Bottling Time?

Hello Everyone,

I’m still in the process of going through all of the paces of making my first wine kit, and had a couple of questions about bottling. I’ll be degassing my Coastal White today, after which time the instructions say to let it sit for another two weeks to clear and then bottle. I am planning on letting this wine age for 6 months before drinking, and was wondering:

  1. Would the wine be better served by aging in bulk vs. in bottles?

  2. If I do bulk age, is there a minimum amount of time that the wine needs to sit in the bottle before drinking? I know that it doesn’t need to carbonate, but didn’t know if some other factors unknown to me came into play when bottling.

  3. Lastly, what type of wine would be appropriate to top up with when I degas?

Our host’s description is as follows:
A full-flavored white wine with fresh ripe peaches and apricots on the palate.
Sweetness: Dry | Body: Medium | Oak Intensity: None

It’s a white wine? Aren’t those ready to drink once bottled?

Most of your questions might have different answers for different wines.

  1. There is some benefit for bulk aging wine, but kits are designed for bottle aging - mainly to reduce the chance of oxidation. For Coastal White - just bottle it when ready, will not get much out of long aging anyway.

  2. If you bulk age, you can drink it out of the carboy if you want - does not need to be in a bottle for any reason other than to protect it from oxidation.

  3. I would not bother topping up this wine at all, since I would not bother aging it for any significant time before bottling. I would usually give a wine like this a few extra weeks and maybe one extra racking more than the istructions suggest, simply to remove any extra sediment. Not worth topping up in that case.

This one pretty much would be. Give it a month or so to fill in the wholes, then go ahead and drink it.

As for higher quality whites, some do demand a little more time to round out, and some really age well and don’t show their full flavor profile for 6-8 months. All depends on the style.

  1. Bulk aging a white is optional, except you might want an extra racking to get rid of sediment. This is only for appearance - assuming you don’t drink the sediment.

  2. Since it’s your first wine you might try a bottle every month. This will show you how the wine ages so you’ll know for future kits. If it’s bad, don’t seriously judge it until around 6 months, or maybe even a year.

  3. I would top up after degassing since you’ll still need some time in the carboy to let the finings go to work and settle out. Similar dry unoaked whites might be pinot gris/grigio, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay. Any dry white will be fine. Doesn’t have to be exact.

Thanks to all of you!