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Wine that has a foul smell

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First time poster, here - but, have been making homemade wine for about 5 years, now.
The only ingredients that I use are : fruit juice (mainly Muscadine grape juice from my fruit), yeast, sugar, pectic enzyme, and of course Campden tablets to sanitize everything with.
My success is 50/50, but one problem that keeps coming up is a finished wine that smells terrible...... Is it from spoilage, perhaps?
 

Ajmassa

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Lotsa info needed here.
1.Can u describe the smell?
2.When do you 1st notice it? After bottled?
3.Aside from ingredients what’s your process-like what kinda vessels and timeline till bottling?
4. Is your metabisulphite (Camden) just for sanitizing or are you also using to protect the wine ? (1 crushed tab/gal [1/4tsp /6gal of the granulated k-meta] every 3 months)
 
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Thanks for your reply. I can't explain the smell. But, the first time that I encountered such a smell was when I attempted watermelon wine for the first time. I notice it before bottling.
I typically let it work for about 8 weeks, then try it once the airlock shows signs that fermentation has ceased
 

dralarms

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Yea, too long on the lees.
 

dralarms

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Yea, too long on the lees.
 

Ajmassa

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Fermentation is likely complete after just a couple weeks. The airlock activity is just all the CO2 formed from the ferment releasing.
Typically us basement dwellers will rack the wine off of all the yeast gunk and sediment at the bottom of the fermenter. And into a glass vessel. More crud falls out. Another racking off.
Protecting with the Camden sulphites at proper ratios. Racking every 3 months if needed. Bottling sometime after 6-12 or even 24 months.
Your wine is still an infant when your tasting. Time would work wonders
 

dralarms

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Fermentation is likely complete after just a couple weeks. The airlock activity is just all the CO2 formed from the ferment releasing.
Typically us basement dwellers will rack the wine off of all the yeast gunk and sediment at the bottom of the fermenter. And into a glass vessel. More crud falls out. Another racking off.
Protecting with the Camden sulphites at proper ratios. Racking every 3 months if needed. Bottling sometime after 6-12 or even 24 months.
Your wine is still an infant when your tasting. Time would work wonders

Now that's true too. Especially muscadine, it takes time to age.
 

pillswoj

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I notice you don't list yeast nutrient - is the smell like "rotten eggs" if so it is H2S from the yeast being under nourished.
 

Ajmassa

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Waiting too long to get it off the yeast sediment after fermentation (1-2 weeks) and not long enough after in glass. As many months as you can stand
 

Ajmassa

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Wait a minute. Are you crushing the grapes and fermenting with all the grape skins? And then leaving everything in that same vessel for 8 weeks- grape skins, yeast sediment and all?
Is that airlock you mentioned on a bucket lid or in carboy bung?
 

Stressbaby

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@Engineeredgarden

The thread @pillswoj linked above is good but not complete. If the mercaptans oxidize to dimethyl disulfide, copper will have no effect initially. You have to use ascorbic acid to reduce the dimethyl disulfide back to mercaptan in order for copper to work. Link.

Back to prevention...
1. Avoid the use of sulfur on your grapes as harvest approaches.
2. Careful choice of yeast. Montrachet is known for causing this, and there are now yeasts engineered to produce no H2S.
3. Nutrient additions. There are several schedules, from all at once at the outset to step feeding, the one thing they all have in common is that they are all used relatively early in the ferment and to be avoided late.
4. Keep the wine aerated, being careful to avoid oxidizing the wine
5. Get the wine off the gross lees. Extended maceration is sort of a special case, but in general for reds at or near end of fermentation the wine is pressed off of the seeds/skins. Then most of us will rack again in 2-7 days to get it off the gross lees to help avoid the H2S.

Another link.
 
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Thanks everyone for the help. I now know to rack the wine after about 2 weeks so that the dead yeast can be left behind.
@Stressbaby - thanks for the links and info. I'll get some new yeast...
 

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