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Wild Grapes - First time kit questions!

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jnag

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Hey everyone!
I have found it so helpful to read through many of these forum posts as I just started my first kit almost four weeks ago - it was a Wild Grapes Premium CA Cabernet, four week kit. I'm so nervous about ruining the whole batch so thought I'd post a few questions here. Here's our process first:
On 8/1 we started primary fermentation following the directions and the SG reading was at 1.092 (kit recommended starting between 1.070 and 1.097) so we were ok there.
8/15 I went to rack it into a carboy and the SG reading was exactly 1.000, and we transferred it anyways.
Our four week mark will be this week, and I want to make sure I'm sitting ok before doing anything else.

Was it ok to rack to the carboy on day 14 with the SG reading at 1.000?
When we transferred it after that, a bit of sediment from the bottom of the primary fermenter got through and is now sitting at the bottom of the carboy. Do I have to bottle at 30 days this week? Or should I rack back off the remaining sediment into the bucket I used for primary fermentation and let it sit in there for a bit away from any sediment before bottling it?

Any tips will be super helpful - Thanks a ton!
 

sour_grapes

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Yes, racking to a carboy at 1.000 was the correct thing to do.

The fact that you transferred some sediment is just fine, too. You do NOT have to bottle now; most of us let the wine sit in secondary for months to over a year.

You should probably:
-Rack to your bucket, leaving your sediment behind. (I am assuming you don't have a second carboy.)
-Clean out the carboy, then rack back to the carboy.
-Top up the level of the wine in the carboy into its neck using a similar wine.
-Add some k-meta (potassium metabisulfite). 1/4 teaspoon is a good start.
-Age under airlock for months.
-Add 1/4 tsp k-meta every 3 months.
-If you get more sediment, you can repeat the above racking process.
 

jnag

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Thanks for your help and reassurance that I'm on the right track! Can I degas again when I put it back into the carboy if I do the "poof test" and find that there's still a bit left? And what is the purpose of the k-meta? I think the kit I have says it's optimal at two months aged, so I'm thinking once it's back in the carboy to age it for two months before bottling - would I even need the additional k-meta then?
 

sour_grapes

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Yes, you can degas it. What method are you using? If mechanically, (i.e., whipping it), it may be better to degas in the bucket rather than carboy, to avoid a "wine volcano."

K-meta serves two purposes. It scavenges oxygen, to keep your wine from oxidizing. And it prevents the growth of harmful microbes.

If it were my wine, I would certainly add another dose before bottling.
 

jnag

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Yes I do have a whip degassing tool that I attach to a drill - so it sounds like it would be best for me to do that in the bucket before transferring it back to the carboy.

Thanks for explaining, that makes total sense. Just for clarification, you would add 1/4 teaspoon once it's back in the carboy and stir it in? Or stir it in right before I'm ready to bottle in a couple months?

I so appreciate all of your help! You're definitely easing the anxiety I had with ruining an entire batch.
 

sour_grapes

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I just checked the instructions on the Wild Grapes kits. They direct you to add a packet of k-meta during degassing. Did you do this?

If so, you don't need to add more now. However, add 1/4 tsp in a couple of months before bottling.

If not, you should add some now, and again in two months before bottling.
 

jnag

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Yes I did add the k-meta during degassing already. I will plan to stir in a 1/4 tsp in a couple months right before I bottle it.

Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it a ton. Fingers crossed it turns out!
 

sugar

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Just a caution.
Be careful when degassing with a mechanical devise.
You can cause a vortec sucking O2 into the wine getting O2 poisoning.
I speak from experience.
Had to make a Port wine out of a batch.
Use it... but don't want vortec sucking.
 

jnag

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Can you say more about the risk of vortec sucking? I'm super new to this so not sure what that means. Would it be less risky to just use the large spoon that came with my kit once it's back in the carboy?
 

sugar

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No, you can use it, just be cautious about sticking it one place for long enough to create a vortex...no vortex no worries.
Just move it about.. you should get a nice foam cover that dissipates... continue until the gas is out.. about 20 minutes for mine.
My drill is reversible so I work forward then reverse it...it helps to prevent the vortex effect.
Only made the mistake once.
Many batches sincr with excellent results.
This'll help...NO ONE HAS EVER MADE MUCH WINE WITHOUT A TEACHING MISTAKE.
Just enjoy the trip.
 

sugar

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Also,
You chose an excellent kit.. I made it myself.started in February... just bottled it August 12.. have consumed some and given some with outstanding results and compliments.
 

Bts

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On degassing, if you just put a stirrer straight down in the middle of the bucket and give the drill a good squeeze, it's awfully easy to make a vortex so deep you can nearly see the bottom of the bucket. That's bad because it's sucking oxygen into your wine. Personally, I use a $3 paint stirrer, but I run the drill in reverse so it pushes the wine up which counters the vortex to some extent. I also tilt the drill as much as possible, and, if the bucket is big enough, I'll even prop up one side of the bucket a bit to try to get the cross section of the vortex as far as possible out of round as possible. Finally, and probably most effectively, swinging the stirrer back and forth several inches helps by not giving the vortex a fixed center to develop on and keeping the vortex center out of the center of the bucket. With all that I can safely manage around 80% of full throttle on a corded drill before I start to see any vortex starting. Even with the drill it takes an awful lot of agitation before the foaming mostly dies down on a kit that just finished fermenting weeks ago, so I can't imagine successfully degassing by hand with a spoon.
 

sugar

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It's not scary... amen to Bts notes.
And the wand you have is designed to not easily make a Vortex.
I just cautioned you..so you would not make the Teaching mistake, I did.
Just keep it moving and your good.
 

jnag

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All went well transferring it last night, (as far as I can tell at this point) thanks to all of your tips! Time to bulk age for a while and see how it turns out :) Thanks a ton! And glad to hear it's a decent kit!!
 

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