Lessons learned in home wine making.


What have you learned in your wine/mead making? Here are a few things
I've learned so far.
- Don't let the must set on the gross lees too long. H2S will result,
which is a devil to deal with. Fine lees aren't much of a problem.
- If you're aiming for a sweet wine or mead without the need to
backsweeten, make sure to chose a yeast with a low alcohol tolerance.
- Some yeasts are prone to H2S production, especially so if they are
unhappy. Montrachet is one example. I avoid these yeasts AND make sure
to add nutrients in any case.
What are your "lessons learned"?
Greg
Reply to
greg
Again, all of that... In the other post I told you about the experiment with hot bottling, that should be interesting. If I can do this with cheap surgical tubing what a great alternative it would be to using sorbates.
My meads always need fining, usually 2 to 3 times the amount of bentonite as a typical white.
Sorbate is evil. It never seems to work out well for me. I don't want to back sweeten because I don't make the sweets for myself, others like them. I will come up with an alternative on way or another that I can afford, I don't want to build a sterile filter for 10 gallons a year.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio
With respect to stabilization, especially of meads, I've found that "time" is the best solution. Once a mead or wine has been bulk aging for months with no signs of life, you can safely bottle without fear of exploding bottles or making a dry sparkling wine. Still though, you've piqued my interest with your hot bottling approach and I'm anxious to hear how it works out for you.
Greg
Reply to
greg
- I didn't really need to buy a pressurized filter - I didn't need to buy the #9 corks when I only have a hand corker. the #8s would have gone in better and I'm not going to age my wine that long anyway - the 30 bottle (6 gallon) kit wines make, at best, 27 bottles of wine
Reply to
JB
Oh yeah, I forgot one. If you get four winemakers together you get five opinions on how to ferment wine.
Reply to
JB
And the funny thing is they are all probably right. Wine makes itself in spite of what we do to it. :)
Never overfill a carboy with must from fruit of any kind. Murphy's Law states that "If there is one particle of solid material in the carboy it will be light enough to balance on the foam and large enough to plug the opening of the airlock. The result is similar to a volcanic eruption, if it's really bad wine it would make a great You Tube video...
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio
[snipped]
Interesting. I love Montrachet for its predictable behavior and clean fermentation profile. And I've never had H2S in any batch, much less one where I used Montrachet.
I do use yeast nutrient where called for, but more often for meads than wines where the grapes should be providing the nutrient necessary.
Cheers, Ken
Reply to
mail box
I've learned that if I'm gonna share my wine, I need to make it with less alcohol. Just for myself, I like to get my money's worth. :-)
Robert
Reply to
Robert Lewis
Joe,
Have you tried sodium benzoate? I gave up on sorbate too, as I didn't like the taste that was always detectable at necessary levels. The benzoate is as close to tasteless at 250 ppm as makes no nevermind. I've used it for a couple of years now on back sweetened whites with no problems and rave reviews.
Mike McGeough
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Reply to
Mike McGeough
Oh wow, my ears pricked up like guard dogs when you said that!
Is sodium benzoate 'health risk free' and easy to get hold of? I never saw this in my Wine makers store here in the UK but that sounds like an awesome option. I don't know why but I presumed that was a chemical you'd find it hard to find for domestic use.
Jim
Reply to
jim
No it is not risk free, it has been linked to problems in the UK and the US with carbonated drinks, under certain conditions it can result in the production of Benzine (highly carcinogenic),it reacts with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) over time, so anything that is kept for any length of time or at high temperature is lightly to pose a risk. I personally would not use it at all. Ben.
NB see:
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for some more info.
Reply to
Ben
Ahhh yes that rings some bells actually. Perhaps that is why I'd assumed it was only available to industry here in the UK. I believe Ribena started using it too which makes the stuff unusable for home brewers, shame.
Luckily I prefer my wines dry or strong so I don't need to use sorbate by and large, but perhaps it is still the best option available to me if I need a stabiliser. Thanks for the heads up Ben, much appreciated.
Jim
Reply to
jim
Jim, Have you considered using Actistab to stabilize your sweet wines? More info here
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Reply to
Lum
Hi Lum,
no I hadn't, thanks for the tip-off. I googled sites in the UK mentioning Actistab though. Guess how many I found. It starts witha 0 and ends with a 0. Hmm. If I make some sweet normal alcohol wines I might have to import some :)
Thanks again for the information.
Jim
Reply to
jim
Hi Lum
1. Their spec sheet gives no more info than their advertizing hype. 2. The ad hype contradicts itself as to whether it is or is not effected by low pH. 3. What_is_clear is that this product can only be used to "shock" a wine. It then rapidly breaks down leaving any unbottled wine at risk of REinfection. 4. It says that Scotlabs is the sole distributor in the US, but I did a search of that site and found no mention of it.
Think I would want to know a lot more about this one before I tried it. HTH
Frederick
Reply to
frederick ploegman
Well, it's supposed to be one of the most popular yeast strains, but I tried it with two different batches and had H2S both times. I always add yeast nutrient per the recipe. My kitchen smelled like rotten eggs briefly. I racked early and I guess it blew off. The resulting wines were ok.
Afterwards I read several descriptions of Montrachet which indicated that H2S could be a problem. Maybe I'm in the minority.
Greg
Reply to
greg
Frederick, I have used Actistab for several years and find it does the job. It does breakdown in a few weeks so it must be used with care. Lum
Reply to
Lum
[thread snipped]
Lum,
Have you used Actistab in your own home wine making?
I read the link you provided, and was a bit concerned at seeing the following:
"Natamycin breaks down in juice and wine over a period of time. At 20°C it takes 10 days for half of Actistab ® added to wine to break down."
For home wine makers who typically do not filter, any yeast which the Natamycin did not kill before the half life of Natamycin reduced it to levels which were ineffective could possibly restart fermentation. The product page does not provide any guidance on how fast acting the Natamycin might be.
I'd be interested to hear from any wine makers who have used this product.
Cheers, Ken
Reply to
mail box
I would assume as a layman that added it in the correct quantities it would neutralise the yeast before breaking down. It sounds all the better for doing this to me, providing that the bottle is well sealed I would have thought that the contents would remain stable after this point.
Jim
Reply to
jim

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