Stuck twice now

I’m on my second (small) batch, and both times I haven’t been able to get past step 2 (secondary). I tossed the first batch after a month of being stuck at close to 9 brix. I was pretty sure that it stalled out one night when the temperature in primary dropped below 70.

The second batch is now stuck at 8 brix, and I’ve let it sit two weeks beyond what the instructions recommend. Just to detail my steps…I reconstituted the yeast and confirmed activity before pitching, temperature stayed above 72 (and never over 78) during primary and secondary, and I aerated and added yeast energizer while racking to secondary. I’m considering pushing forward this time because the flavor is fine (not too sweet), but I may go buy more wine yeast and make a starter.

My question is whether or not the problem lies with the quality of the yeast provided in the Northern Brewer small batch kits. I notice that fermentation stall is a frequently raised topic in this forum. Should I get yeast somewhere else? Any advice on my current batch beyond making a starter?

Because you are reporting Brix, I’m guessing you are using a refractometer instead of a hydrometer to measure the progress of the wine, yes?

If so, the problem is not with the wine, but with the measurement method. If you use a refractometer when there is alcohol present, you need to apply a correction to the reading. There are a bunch of on-line calculators that will do that for you. Just enter in the starting Brix and the current Brix reading, and it will give you an accurate specific gravity.

depending on your starting gravity 8 brix fg by the refractometer should be about right.

Thanks. I took a gravity reading to double check, and the wine was at .0994. Made it to step 3!