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Making wine for the first time

That’s why I thought you would want to check it out. By no means am I saying to follow their schedule. I don’t think it would matter much if say you waited 3 weeks before stabilizing rather than exactly 10 days, so long as it gets done.

This is the schedule I’m planning to follow. The only difference is I’m using buckets and a keg . It seems that the ageing is for gas off instead of all thst storing and shaking in the kit instructions, thst would make me nervous

Sorry for the delayed response, been pretty busy lately.

Wine should be racked before it is done; it is not like beer in this regards. About 3/4 the way to final gravity is ideal. The racking helps to drive some CO2 out of suspension, and adds just a bit of O2 which will help the yeast reproduce a bit more and replace the cells that are by that time pretty exhausted by the high levels of sugar metabolized. At least, that is the idea for white wines and red wines made from juice.

For red wines where the skins are present, it is traditional to wait as long as you can before pressing, so as to maximize extraction from the skins, but not so long that there isn’t enough sugar left for the yeast to be able to consume the O2 introduced by the press operation. A gravity reading of about 1.010 would be about the right time to press.

Excellent. Was wondering what happened to you. Thanks for the explanation. I will do my first racking tonight.

brew_cat, wine is deceptive: heck, if you simply stuff some grapes into a jar they’ll split, ferment and you’ll have wine.

Only it won’t be the best wine you could make. Winemaking can be more complex than beer making, because the raw materials vary so much from harvest to harvest. You can go deep, measuring pH, TA, FAN, do a chromatograph for acid levels, make choices about pre-fermentation adjustment, alter the wine substantially by yeast choice, and that only gets it fermenting. After that you can invoke post-fermentation elevage for everything from oak to malolactic to micro-ox.

But the back-of-the-napkin basics for a pail of juice are

  • Sanitation (if you make beer, you’re ridiculously overqualified in this area)
  • Good strain of yeast
  • Appropriate temperature (not nearly as critical as it is for beer, especially if you’re using pressed juice)
  • Racking after 70-89% of fermentation is complete
  • Secondary carboy with bung and airlock
  • Another racking to a clean carboy a few days after the completion of fermentation
  • Sulfite addition at that racking and topping up
  • A few months ageing
  • Fining, adjusting sulfite
  • Racking to your keg (I do this all the time)
  • Enjoyment

You can check out this article by my friends Bob and Byron for a deeper background.


Wow, wine in a keg! My wife will like to hear this! Only use CO2 when serving, and bleed off so it doesn’t become sparkling? Sneezles61

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@tim_vandergrift can you expand on your kegging process

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I told her and she wants a keg reserved for her now… I may have to git some more after I try this…. Tim, where are you? Sneezles61

I imagine he kegs it just like beer and then pushes using nitrogen so it doesn’t carbonate. Of course you could have sparkling wine.

Have a look here: Kegging Your Wine -


Thank you Tim. Sneezles61

Great article @tim_vandergrift that’s something I may be interested in doing at some point. One question is can I age the wine in the keg if I use an air lock. I have plenty of kegs but no carboys. I can get one or two just wanted to try and make some wine with what I had before getting more stuff. You see I haven’t caught the wine making bug yet. I want to see if this first batch comes out well.

You shouldn’t really need the airlock once it’s done fermenting.

You can certainly store wine in a keg–once they’re sealed they have an OTR oxygen transfer rate) that’s 800 times less than a wine bottle and way less than a carboy–airlocks not needed.

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