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joeycannoli

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Hey all,

Wanted to share my experience with my first white wine batch this past year. I made a white wine blend from juice with 3 different varietals; Chardonnay, moscato and reisling. The process went like this:

Mixed juices together and pitched the yeast. Used cote des blancs.
Fermentation. Measured with hydrometer to test when fermentation was complete
After fermentation; transfered to aging stainless steel tanks
White wine aged for 6 with racking every 2 months. 3 racks total before filtering and bottling

Now, before bottling, the wine tasted fantastic. Nice blend of dry and sweet. Great glass of wine for a hot summer day. The first couple of bottles we had were good and tasted just like it did before bottling. After a few weeks we noticed the newly opened bottle would fizz and bubble a little bit. Now it’s like we made processo or champagne. It’s fizzy, carbonated and very dry. Still tastes decent, but not what we wanted to make.

Any ideas on where we went wrong so we don’t make the same mistake this year? Was it like the lack of degassing? I figured racking three times would have taken care of that aspect. Maybe I’m not aware of the proper way to degas?

Thanks in advance my friends
 

sour_grapes

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Fermentation. Measured with hydrometer to test when fermentation was complete

Now, before bottling, the wine tasted fantastic. Nice blend of dry and sweet.

After a few weeks we noticed the newly opened bottle would fizz and bubble a little bit. Now it’s like we made processo or champagne. It’s fizzy, carbonated and very dry. Still tastes decent, but not what we wanted to make.
It sure sounds like you had residual sugar in your wine at bottling time, which then underwent alcoholic fermentation in the bottle. After completing fermentation, the wine should NOT taste sweet.

What was the original SG, and what, exactly, was the SG at bottling time?
 

Johnd

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Possibility also exists that it went through MLF in the bottle or just before bottling, leaving you a little fizz and changing your pH/TA and taste.
 

joeycannoli

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It sure sounds like you had residual sugar in your wine at bottling time, which then underwent alcoholic fermentation in the bottle. After completing fermentation, the wine should NOT taste sweet.

What was the original SG, and what, exactly, was the SG at bottling time?
Initially before fermentation it was around 1.08 and before putting the wine into the aging vat it was at 1. I actually didn’t bother to check again before bottling as I assumed it wouldn’t change after fermentation. Sounds like i might have made a rookie mistake by not doing it again.
 

sour_grapes

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A "finished" wine will typically finish at about 0.990 to 0.996. (For me, values of 0.993 to 0.995 are most common.) Alcohol is less dense than water, pulling the SG below 1.000.
 

joeycannoli

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Thanks for the replies. So it seems like I had transferred the wine before it fully finished fermentation? How come it didn't ferment further in the holding tanks for the few months that it sat there before bottling? Trying to understand so I don't make the same mistake again this year.
 

Johnd

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Without knowing all of the variables it's hard to pinpoint, but one possibility is temperature change. If things cooled down a bit and slowed down your AF and you bottled while it was still cool, it could have kicked back in as it warmed in spring. Just a thought.
 

heatherd

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Thanks for the replies. So it seems like I had transferred the wine before it fully finished fermentation? How come it didn't ferment further in the holding tanks for the few months that it sat there before bottling? Trying to understand so I don't make the same mistake again this year.
After fermentation, and before I bottle any wine, I stabilize with potassium metabisulfite and check for gas, which will make your wine cloudy or zippy. If you decide to sweeten after fermentation, you'll also need to add potassium sorbate. I agree that a completed fermentation will be more in the 0.995-0.990 range for three straight days. Sometimes the must is sneaky and fermentation slows - hard to say why.
 

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