After Receiving Your Juice
The wine juice will come inoculated with pure cultured yeasts, balanced and ready to ferment. The strains have been identified and selected by the winery for a perfect match. Once the wine has reached a constant temperature of 76°F, it is time to complete your testing.
The original gravity of juice prior to yeast inoculation is between 1.20 and 1.25. Some fermentation may have occurred during transport and OG may be lower than shown.
Since your wine will come inoculated with yeast, it is important NOT to add potassium metabisulfite at this stage.
Fermenting Juice for Wine
You may ferment in the pail that the juice arrives in, but you may also siphon juice into a clean carboy. Since the Fresh Wine Juice you ordered from Adventures in Homebrewing will come inoculated with pure cultured yeasts, balanced and ready to ferment, there should be very little work before you attach the airlock. The yeast strains have been identified and selected by the winery for a perfect match. Once the juice is transferred into a clean carboy, place an air lock with a rubber bung into the top of your carboy. Fill the airlock to the line on the side with water. Fermentation should commence soon, as long as the temperature of the must has reached 70°F.
You can check the specific gravity or brix reading up to twice a day, and record it. After recording your specific gravity or brix, stir juice vigorously for 2 minutes. This is an important step because it will remove gas from your juice while it is protected from air by the carbon dioxide being produced during fermentation.
When your hydrometer shows a reading of 2 brix or specific gravity of 1.01, you will notice that the bubbling or fizzing has slowed down. Be certain to stir very well at this point. Be certain that your siphon and all tubing have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, then siphon the juice into the secondary vessel, filling from the bottom. Avoid splashing the juice into the vessel. Fill your carboy or vessel to within one half inch of your cap or bung.
Place an air lock with a rubber bung into the top of your carboy. Fill the airlock to the line on the side with water.
After about three weeks, take a specific gravity or brix reading and record it. By now, your primary fermentation should be completed. Your brix reading will be at less than zero or your specific gravity reading would be around .990.
Racking Your Fermented Wine
At this time you will rack the juice into a clean and sanitized carboy. Do not disturb the sediment at the bottom of the vessel as removing it is the purpose of racking. Racking is the first step of the clarifying process. The racking process is simply siphoning the wine off the sediment into a clean carboy or fermentation vessel. Use care not to overexpose the wine to splashing during this racking process. Splashing can be contained to a minimum by ensuring any and all tubing used is placed in the very bottom of the receiving carboy so as to allow the wine to fill from the bottom up. This will limit the amount of oxygen that you will take up during transfer.
After each racking, some juice will remain in your pail. You may use a gallon jug or several wine bottles to store this juice, but be sure to use an airlock as this juice may still fermenting. You may need this juice when you rack again to top off the carboy. It is also normal for some sediment to remain in the bucket. You can dump this sediment out. In 5 to 6 more weeks, it is time to add stabilizers and clarifiers.
Remove your airlock from your fermenter and add directly to the wine:
- Potassium Metabisulphite at the rate of ¼ tsp. for 6 gallons.
- Potassium Sorbate at the rate of 3 tsp. per 6 gallons.
- Chitosan at the rate of 150 ML per 6 gallons.
Once all the additives have been added, rack your wine into a clean and sanitized carboy. If you need to “top off” the fermentor, use the wine saved after the last fermentation. Then place the air lock back into the top and store for a further 2 to 3 weeks.
Continue to Store Your Wine
White Wines should be stored at 50-55°F.
Red Wines should be stored at 55-60°F.
Bottling Your Wine
Once 2 to 3 weeks is complete in the third fermentation, follow normal bottling procedures.