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Wine is changing color in secondary (getting darker)

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D-Wine

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Hello!
I am making a tomato wine (from tomatoes, not from juice). I didn't follow a specific recipe, I looked at several recipes and improvised. Also, I didn't measure anything although I own a hydrometer (I know, I know...I'll be better next time).

So, I've racked the wine twice since moving it to secondary fermentation. Yesterday I was looking at photos of the wine from when I first moved it to secondary, and I was shocked by how dark the wine has become after just two months.

Does this look normal to you guys? Is it oxidization? Why is it so dark and how can I fix it?

Some info: My apartment is very cold. I used green and red tomatoes. There is a delicious smell coming from the wine. The wine isn't getting clearer (still opaque). Image attached.

wayn.jpg
 

cintipam

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Yes, I think you have some oxidation happening. It happens quickly in small jugs. I believe your wine should be transforming from the original brick red color to a pink tinged apple juice color. I've had lots of wines go thru that change. But it looks more brownish now. It is not ruined, but I would top it up quickly and remember to always keep topped up. It will look a lot better in a wineglass than in that jug, but it will get worse over time.

Maybe a chablis for topping up? An inexpensive, neutral tasting wine as you can find. I've heard green tomatoes make a chardonnay like wine with proper aging, but you mixed green and red, so all bets are off.

I would call it a quick drinker so it doesn't have too long to oxidize more, but at only a gallon I don't think I need to say it.

I have seem major color differences when moving from one gallon jug to another based on the hue of the glass. Your gallons looks the same, but thought I'd mention it just in case. Some of mine are clear, some green tinge, some blue tinge. It really changes the looks.

Pam in cinti
 

D-Wine

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Thank you for getting back to me! I was getting desperate.
So to be clear, you recommend that I remove the airlock to pour in a chablis and then put the airlock back in and allow it to ferment further. Correct? Or did you mean to stop fermentation (by throwing in a campden pill I guess) and then pour in a chablis, and then bottle it and call it a day?

I don't know how quick of a drinker this one will be. It still tastes pretty wild, and I'm told to let it age for a year. What are your recommendations?

Thanks again for all your help, Pam
 

BernardSmith

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Hi D-Wine and welcome.
If the reason for the discoloration is oxidation then the problem is the amount of headroom you have in the jug. That airlock is really not doing very much as (I think) air will be filling that space between the surface of the wine and the bottom of the bung unless the wine is still actively fermenting and generating gobs of CO2, then the pressure exerted by the CO2 would be enough to prevent air from getting inside your carboy. But once the fermentation has slowed or stopped and there is no more CO2 being produced then the space will be filled with air. If the tomato is very susceptible to oxidation then BINGO! there goes the color. Now, I am not familiar with tomato wine but it may be a little like hard cider: the apples oxidize as soon as they are cut open and the juice turns dark brown but as the cider ages the dark color drops out and the hard cider returns to a very pale yellow. Perhaps if you allow the wine to age a few months (contradicting cintipam) or at least allow a few bottles to age a few months, you will find that the color lightens...
 
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Stressbaby

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It could be oxidized, but it could also be that sediment has fallen out. Whereas in the first photo the light was reflected back out from the sediment, in the second pic there is nothing suspended in the wine to reflect the light, making it look darker.

Take a look at my elderberry rosé experiment in the November WotM club thread.
First pic here.
Second pic here. Much darker, but not oxidized.

If you haven't added a Campden tablet, you should do that now, in addition to topping it up. If you think it is oxidized, there are some things you can do like PVPP or non-fat powdered milk, if you think the wine is worth trying to save.
 
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cintipam

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Everybody has good suggestions that could help. I did not ask, but you should be adding 1 campden tab per 3 months to help prevent oxidation. It' won't fix what is there, but it won't get worse. Bernard is a smart thinker, and it could indeed help to age longer (stressbaby kind of said that too). Bottom line is keep up with the Kmeta (campden tabs), keep wine topped up, and in my opinion as soon as you find it drinkable have a small glass or two. If it tastes good to you, and causes you no gastro issues overnight I'd say the wine is safe to drink. If however it smells bad or develops a mold growing on the surface better take some pics and get back on WMT for more help. I doubt we could help fix it at that stage tho.

Pam in cinti
 

D-Wine

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Stressbaby,
That elderberry wine looks delicious.
How did you know it wasn't oxidization? Was this based on its taste?
May I ask for more information about the powdered milk? At what point do I put that in?
 

