Winemaking (rec.crafts.winemaking) Discussion of the process, recipes, tips, techniques and general exchange of lore on the process, methods and history of wine making. Includes traditional grape wines, sparkling wines & champagnes.

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Old 31-12-2006, 05:34 AM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default newbie questions, plum wine, just read a book

ok, i got a copy of Berry's "First Steps in Winemaking" and read it all
in one sitting, so i probably missed a few things so i want to ask a
few questions before i start diggin into getting stuff for my plum
wine(search for tater in the other threads)

what is must? is it the crushed fruit or is it the strained juices from
the fruit.

how do i know the 5 gallon bucket i have would be foodsafe for primary
fermenting? I havent hunted for this yet and think i can get a fruit
filling bucket which should work, but if not will a pickle work or
affect flavor? what about buckets that i dont have history of? joint
compound? hydraulic fluid?

campden tablets stop fermenting, right? so i could be really sadistic
and stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, stop, start the
frementation process as much as i wanted(in theory).

one could make wine without fruit completely, right? well can one make
wine without added sugar? I am not interested in alcohol content, so if
the added sugar is only to make the alcohol, i could cut it down (i
prefer sweet wines) and the yeast ammount.

the author talks about second and thrid racking, how does a newbie
determine if these are needed?

the longer you let the wine sit, the better your chances of sucess,
right?

how much loss is there in doing a batch of wine. I am assuming every
time you rack you leave an ammount with lees, and then you are supposed
to make sure the racked containers are as full as possible, with some
here reffering to adding "topping up" wine(or just juice?). what
happens when you end up with half a bottle or less when racking your
last batch?

the book doesnt exactly say, but i am assuming that you can rack off
into multiple bottles.

is there specific timing for racking. are there any indicators to help
the newbie?


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Old 31-12-2006, 11:35 AM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default newbie questions, plum wine, just read a book

See below:
Tater wrote:
what is must? is it the crushed fruit or is it the strained juices from
the fruit.


Both; it's the fermenting mass. The solids will impart flavor to the
liquid so sometimes you leave them in, other times you remove them
depending on what you are making.

how do i know the 5 gallon bucket i have would be food-safe for primary
fermenting?

Anything glass will work, if it's plastic and contained food it's fine
too.
I haven't hunted for this yet and think i can get a fruit
filling bucket which should work, but if not will a pickle work or
affect flavor?


It could, be careful if you use a pickle barrel. Vinegar is pretty
powerful stuff. If you do that bleach it first and if you still smell
pickles don't use it.

what about buckets that i don't have history of? joint
compound?


Maybe, I've seen that done on the white ones. I wouldn't, though.

hydraulic fluid?


No, don't do that. Find a food bucket, go to a bakery or a big
restaurant.

Camden tablets stop fermenting, right? so i could be really sadistic
and stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, stop, start the
fermentation process as much as i wanted(in theory).

No and no. They are a sanitizer for the most part and oxygen
scavenger. To stop fermentation with Campden you need so much it will
affect the taste. You want the ferment to finish, if the wine has less
than 10% alcohol it will be hard to keep it from spoiling.

one could make wine without fruit completely, right? well can one make
wine without added sugar? I am not interested in alcohol content, so if
the added sugar is only to make the alcohol, i could cut it down (i
prefer sweet wines) and the yeast amount.


See above, but the answer is yes (to a point) to all of this.


the author talks about second and third racking, how does a newbie
determine if these are needed?

Sediment and smell. If you see 'stuff' building up on the bottom you
may want to rack. The first time you make wine follow the instructions
and you will get a feel for it next time. The first rack is the most
important, especially if you have pulp in the must. You rack to get it
off of that and top the container (usually a carboy or large jug)
completely to get the wine away from air. Air exposure to young wine
is the most common problem.

the longer you let the wine sit, the better your chances of success,
right?


For the most part yes, once it's not dropping any sediment it's very
stable if you sulfite properly and keep the container 'topped' up.

how much loss is there in doing a batch of wine. I am assuming every
time you rack you leave an amount with lees, and then you are supposed
to make sure the racked containers are as full as possible, with some
here referring to adding "topping up" wine(or just juice?). what
happens when you end up with half a bottle or less when racking your
last batch?


You have it right. I lose about 10% in racking by the time it is just
liquid. (The solids are hard to evaluate because I make more grape
wine than anything else.)

Forget about as full as possible, once it's done fermenting keep it
full, period. Don't leave much more than 1/2 inch of air in there.

Use smaller bottles if you have to or buy some box wine to top up the
container.

the book doesn't exactly say, but i am assuming that you can rack off
into multiple bottles.


You can, but that is a little more work and makes it a little harder to
add the right amount of sulfite (Camden tables are a form of sulfite.)
Topping up is the most important thing to remember.

is there specific timing for racking. are there any indicators to help
the newbie?


Sort of, each wine is different though. I never made plum so can't
speak to it.

For the most part, it's rack when the fermentation is done or close to
it; if it's done, top it now, if not leave a little headspace to let it
finish. Rack a few weeks to a month later when the sediment falls, the
wine will look different at the top of the container than towards the
bottom, it will look less cloudy. After this rack topping is critical
along with sulfite maintenance. Maybe a month later you will see more
sediment, twist the container a day before you rack to settle the
sediment on the sides of the container and rack again and top and
sulfite. You usually need 4 or less racks total to clear a wine
completely.

Wine is pretty forgiving if you follow a few rules. I would say
removal from the gross sediment, topping and sulfiting are most
important; everything else is somewhat flexible as to timing and
necessity.

Joe

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Old 31-12-2006, 08:58 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default newbie questions, plum wine, just read a book


Joe: Excellent and patient reply! Good on ya.

Tater: Just two things to add:
1) Joint compound buckets are an excelltnt source of primary fermenters,
especially the white ones. I've used them for many years. Just remember
that polyethylene is too oxygen permeable for bulk, long term aging.
2) A good way to judge when your wine is clear enough to need no further
racking, i.e., is potentially ready for bottling, is to shine a
flashlight or laser pointer through thr carboy. If you can see the beam
as it passes through, there's still solids in suspension. Note that
laser pointers will show even small amounts of unsettled matter.

--
Mike MTM, Cokesbury, NJ, USA

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Old 31-12-2006, 11:35 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default newbie questions, plum wine, just read a book

Note that laser pointers will show even small amounts of unsettled matter.

Mike,
That sounds like a great idea, I'm going to try that. Thanks for the
tip. I think this process is called the Tyndall effect by the way.
Got that from this group too, you learn all kinds of things here...

Joe



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