Wine Making Questions from Maria

Wine Making Questions from Maria

Recently Winemaker’s Academy member Maria wrote in with some great questions that the entire community would benefit from. So with her permission (thank you Maria!) I am going to share her questions with you along with some helpful answers. Be sure to check out the full email from her down below as she shares her method for making wine from cultivated Muscadine grapes. 1. Because I have a 6 gallon carboy, Do I fill the primary fermenter plastic bucket to 6 gallons? will it foam too much? The bucket at the five gallon level leaves a 5 inch space to the rim. At 6 gallon level it leaves a 3 inch space to the rim. I read your article that says I can top off the carboy with another wine, and I would do that if you suggest starting with 5 gallons instead of 6. If you’ve got a six gallon carboy your best bet is to make seven gallons of wine if possible. If this is not possible go for six gallons. The reason you want to make more than six gallons is so that you’ve got some wine left over to top up your carboy with.  Each time you rack you’ll lose a bit of wine. Hopefully not much but even if you minimize your loses you’ll still wind up with a large air gap in your carboy after a while. So if you can make seven gallons and store your extra gallon of wine in a one gallon glass jug and when you rack your carboy top it up from this jug. As you go you will need to transfer your extra wine from the one gallon jug into several wine bottles, however, it’ll be worth the extra effort if it means you can keep your carboy topped up. Having too much foam could be an issue in the primary fermenter, however, if you keep your wine cool (upper sixties or so) it will help minimize the foam. Another factor that affects the amount of foam produced is how vigorous the yeast strain is that you choose to ferment with. An overly aggressive yeast will produce a lot of foam and could potentially spill out the top. If you’re not able to make seven gallons just make six but be aware that you’ll have to top up with something to keep your wine protected from oxygen. You could use a Muscadine wine from a previous year or a similar enough wine from the store. Topping up with water is possible but it will reduce your alcohol levels and in general make things more bland. 2. I want to make organic wine, so I will not use a Camden tablet. Campden tablets provide sulfites for stabilization. Wineries that produce organic wine are indeed prohibited from adding any sulfites. While this is an attractive way to make wine you must be very careful. Sulfites protect a wine from oxygen as well as micro-organisms that can spoil your wine. Without this protection sanitation of your equipment becomes paramount. You must diligently clean and sanitize all of your equipment thoroughly before...

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