D-Wine

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Cintipam, BernardSmith, Stressbaby;
I can't thank you enough for your feedback.

OK, so to consolidate everything:
1) There is consensus that I need to throw in some campden and reduce the headroom.
2) How long I let the wine age will depend on how it tastes, but generally we seem to be in agreement that allowing it to age might help.

Question:
Wouldn't the campden stop fermentation? Won't it kill the yeast when I throw it in?
 

wineforfun

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Just to add to the already great advice, don't worry about the fermentation being stopped. If you are two months+ into this, it has all but stopped by now.
 

D-Wine

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Thanks Wineforfun.
I apologize for my basic questions, please bare with me:
If fermentation has all but stopped, should I just remove the wine from the carboy after I campden & top it up? Or should I add campden, top it up, and still leave it in the carboy for some time?
 

crwagner89

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I'm curious about your recipe. I made 2 tomato wines last year and they ended up looking like white grape wine. Crystal clear and a light yellowish/gold color. Basically the complete opposite of yours. Do you mind sharing the recipe?
 

Stressbaby

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A specific gravity would be helpful. It is not likely still fermenting, but knowing whether it is dry or not could be helpful, particularly prior to topping up.

Crush the campden tab in a small bit of wine or water (don't worry about color at this point, temporary color changes from addition of Kmeta are ok) and add it and go ahead and top up.

Here is a blog page from Keller explaining the powdered milk.
 

D-Wine

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Hey crwagner89;
The color you describe is what tomato wine should be, sounds like you were doing it right. I started with tomatoes that a friend grew, different stages of ripeness as you can see from the image attached. I also didn't have raisins or white grape juice, which I think is what I should have used, so I threw in red grape concentrate.

I think my final recipe looked like this:
4lbs tomatoes
2.5lbs granulated sugar
2 lemons (juice of)
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
champagne yeast
1 gallon water
campden tablet
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 can frozen grape concentrate (I suspect this is where the color came from. I also acknowledge that this ingredient was overkill, and I kind of regret adding it).

Note: I'll wait to see what the end result is and I'll let you know if there's any value in replicating it (probably not). what recipe did you use?

IMG_3965.jpg
 

crwagner89

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Ok, that makes total sense then. The red grape is definitely where the color comes from. Knowing that, I would guess that the change in color is mostly due to the sediment dropping out. Keep in mind yeast is pretty light in color (usually an off white) so when that dies off and falls out of the mixture, it's going to get much darker.

I did 2 different batches, one from red tomatoes and one from orange tomatoes. Mine were very similar to yours, minus the grape concentrate. Also I used acid blend instead of lemon juice. So far I like the orange tomato more than the red. It tastes like a pinot grigio with a tomato aftertaste. People are really surprised with how good it tastes. The red tomato is also good, but the tomato taste is much more potent. The orange tomatoes that I used were these little cherry sized tomatoes. They were super sweet and not very acidic. I'm thinking next year I'm going to grow a bunch of them and make a big batch. The 2 on the left are the tomato wines.

DSC_0036.jpg

I don't think the red grape concentrate was necessarily a bad idea, only time will tell. Let us know how it comes out!
 

DanielW

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So..........Is tomato wine really a thing? How does it taste? Would you continue to make it? I will have more tomatoes then I know what to do with in about a month.
 

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OK
all the above venter's are very smart and it will pay you to learn from them, but if you are looking for proof positive facts you will need to bottle two ofe each then send me the bottles so that I might give you some educated advice,
PS..
don't listen to them if they say I am only after your wines, I want the bottles as well. as president Nixon once said TRUST ME AND LET ME MAKE ONE THINK CLEAR TO YOU
BLAH, BLLH BLALH, YATA, YATA, YATA, THANK YOU MY FELLOW PATIORTS ,,,
::DAWG::








Hello!
I am making a tomato wine (from tomatoes, not from juice). I didn't follow a specific recipe, I looked at several recipes and improvised. Also, I didn't measure anything although I own a hydrometer (I know, I know...I'll be better next time).

So, I've racked the wine twice since moving it to secondary fermentation. Yesterday I was looking at photos of the wine from when I first moved it to secondary, and I was shocked by how dark the wine has become after just two months.

Does this look normal to you guys? Is it oxidization? Why is it so dark and how can I fix it?

Some info: My apartment is very cold. I used green and red tomatoes. There is a delicious smell coming from the wine. The wine isn't getting clearer (still opaque). Image attached.
 
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