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kirknotes

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I have had my grape wine down at 1.00 or below now for about a week...just transferred off the minor lees...(taste is great already)...so as I am transferring to new carboy...do I add a campden tablet at this point and then begin the 30 day aging process with the airlock on top - is that the correct steps?

Also for cleaning. a local distributor swears by using iodine based cleaner for all of his supplies before and after using .... what is best for ensuring a good sterile environment when transferring to new vessels?
 

Scooter68

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Sterile is a bit much to achieve. Santiizers and the safe cleaner will "Sanitize" but sterilizing is a higher bar to reach and not really required for wine making. The key to any sanitizing solution/product is to follow instructions and clean and store equipment properly. The most popular sanitizer list includes (But not limited to.) One Step, Potassium Metabisulfate, and Star San. Any of these are tried and true when you follow the instructions. Using other products isn't an issue as long as you know how to mix, how long the last, and if any rinsing is needed. The latter being really undesirable because the rinse water then could potentially contain bacteria.

As to your wine in process - Key point is although the SG is at or below 1.00, is it still changing? When it remains the same for 3 or more days below 1.00 THAT is when you should consider the fermentation complete and being the process of racking and adding K-Meta/Campden tablets. Remember to crush the tablet well - if you crush WELL you can add them to a clean carboy before you start racking your wine into it. Or you can dissolve the tablet in a couple of ounces of water and add that to the carboy before or while racking the win.

Remember that once the fermentation is finished, you want to keep from moving or stirring the wine so that the fine lees can settle out.
 

kirknotes

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thank you. Tha'ts great my SG level was at 1.00 for about a week now - so I did crush a campden tablet and put one in each 1 gallon carboy....I have 3 one gallon containers going now.

So now do I let it be for 30 days - and how when I know when its time to bottle?
 

Scooter68

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What variety of wine are the batches?

Generally you can plan on racking in about a 3 weeks to a month to get rid of the lees. At that time you don't need to add another Campden tablet. Then plan on racking again in about 2 months from that racking.

The key here is patience - It takes about a year to have an enjoyable wine with most fruits. That was the hardest thing for me to learn. (Still struggling at times) When you rack after those additional 2 months, add another campden tablet. Normally cycle is to rack about every 3 months and add another campden tablet at that time.

A wine may be drinkable at 1 month after fermentation is over but it will be far, far from being a good, enjoyable drink. That's what time provides, aging and mellowing of those harsher elements that result from the fermentation process. If all 3 carboys are the same wine, I would suggest that if you really really feel you have to try it in a month, select one gallon and go with that. Stablizing and back sweetening may also be needed, The first is most definitely required if you back-sweeten the wine.

Bottling can be done early on (After the wine is completely clear, but many stories exist on her about folks who bottled early and regretted the decision in a few months when more sediment dropped out or the wine changed in a way they didn't anticipate. Once bottled your wine cannot be adjusted if you decide you'd like a sweeter wine or if sediment drops to the bottom of the bottle.

Even kit wines that advertise "Ready to drink in 6 weeks." are much much better with aging no less than 6 - 12 months.

While you are waiting for your wine, you might check out a few threads on here about wine aging and the benefits thereof.

Cheers and hang in there, we all have been there, a wine that we are just itching to taste and share but believe me, the time spent letting that wine age will put a big smile on your face.
 
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kirknotes

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yeah thanks, it is red grape wine - I have no idea what the variety of grapes they were...we planted the vines many years ago and this year the harvest was exceptionally large, so i figured i would try my hand at wine making.

I am not a big wine drinker - so I am not in a big hurry to have it ready to drink - I am really trying to make a good tasting wine that I could enjoy with others. Seems to be going great so far and I am having fun to boot.

I already see alot more sediment sinking to the bottom of the carboys - thats after transferring once off the gross lees and once more after the minor lees.

Sounds like - 3 weeks from now - rack again....and then go 6 weeks....rack again then 12 weeks... and so on??? up to 6 months to a year? Do you need to add a campden tablet each time you rack?

and does anyone use a filter when racking - if so what is the best way to filter?
 
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Scooter68

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Campden tablets are only needed about every 3 months.
As far as racking - Every 3 months and adding campden tablets at those times.
It sounds like you racked from the primary container to a secondary fermentation container then once more before fermentation was finished. That probably slowed up the fermentation a bit but unless you added campden tablets before it was finished no harm no foul.

Normally you don't rack again until the fermentation is completed.
Then you rack and add a campden tablet (1 per gallon)
At that point - once every 3 months.
In the perfect world I would do it as follows:
1) Start Fermentation in primary container
2) From primary fermentation to Secondary container (Carboy(s)) when SG reaches about 1.010
3) At end of fermentation to a clean Carboy(s) And add campden tablet
4) Approx 3-4 weeks later Rack to a clean carboy(s)
5) 8-9 weeks later Rack to a clean carboy(s) and add campden tablet
6) At 3 months intervals from that point repeat step 5


7) At 12 months from end of fermentation determine if wine needs back sweetening. (Taste)
8) a) If back-sweetening is to be done - Rack to a clean carboy(s) Add campden tablet and Potassium Sorbate (1/2 tsp/gallon )
b) If not backsweeting Add Campden tablet wait on week and bottle
9) If backsweetening was done wait one week before back-sweetening
10) Once backsweetened wait one more week before bottling.

