to the FastFerment guys a week ago and they finally responded. Their answer was "There is no oxygenation due to headspace in the FastFerment if you're making at least 24 litres"

    24 litres, really? Then I asked them about the 24 litres and they said "We top up with water if it goes below 24L and we've never had an issue." These guys are idiots. They seriously water down their wine to keep out oxygen? I didn't even respond.

    I'm trusting you that you've never had a problem, but the FastFerment people are no help at all. Terrible customer service and terrible advice.
     
  5. someirishman

    someirishman Junior Member

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    That's very strange and poor advice, why 24 liters? my conical holds 30 liters so topping up from 23 to 24 would make no difference for head space really and only water down your wine. As you say these were really made for beer but work great for quick wine kits you wont be bulk aging or bulk age after fermentation and clearing. you wont have an issue with a 6-8 week kit but after 2 months you would be safer to bottle or move to a carboy for long term bulk aging. Not having to use or need auto siphon or rack to bottling bucket requires much less work and bottling straight from the fermenter is so damn handy.
     
  6. we5inelgr

    we5inelgr Senior Member

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    What about using an inert gas like Private Preserve?

    We use it on the very rare occasion that we open, and don't finish, a bottle of wine. I have started using it in my carboys that may not be ideally topped up, working on the principle that the inert gas is heavier than oxygen and will displace the O2 and put down a 'protective blanket' on the surface of the wine until it's disturbed.

    It's used by several wineries and restaurants that we frequent (that serve wine by the glass) as a less expensive alternative to a Coravin system (unless they are pouring from a high end library wine).

    In principle, it should work, using a few more bursts than what's called for with a 750 ml bottle.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  7. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    Sparging with Argon to reduce O2 in the headspace is better than nothing, but I want to point out to you that there is no such thing as a "protective blanket" of gas. Gases mix and diffuse on the timescale of tens of seconds. Any O2 in the head space has unimpeded access to the wine.
     
  8. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    If I boil the question down to: is it ok to leave wine with significant head space exposed to oxygen for 4-6 weeks. What is the wine volume, what is the surface area that is exposed?

    All wine is exposed to oxygen. A big consideration is the wine itself; a delicate Sauv Blanc or a big oaky Cab? The question I always ask myself (the physicists in the house can correct) is surface area exposed, the amount of time it is exposed, compared to the total volume of wine. I would not feel comfortable leaving a 1/2 or even 3/4 filled carboy exposed for 4-6 weeks. Might the wine still be good, yea, but could it have been better?
     
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  9. someirishman

    someirishman Junior Member

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    The 4 to 6 weeks is during primary and secondary fermentation before being bulk aged in a carboy or being bottled, It is a sealed airtight vessel with airlock and gets dosed with kmeta. The issue he is asking is if will be safe during fermentation and clearing, which in my experience it is, just not for storage of the wine or bulk aging. ive probably done close to 20-30 kits in these fastfermentors so far without issue, if anything standard plastic buckets will have more headspace and have the same issue of needing a carboy for bulk aging. Of course there is always room for improvement with fermenters, Id like to see one made more for wine with less head space and maybe an inflatable balloon inside where you could eliminate oxygen completely and allow bulk aging. Maybe somebody here could invent one??
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  10. we5inelgr

    we5inelgr Senior Member

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    The wine industry often talks about this 'protective blanket.' The larger food industry talks about it as well. Now, does 'protective blanket' mean 100% protection, 100% of the time? Of course not, because no such system is 100% perfect all the time, every time. However, these 'inert' gases do in fact displace oxygen (really meaning 'air') and form a 'protective blanket' for a period of time (depending on several variables) because their atomic weights are heavier.

    Inert Gases: Techniques
    https://winemakermag.com/1308-inert-gases-techniques


    All Neutral, But Not Equal: on the Use of Gases to Protect Wines
    http://www.nomacorc.com/blog/2014/12/neutral-equal-use-gases-protect-wines/



    What Are The Differences Between Vacuum, Nitrogen And Argon?
    http://www.wineenthusiast.com/learn...erences-between-vacuum-nitrogen-and-argon.asp


    Why Nitrogen Is Better than Argon for Wine Production
    http://blog.parker.com/why-nitrogen-is-better-than-argon-for-wine-production
     
  11. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    The part of those sources where they talk about displacing oxygen in a confined space is true, as I alluded to in my statement. As I said, however, any O2 left in the space will be able to reach the wine. The concept of the heavier gas "settling to the bottom" of a contained space is simply not the case.

    The atmosphere is 0.5% Argon. Why hasn't it "settled out" and suffocated us all?

    (More detailed info at a recent post here: http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=664940&postcount=21)

    You are correct in saying " form a 'protective blanket' for a period of time (depending on several variables)." However, all I keep trying to say is that the period of time is ~minutes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017

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