WineXpert Why rack after 6 days??????

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oversight

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I have made some fruit wines but this is the first wine kit I have made. It is a WineXpert Chai Maison, Merlot, 0622209 0359, (all class).

It is 7.5 Litres (2 gallons) of grape juice, bentonite, & red star yeast,
chitosan, metabisulphite, & sorbate.
All to make 23 L, (6 gallons) of wine.

I am following the directions that come with the kit so far, I have just made it up this afternoon. (Room temp 20 deg C, Starting temp 24 deg C, starting SG 1.076 at 24 deg C).
Temp will probably drop to room temperature overnight and ferment will complete at around 20 -22 deg C. Its airlocked in a 30 L polythene fermentation barrel.

I am scratching my head though at the necessity of step two of their included directions.
For a pdf of these see...... the winexpert website

It involves racking into a carboy partway through the initial fermentation on day 6, leaving that carboy part empty and allowing the initial ferment to complete through to day 10.

Why??? Forget about the SG readings. Why remove from the primary part way through. Why can't I just leave in the primary for 10, 11, 12, 15 days or however long it takes the initial ferment to complete before racking to a secondary glass carboy, de-gassing, and adding the finings etc...

Is it just because (I see that in their pictorial accompanyment) the cartoon fermentation guy is using a plastic rubbish type bin as his primary and there is no airlock for the first 6 days?
 
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Green Mountains

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The instructions as I read them at WineXpert state "After 5–7 days draw a sample of the juice and use your hydrometer and test jar to check the specific gravity. It should be 1.010 or less.
You must rack (transfer) the wine into a 23-litre (6 US gallon) carboy at this time.


This is based on the SG reading. Once it gets down as low as this the amount of O2 being created due to fermentation is greatly reduced leaving the surface of the wine open to oxidation. Moving to a carboy to finish at this point is a standard step in kit wine making.

And while he is a cartoon I'm pretty sure that's a cartoon version of a primary fermenter and not so much a cartoon garbage can. :sm


Keep us informed on your kit. I haven't made this one but I have a WE Sangiovese in secondary and a WE Pinot Noir in Primary as we speak.
 

Green Mountains

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...but also...

I've altered a couple of kits by keeping them in primary for several weeks before moving them. this appeared to have no negative effect on the red but I found our white zin looked a bit oxidized.

Doing so will void your warranty but if you're like me you don't worry about such things.

The directions show the company's "Best Method" of getting the results you'll want.
 

oversight

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Well I am up to day 7 with this kit, so far, fermentation has slowed right down, less bubbling now. I have decided to let it finish in the Primary seeing as mine is air-locked.

The cartoon guy, in the instructions, has a fermentor rather than a garbage can (accepted) but it is open top, and as stated above, the amount of CO2 produced in those first few days is so great that it does not require an airlock. Then when fermentation tapers off an airlock is required. Mine is there from the start. I am thinking that the original instructions are a little outdated now that plastic fermentors that seal are so common.

I don't think any off flavours will be produced by letting the wine sit on the lees for the extra week or so to let fermentation complete.

....and I have started shaking my fermentor to get the dissolved CO2 out of solution. I might make a whip for the drill out of a coat-hanger but I will see how the shaking works.
 

Tom

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There are many accepted ways to ferment wine. Best thing for you now is CHECK THE GRAVITY. You cannot go by bubbling action Like said above I would rack @ 1.010 and let it finish in the carboy. Do you have a hydrometer? If not get one fast.
 

cbw

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As fermentation slows .... you really need to move the wine from primary into a carboy. Even though you are under airlock, there will still be a lot of "head space" in the primary fermenter. You need to move it into something with less headspace where it will have less chance of oxidizing.
 

wyntheef

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When I had questions regarding a wine-expert kit, I called their 1-800 number and was re-assured everything was fine. However, I was also told that they would replace the kit if it did'nt work out, as long as I was following the instructions faithfully.
If you alter significantly from the instructions, you forfeit the replacement guarantee. Only deviate if you really need to.
 

oversight

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Well I thought about measuring the SG (I have many hydrometers) but really what is the point? Its obvious that fermentation has gone well according to the expected time frame.

Why open up the fermentor and expose the wine to 1) bugs, 2) oxygen.

I can leave it in there for a while longer, fermentation will complete, and I can check the SG when I do finally move it to a secondary. But really checking the SG now will accomplish little??? If I thought something was up, going wrong, not according to time frame then I would check. Whats more, I don't have to worry about moving it too soon, because I am going to leave it in there for a while longer than necessary. I do want to know the SG eventually, but I just cant see the point in checking it part way through the primary fermentation.

Also regarding the head-space in the primary. Mine is full of CO2, it must be chock full, no O2. So I cant see moving it to a secondary is going to prevent it from oxidizing due to the oxygen in the head-space either. Whereas opening the container to whip the CO2 out or transferring it to a secondary will.

Just playing devils advocate, but I am yet to understand the logic of this primary to secondary transfer so early in the piece.
 
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rawlus

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when opening primary for transfer, the risk of negative effects of bugs or o2 is inconsequential/insignifigant. you dont have to rack to secondary if you dont want to. some kits have you ferment through to dry in an airlocked primary. the thing is, some amateur winemakers, most pro winemarkers use open primary fermenters, some use fermenters with just gravity-fit lids, and in those two cases, you prob wouldnt want to ferment to dry in the primary as the chances of spoilage, oxidation, contamination increase as fermentation activity slows down and the headspace becomes more saturated with surrounding air.

as far as ignoring the use of a hydrometer.. again, you can run it any which way you want. if you watch the start of a race and see the finish, you know who won the race but you dont know how they did it or what happened during. sort of the same case with fermentation... i think you will find most winemakers including commercial ones will monitor fermentation from start to finish, SG, temps, brix, alcohol level, etc.. there are milestones along this trip that can be indicators of when to add nutrient or perform some other ancillary procedure... part of insuring the best product is to have a good idea of what is going on the whole way, recording that, monitoring that... if you walk away until its finished, then if something were to happen part way through, or not happen as expected or required, you may not find out until its too late. i usually take daily refractometer readings through primary and record these to monitor the pace of the ferment, the health of the yeast, the drop in brix,...

i suspect the key reason for the move to carboy for secondary is for better protection against o2 when using primaries which are not airlocked in some way.

as far as checking it when you know something is up or going wrong, if you are not monitoring the fermentation progress beyond watching the bubbles in the airlock, then you wont really know what is going on... the bubbles are a poor replacement for hydrometer or refractometer.
 

cbw

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Oversight>>Just playing devils advocate

Sounds to me, however, like you are trying to question the advice of veteran winemakers ... and the way vintners have produced wine for hundreds of years.

Please feel free to make your wine however you want to make it.

But when you are learning how to drive, it would seem foolish to question the wisdom of experienced drivers who tell you to keep your hands on the wheel.

For me, half the fun, is charting the progress of our winemaking process, keeping detailed spreadsheets on batches, of temperature, hydrometer readings, tasting notes ... so that years later I can try to figure out what I did right or wrong ... so that I can experiment or repeat a success.

Sure, you can make wine "hands off the wheel," but you'll have no idea of where you are going or where you have been, provided you don't crash.
 

non-grapenut

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Never used a kit when making fruit wine...only used a hydrometer and did my initial check when the primary stopped visibly bubbling...sometimes this was 10 days, sometimes it was 4...trust your gut.
 

oversight

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Thanks Rawlus for your considered reply. That's the best explained and most rational explanation I have had so far. I will check the next kit as it goes and see how that compares. Cheers!!
 

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