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WineXpert topping off carboy with wine

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bstnh1

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I have a completely different view on things. While many people, especially people just starting out WILL top up with water (I have done this) and truthfully, I have little problem with this, as kits are intended to be 23 L, if it is low, it most likely had not been topped up properly to begin with.
I live in Canada, where there is no such thing as cheap wine, so I personally don't feel like using a "cheap" $15 bottle of wine as top up is reasonable value.
My suggestion would be (at least starting out) would be make a cheap kit (10L grand cru for example; or even Costco kits) of neutral wine (Merlot for red, Pinot Grigio for white perhaps) then save a few bottles specifically for top-up. That way, it is still getting topped up with wine instead of water at a very minimal cost.
I disagree with the premise of your response. The need to top up is not usually caused by failing to add the required amount of water in the beginning. Unless you're bottling wine with a lot of sediment in the bottles, most of the lost liquid comes about when racking off the lees. If you start out with a fermenter full to 23 liters, I guarantee you will never end up with 23 liters unless you top up. Those lees take up volume and that volume along with the liquid that goes with them is lost in the racking process.
 

joeswine

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Your also getting boil off through the fermentation process that's lessons the volume and it can be considerable.
 

BMac

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I disagree with the premise of your response. The need to top up is not usually caused by failing to add the required amount of water in the beginning. Unless you're bottling wine with a lot of sediment in the bottles, most of the lost liquid comes about when racking off the lees. If you start out with a fermenter full to 23 liters, I guarantee you will never end up with 23 liters unless you top up. Those lees take up volume and that volume along with the liquid that goes with them is lost in the racking process.
Thats a fair point, and yes, there is certainly wine lost during the racking stage, and I don't dispute the need to top-up. I guess the point of my original post was that IF started at 23L, very careful racking, there shouldn't be a large amount of headspace in the carboy (but yes there will be space), that I think topping up with wine from a cheaper kit, shouldn't really change much of the flavour overall.
 

sour_grapes

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Thats a fair point, and yes, there is certainly wine lost during the racking stage, and I don't dispute the need to top-up. I guess the point of my original post was that IF started at 23L, very careful racking, there shouldn't be a large amount of headspace in the carboy (but yes there will be space), that I think topping up with wine from a cheaper kit, shouldn't really change much of the flavour overall.
I agree with these sentiments. I also have absolutely no problem with adding some wine, either mine or commercial, to top off a carboy.
 

G259

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Agree with most of above, but if you have a Gran Cru kit, would you really add a 'Two-buck Chuck' to it?
 

Daboyleroy

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Can Or should I take my lees and strain thru coffee filters or filters to recapture some of the liquid? That is what I have been doing.
 

GaDawg

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The new Winexpert instructions say that topping up during the clearing process is unnecessary. Maybe so, but I get nervous about leaving a lot of head space sitting there for up to 6 weeks. I top up with some of my own stock.
Head space made me nervous until I started drawing a vacuum on the head space during clearing. ( I bottle after clearing)
 

winemaker81

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Can Or should I take my lees and strain thru coffee filters or filters to recapture some of the liquid? That is what I have been doing.
You must go through a lot of coffee filters. Put the lees in a bottle and refrigerate for a week. See this thread, which includes before and after pictures.
 

winemaker81

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Thats a fair point, and yes, there is certainly wine lost during the racking stage, and I don't dispute the need to top-up. I guess the point of my original post was that IF started at 23L, very careful racking, there shouldn't be a large amount of headspace in the carboy (but yes there will be space), that I think topping up with wine from a cheaper kit, shouldn't really change much of the flavour overall.
The amount of volume reduction can vary a lot, with many factors involved. Grape solids, oak fragments, yeast cells, fining agents, etc. No matter how careful the racking, I'd expect the reduction of at least a liter from a kit, more from fresh grapes.

When you add a lower quality wine to a higher quality wine, you reduce the quality of the better wine. Maybe not a lot, but the potential is there. Read the labels of blended wines -- California, Bordeaux, or Rhone -- I recall several labels that stated the wine was 97% of one and 3% of another. That figure stands out in my memory as it seemed very odd the first time I saw it.

1 bottle into a 23 liter carboy is 3.3%. Maybe it makes a difference only in high end wines, but it's something I consider.

Here's a different take -- instead of buying a cheap kit to topup better kits, use a better kit.

A mid-range Merlot kit is made and in the rack. Next batch is an equivalent quality Cabernet kit, and for whatever reason, it needs topping. So you take a bottle of the Merlot and "sacrifice" it to top the Cabernet.

No sacrifice was made. That Merlot is still going over the teeth and past the gums -- it's just a matter of it being 100% Merlot OR 96.3% Cabernet and 3.3% Merlot, spread over 30 bottles ....

One last thought -- assuming 30 bottles produced by each of a mid-range kit ($125 USD) and a low-end kit ($75 USD), the difference per bottle is $1.67.

This is just food for thought.
 

Daboyleroy

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You must go through a lot of coffee filters. Put the lees in a bottle and refrigerate for a week. See this thread, which includes before and after pictures.
Thanks
I have 2 bottles in the refrigerator , waiting for the lees to settle
Attached is the filters that I use to remove the first “stuff”
easy to clean and sanitize
 

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Chinook

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Thanks
I have 2 bottles in the refrigerator , waiting for the lees to settle
Attached is the filters that I use to remove the first “stuff”
easy to clean and sanitize
To get the the most out of the less, at some stage I decide enough is enough, I simply press them dry between two ordinary kitchen wire strainers and then toss them - enough is enough just de-liquidify a bit dry squeeze out some concentrated addition that I put in etc - don't want to ruin the taste with something doesn't belong
 

Handy Turnip

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I racked from primary to carboy on a Chilean sauvingnon blanc at the weekend, but in trying to maximise the amount wine I accidentally syphoned through a slug of sediment. Not a huge amount by any means, but enough to send a whopping great cloud into my carboy.

I'm going through clearing now and in a only a few days it's clearing nicely. I'd now leave it a few weeks to clear properly but just worried if sitting on this extra sediment is an issue? I'm possibly over thinking but always good to check!
 

Chinook

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I racked from primary to carboy on a Chilean sauvingnon blanc at the weekend, but in trying to maximise the amount wine I accidentally syphoned through a slug of sediment. Not a huge amount by any means, but enough to send a whopping great cloud into my carboy.

I'm going through clearing now and in a only a few days it's clearing nicely. I'd now leave it a few weeks to clear properly but just worried if sitting on this extra sediment is an issue? I'm possibly over thinking but always good to check!
Not a problem, You add fining agents, rack, add fining agents then even if your final has clear wine has a layer of sediment on bottom you just siphon off with a cap on the bottom of the siphon (into the final filter if you want) eg one or five micron Buon Vino or Vacuum or Whole Household Filter system)

Four weeks from start to final filtering and bottling mostly for me fining agents at end of week two and end of week three. and maybe some pectic enzyme if I had used fruit
I tilt the carboy getting almost all of my clear wine into my final filtering mechanism leaving lees and maybe only 30 ml or less behind.
Then I'll even rack the leftovers into a small bottle , let settle in the fridge and I have a bit of a taster.
..
So answer is If wine has been treated with fining agents, it is easy to siphon off clear wine leaving lees behind in the carboy . Just don't kick the carboy. 😱
:ib😄😄
 
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