Im new to winemaking and making my very first batch. I used two 49oz
cans of oregon blueberry puree, 10lbs of sugar, warm water, pectic
enzyme, acid blend, grape tannin, super yeast, and wine yeast. I
Now, the place I bought the stuff said to put the airlock on the
primary fermenter as soon as I am done mixing it up. Jack Keller.net
says to let it sit for 48-72 hours to assist the yeast in rapid
reproduction. Which is correct? Should I go pull the airlock out and
leave the airlock hole open to allow oxygen to get in the primary
Any other advice? In 5-7 days I'm going to syphon it into my 5 gal
Opinion is pretty well split down the middle on this. People also say that
there is enough oxygen in the must ( in the water and added by the mixing
and splashing ) to provide the yeast with a good reproductive bath!
In my earlier days I used to cover my fermenting bin with a muslin cloth (
to keep out bugs etc) but these days all my wines be it kits or country
wines go into a fermenting bucket which has a tight fitting ( and sealed)
lid with a fermentation lock. If there is a need for more oxygen with
country wines then they get it when I punch the cap down daily. But all my
wines made from juices of various kinds are under a fermentation lock from
And it works -- so there must be enough oxygen in the must ( pun intended!).
Not yet had a failure to ferment out! I also like the idea that my must is
well protected by a CO2 blanket which itself is protected by a secure
fermentation lock right from the start.
Now that hasn't really helped has it! ;-}
No you have no cap to punch down!
That refers to when you are making wine out of fruits and during the first
week of fermentation the CO2 gas escaping from the must forces all the fruit
to float to the top and creates a "cap" -- i.e. made out of all the fruit.
It is necessary to push this cap down back into the must and break it up
every day so that all the goodies are extracted by the fermentation process!
You are making wine out of just juices and there will be no "cap" to
The books I have read on the subject are not unanimous, but most
recommend that the primary fermenter should allow oxygen in to get
the production of yeast going well; after a large population of
yeast forms (two or three days), then cut off air supply. When
atmospheric oxygen is available, the sugars and oxygen in the must
will be used to create more yeast; when the atmospheric oxygen is
cut off, the sugar and oxygen in the must will go into alcohol and
carbon dioxide production.
If you have five gallons of must in a seven or eight gallon
wide-mouth container, a loosely fitting lid on the container will
keep out dust and bugs. When left undisturned, the space between
the surface of the must and the lid will be filled with carbon
dioxide and will cut off atmospheric oxygen fairly well (that's
how the ancient peoples used to ferment juice). Once the furious
initial bubbling seems to be decreasing, then give a good stir and
put an air lock on it.
But then, I have never made any wine, so my suggestions are purely
> Any other advice? In 5-7 days I'm going to syphon it into my 5 gal
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You come to the expert armatures and you get no consensus. For my part, I
vote with Jack. The first few days of fermentation are probably going to be
very vigorous and you need a lot of head space so the method I was taught is
to keep it in a food safe bucket about twice the volume of the must. This
allows air to get to the must AND it prevents a major mess. Then when
fermentation slows down and it is important to keep air away from the must I
rack to a secondary with a small head space and use an airlock.
I recommend that you find an easy to follow, easy to read, and well accepted
book that outlines the basics of winemaking. It will probably have the
basics on a few pages. Follow these procedures at least for your first few
batches. Another good way to start is to make a few kit batches. They give
very specific instructions and will get you following some good basic rules.
Incidentally, all kits I have seen follow the open air method.
Not the ones I use! Including Winexpert.
But Ray is just as sensible as am I ( well most of the time). What it does
show is that wine, during its
But this really is an area where there is a deal of disagreement between all
sorts of winemakers -- even commercial winemakers do "closed" fermentations.
All I can say is that I have never have a failed fermentation -- not ever. I
have used both methods ( and I never had an "infection" when I just covered
with muslin for the first week.)
But if you are use just Juice I would prefer the closed method
So who is right. In the end the process of making wine is amazingly
resilient anyway. As I have said, in a roundabout way, I haven't had a
failure in either way -- so why take the risk
In the end I strongly suggest that you follow the instructions implicitly in
the wine kit instructions -- they are generally foolproof from old and bold
wine makers -- and they work!
Thank You Trevor (I think?)
THere are differences of oppinion here, but, as you say, wine making is an
amazingly forgiving hoby. But as both Trevor and I have suggested, pick a
reputable set of instructions, as in a kit instructions or a good book, and
follow them to get started. There are many ways to make wine. But you
should be carefull about mixing methods untill you know what you are doing.
I agree with what's been said previously, but I would just add a note of
caution about some juices out there. Just watch to make sure your
fermentation starts within the first 24 hours. If it does, then don't worry
about it. I've noticed with some frozen concentrate juices that they are
adding something to the juice, which slows or prevents fermentation in a
closed container (with a bung & airlock) but works better in an open
container (covered in plastic, which you can stir and allow access to
oxygen) & yeast energizer. Now, I don't use regular Welch's juice or other
juices, so I don't know if the company has been adding stuff to those juices
which would slow or prevent fermentation. Good-luck.
