Watermelon Wine Spoilage

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Rice_Guy

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Howdy;
Yes, ,,, Campden/ potassium metabisulphite helps prevent oxidative reactions which kill the fruity notes of watermelon, but is not 100% effective. In a must the flavors are fairly stable. As alcohol is produced/ fermentation occurs, oxidative reactions are more damaging. Your other tool to delay oxidation is reducing head space to about an inch. Fruity flavors as melon are highly reactive.

By itself Campden will not prevent microbial spoilage. Microbial control is like building a fence. Percent alcohol over 5% and pH below 4.0 will give fair control, more as 11% ABV and pH below 3.5 will give better stability.( Note this also improves the chemical/ flavor stability.) Adding CO2 will push the fence higher. Having a dry wine will add another protective layer.

Do you know what the pH and ABV numbers are/ will be for your watermelon wine?
 
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Rice_Guy

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pH 3.4 when you still have CO2 in the wine likely translates into 3.5 on the degassed wine.

From this point we are looking at reducing oxidation, I would minimize air exposure/ racking and when you do rack assume that the residual free SO2 is zero. (have you looked at a SO2 calculator on the web) I like to put fruit wines at pH 3.1 to 3.2 in the must since meta is more effective as the pH is reduced. . . . . . You used the term “spoilage”, microbial problems should be limited to Acetobacter (vinegar) which comes from oxygen in headspace. Your risk is for flavor oxidation which isn’t toxic.

I have not figured out how to keep the flavor really fresh with melon wine, this is a difficult flavor.
 

browndd1

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Today was day 6 and the sg was or looked to be below .990. I pulled out the mesh bag containing the fruit, stirred it and put the top back on with the airlock. I am waiting on my filtration system to come in on Friday (Fermtech Mini 2 SS Filtration System) and then I plan on filtering it into a carboy, adding campden tablets and potassium sorbate then degassing before bottling. Right now it does not taste like watermelon and may have some vinegar/yeast smell. Not sure how to describe it because I have never made wine before. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

browndd1

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Just curious, how did the watermelon taste before you started?

I planted 3 varieties of watermelon this year. Two are "average" tasting so I'm not doing wine. Keeping my fingers crossed on the third variety.
I don't honestly know because I didn't taste them. I bought them from Walmart so who knows.
 

BigDaveK

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I don't honestly know because I didn't taste them. I bought them from Walmart so who knows.
Just a suggestion, in the future taste your flavor ingredient.
I changed my mind about making a couple wines because I wasn't happy with the initial flavor...and I was really disappointed, too. Flavor doesn't magically appear if it's not there to begin with. Live and learn.
 

Rice_Guy

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I second big Dave, ,, always taste what you are starting with. The food science adage was we taste with our eyes then our nose and then finally with our mouth. ,,, if you don’t start with good flavor the product won’t have good flavor.

Normal coming off a primary fermentation is to have carbonic bitter notes/ yeasty flavor/ reduced fruit aroma/ sour no sweet.
As the wine clears with time all these should improve.

technique point; frozen watermelon kinda juices by itself without much pressure, you didn’t mention freezing. Another point; I will pull pulp at 1.020 so that there is active outgassing. The goal is to minimize oxygen in the fruit wine.
 

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