Now having said all that I would not worry if you varied from that. Wine making can be successfully done following many different routes to the end. What I have given is what I have gleaned from reading and listening to folks who have been doing the for many years. And guess what - even the most experience folks have differences of opinion on the best ways.


Filtering - I would wait until the last thing before doing that - Add one week after the final campden tablet addition OR 1 week after back-sweetening. That way you wine is as clear as it can be - Filter - then bottle.
There are a variety of filters available but primarily you have gravity filtering (Harris Filter is most common) or power filtering (More expensive equipment). Filtering is not the best way to clear your wine - Time is best, then 'fining agents' then to finish off/polish the wine using a filter.

A lot depends on how much you want to invest in equipment. Being a 'frugal' person I use a gravity filter and get all my bottles (Including 1 gallon/4 liter carboys) from the local recycling center. Many folks re-use bottles either from the recycling center or by finding a local bar/club to source bottles from.

Note: Wine from Red Grapes is usually done with the skins in the must throughout the fermentation. I don't do wine from red grapes so the process is slightly different from what I listed but not really much different after fermentation is completed. You are past that point so don't worry about it.
 
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Stressbaby

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Hi @kirknotes,

With red wine it may not be necessary to rack every 3 months. A dusting of fine lees at the bottom of the carboy is not automatically harmful. Don't let it build up to, say, over 1/4", but in my view it's not worth racking the wine off much less than that. Post some pictures, that would be helpful.

As far as sulfite goes, 1 campden tab/gallon every three months is a guide. I used to do that, but I've been burned a couple of times, having found my SO2 level low 2-3 months after that first dose (possibly from losses to bound SO2). What I prefer to do now is dose just after fermentation is done, then I'll redose with that second dose a little earlier, say at 8 weeks, so that the wine is not unprotected. Of course, this can vary by the SO2 measurements, the characteristics of the wine or just life-gets-busy sorts of factors.

Filtering, as @Scooter68 says, is done just before bottling. Whites are filtered more often, it may not be necessary to filter a red wine. Be aware that you will loose a little bit of wine in the filtering process. I have found that I lose about a cup of wine. Not a big deal in a 3-6 gallon batch, but in a 1 gallon batch it could be enough to keep you from filling that 5th bottle.
 

kirknotes

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Note: Wine from Red Grapes is usually done with the skins in the must throughout the fermentation. I don't do wine from red grapes so the process is slightly different from what I listed but not really much different after fermentation is completed. You are past that point so don't worry about it.

excellent - thank you - very good break down. that is very helpful.

I did not take off the gross lees (skins and seeds) until the wine had fermented down to 1.00.

After I that I pressed off the skins and rebottled into 1 gallon carboys with airlock for about 10 days - SG dropped slightly below 1.00 on them.

So now I have transferred again into new carboys and added a campden tablet into each - planning to follow the steps you have outlined from here forward. I took a small taste while racking - the taste is great.

I am planning to back sweeten once done. Looking forward to a great wine.

Thanks to this forum and all the help!!:b
 

kirknotes

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Hi @kirknotes,

With red wine it may not be necessary to rack every 3 months. A dusting of fine lees at the bottom of the carboy is not automatically harmful. Don't let it build up to, say, over 1/4", but in my view it's not worth racking the wine off much less than that. Post some pictures, that would be helpful.

As far as sulfite goes, 1 campden tab/gallon every three months is a guide. I used to do that, but I've been burned a couple of times, having found my SO2 level low 2-3 months after that first dose (possibly from losses to bound SO2). What I prefer to do now is dose just after fermentation is done, then I'll redose with that second dose a little earlier, say at 8 weeks, so that the wine is not unprotected. Of course, this can vary by the SO2 measurements, the characteristics of the wine or just life-gets-busy sorts of factors.

Filtering, as @Scooter68 says, is done just before bottling. Whites are filtered more often, it may not be necessary to filter a red wine. Be aware that you will loose a little bit of wine in the filtering process. I have found that I lose about a cup of wine. Not a big deal in a 3-6 gallon batch, but in a 1 gallon batch it could be enough to keep you from filling that 5th bottle.
Right - I can see that out of each 1 gallon container - I will get about 3 - maybe 4 - 750ml bottles of wine

I will post some pictures - I only have 3 x 1 gallon carboys left going now....I started with 4 gallons of must. Planning to let this racking sit for about 30 days before re-racking to remove the sediment I see settling already
 

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