If there are bubbles being pushed through the airlock, that means your
fermentation is going. So I wouldn't open it up, until the bubbling in the
airlock slows way down and you're ready to rack to a secondary container
with very little head space. Do you have a hydrometer? Do you know what your
starting SG is? If your airlock isn't bubbling within the first 24 hours, I
would pop it open to see what's going on. If it is foaming a little bit then
your fermentation may be just slow. If nothing is happening, then get back
to us. I do stir my wine made from frozen juice concentrates twice a day,
that's why I don't use an bung & airlock on my primary ferments, but that's
my preference. Hope this makes sense.
As long as it is early in the primary fermentation, and you have vigorous
bubbling, there is no harm in "popping the lid" as often as you want,
because carbon dioxide is providing a protective layer over your wine (just
dont take too deep a sniff!). When the bubbling becomes less vigorous,
there is less carbon dioxide to protect the wine, so you should do fewer
inspections. When the bubbling begins to calm down, you should use your
hydrometer to take a specific gravity reading. When it is down to 1.005 SG
(or about 1 degree Brix) you should rack it to your secondary fermentor,
fill to the top and put on an airlock.
Charlotte, North Carolina
I don't have my notes here, but last month we were given a seminar by
Clayton Cone, the yeast guru at Lalvin, and from what I remember he
recommended 2 days or so of open air contact for best fermentation
results. This doesn't mean closed ferment wouldn't work, just that free
air contact is safer, especially for tricky musts.
I think Ray said the most important thing, and that is to make sure you
have plenty of space in your carboy to accomodate the fermentaion. It
also depends on the yeast you used. Some foam A LOT and you need a lot
of head space, some don't foam at all and you can get away with less
but I wouldn't worry too much about air getting to your ferment if it
is in a carboy. There will be so much CO2 in the carboy while
fermentation is going on, oxygen will not be able to get near the top
of the must. I've never had any problems fermenting in "open"
containers. Just monitor the fermentation and decrase the headspace as
the fermentation slows down.
When the fermentation is really going I like to stick my head really
close to the top of the must and inhale until I almost pass out.
Firstly, I love the smell of fermentation and I suggest you experience
it also and secondly, if you almost pass out that meansa there is
plenty of CO2 protecting the wine so you don't have to worry. Actually,
I use this test everyday and decide to rack to secondary based on my
smell tests. I know most won't recommend that technique , but it works
for me. Never had a wine oxidize yet.
Fruit Wine Recipes using Real Fruit Puree There are many ways to make
wine with the purees. It comes down to personal preference. Oregon
Fruit Products one gallon recipe (see chart) calls for one can of
puree with enough sugar to bring the original gravity to 1.090 or
higher. This produces a wine with an alcohol level of 12% by volume
and will remain stable for a long time
To make a fiuit wine comparable to using a 96 oz. can of wine base,
use two cans of Oregon Fruit Products Puree per five gallons and
enough sugar to bring the gravity to 1.090 or higher. Add natural
fruit flavoring enhancers to bring out flavor and give more aroma.
Add sugar gradually both initially and for sweetening. Add 1/2 the
initial sugar and take a gravity reading or taste if you are
sweetening a finished wine before adding the rest. This will insure
that your wine doesn't come out too strong. Fermentation will stop
automatically, but wine must be stabilized with potassium sorbate if
sugar is added after fermentation for sweetening. This will prevent
Use an open plastic bucket for a fermenter. For one gallon batches it
is best to use a two gallon bucket and for five gallon batches, use a
seven gallon bucket. Sterilize your fermenter and any equipment that
will come into contact with the must. Dissolve the sugar and additives
in a quart of warm water. Add the fruit puree and enough water to
equal one gallon total volume. Add the other ingredients except the
yeast. Stir well. Take a gravity reading. The must should be between
1.090 and 1.100. If it is lower, add enough sugar to bring the gravity
up. Approximately 4 oz. of sugar will raise the gravity 10 points in
one gallon of water. Make up a yeast starter using Red Star Cote Des
Blancs or Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast and add to the must. If your bucket
does not include a lid, cover the fermenter with cheese cloth or a
fine nylon mesh straining bag. This allows the must to breathe. Stir
must every day for 5 to 7 days (until the gravity is about 1.030).
Rack into a sterilized one gallon jug or three gallon glass carboy
(depending on volume made). Attach an airlock and ferment for 2 to 4
weeks or until fermentation is complete. The gravity reading should be
1.000 or lower. Rack wine off the sediment into another sterilized
gallon jug or glass carboy. Add a fining agent according to directions
and let set for 4 weeks. The wine can be bottled when it is clear and
For a sweeter wine, dissolve 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar in 1/4 cup warm
water. Add 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate to the wine and then add the
sugar mixture to wine.
That's a low foamer. You could get away with less head space. If your
using a carboy , I would think that if the carboy was filled to the
shoulders , you'd have plenty of room. BTW, your wine will most likely
be dry as a bone when done.