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Tuesday
May172011

Making your own wine, Step 3: Stabilizing and Clearing

Well it is a slow and lengthy process, this wine making thing. If you are looking for instant gratification - you likely will not get any satisfaction here.  But the end result is so worth it.

Step 1 here.  Step 2 here

Our wine has been gently going through its secondary fermentation for the last 10 days and is now ready for Stabilizing and Clearing. In this process, the specific gravity should now be 0.996 or less, and should also be stable and not change over two consecutive days. If it changes, let your wine continue to sit, checking the SG each day until it is done Mine is now sitting stable at 0.990.

Now that it has stabilized, we want to stop any residual fermentation from occurring and move off all of the used yeast, as well as any remaining clay left in suspension. This is accomplished in two steps. We also want to remove as much of the trapped gasses from within the liquid as possible. Using the wine thief, remove about a litre of the wine from the top of the carboy. This can be stored temporarily in a clean, steralized wine bottle. This will give you enough room in the carboy to stir it well without overflowing.

Next, we dissolve the packet of metabisulphite that came in the kit into a half bottle of bottled water, and add it to the carboy. The metabisulphite accomplishes two tasks, it will help to prevent any wild microorganisms from growing and it also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the color and flavor of the wine. As part of the chemical reaction it produces SO2. So this is where we drill mount paint stirrer comes in handy. Clean and sterilize the bit and then use it to mix the wine thoroughly. Mix for a minute or so and then let it rest until all the CO2 from the fermentation as well as the SO2 from the stabilizing have had a chance to subside. Then do it again, and again, and again. This is where I messed up on my very first batch, and did not do this enough. As a result my first wine had a carbonated mouth feel to it like a flat champagne. Now I go through a complete battery on my drill ensuring the CO2 is scrubbed off.

Next, empty the packet of Chitosan into the carboy. Derived from oyster shells and other shelfish, this additive joins with the free floating yeast particals, that were previosuly suspended by the bentonite clay and once joined, all three become more dense than the surrounding wine, and as a result fall to the bottom.

Stir the Chitosan in virgously using the drill bit then top up the carboy with the wine reserved earler and place an air lock back on top. Allow the wine to sit for another 8 days to give the settiment a chance to settle to the bottom. 

In 8 days we will rack the wine again from one carboy to another.

Here is the final step.

 

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