Does Wine Conditioner Stop A Fermentation?

Wine Conditioner Stopping FermentationIs there a wine product that you sell that sweetens the wine in the end and also stops the fermentation process.  I thought it was the wine conditioner, but I don’t see where it says it stops the fermentation process.

Thanks,
Jen
—–
Hello Jen,

One of the most difficult things a home winemaker can try to do is stop an active fermentation. It’s not practical, nor can it be done with any guaranteed success. This holds true for wine conditioner, as well.

There are several wine making products you can use that may inhibit or temporarily slow-down a fermentation, such a Campden tablets or sodium metabisulfite, but these wine making products will not normally bring an active fermentation to a full stop. Their primary purpose is to destroy wild molds and bacteria. Their effect on the domesticated wine yeast doing the fermenting is only minor.

The most important thing to understand about a wine making conditioner is that it should not be added to the wine must while it is still fermenting. It is a wine sweetener that should only be added once the fermentation has completed and the wine has had plenty of time to clear. If the wine conditioner is added during the fermentation or while the wine is still cloudy with yeast, all the sugars that are in the wine conditioner could potentially start a renewed fermentation and turn the sugars from the wine conditioner into alcohol.Shop Wine Conditioner

With that being said, the best time to add wine conditioner to a wine is right before you are ready to bottle the wine – add to taste, then bottle.

Wine conditioner does have a wine stabilizer (potassium sorbate) in it that, will help to eliminate the chance of a re-fermenting occurring. It does this by inhibiting the residual yeast cells are still left in the wine from multiplying into a larger colony that can sustain a fermentation.

But again, the stabilizer in the wine conditioner will not stop a fermentation. There are no wine making products you can use that will safely do so. The wine stabilizer in the wine conditioner will only stop a fermentation from re-occurring.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

The Allure of All-Grain Brewing

All-Grain Brewer Holding GrainsMost beginning home brewers start out brewing with malt extract kits. This is simple, not very time consuming, and the results are fairly predictable.

As a home brewer progresses and becomes more accomplished, they then learn how to add some grains to their brewing process in a concoction know as a partial-mash. There are partial-mash ingredient kits for them to choose from as well. This is a little more involved but opens the homebrewer to a larger world of beer styles.

Then comes the ultimate level of homebrewing: ‘all-grain brewing‘. As the name sounds, it is brewing beer with the use of no malt extracts whatsoever. All the sugars for fermentation come from malted barley grains themselves.

The popularity of all-grain brewing has increased by leaps and bounds in the recent past. There are many reasons why this could be for any one individual, but it is my personal belief that it usually has something to do with: accomplishment or learning something; having better control over flavor; or just having the ability to be more creative and adventuresome.

  • Experience: The all-grain brewer gets to experience a brewing process that is much more closely related to the process commercial brewers use. We here at E. C. Kraus know of several home brewers that have gone on to work for commercial breweries.
  • Ultimate control: You may use any malted grain of your choice as this method gives you complete freedom. It lets you have full control over the brewing process, and this is one of the main reasons why this method is gradually becoming the leading choice of people worldwide.
  • Increased creativity:Shop All Grain System For people who love to experiment, all-grain brewing becomes a great experience. Most of us want to create our own homebrew recipes. There are virtually endless combinations of malts and you can try the various combinations with different beer yeast types, temperature, hops etc. to make your own brewing recipe masterpiece. This method will give wings to your imagination and boost your creativity.
  • Fun and adventure: If you want to learn the secrets of brewing, this method gives you a nice opportunity to do so. You get to learn many things from experience. Many individuals brew all-grain to hone their brewing skills. At the same time, it is a fun-filled way that helps you in making good quality beer.

Beyond all these points, the process in itself is quite relaxing and it is an awesome experience to brew all grain. Being able to share a brew with friends, family and neighbors that you can say you made completely from scratch is a great feeling. To get more details on the all-grain brewing process, see “The Basics Of All-Grain Brewing“. It spells out the process a little more clearly.

Happy Brewing,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

What Does Bottle Shock Mean In Home Wine Making?

Sampling A Wine With Bottle ShockWhen making white wines with your wine kits they tastes fine right after fermentation, but after a while the wine gets bitter and strong. I notice it most right after I bottle the wine. What do I do to solve this problem?

Name: Richard L.
State: MA
—–
Hello Richard,

Most likely you are dealing with is what’s known as “bottle shock“.  This can be noticed as a flabby diminishing of the wine’s fruitiness and bouquet. The acids can seem out of whack, and in some more dramatic cases the wine can become bitter.

You as the wine making may be asking yourself at this point: “what does bottle shock even mean?” In wine making it’s the result of a reductive process that occurs when too much oxygen is saturated into the wine in too short of period. Wines need to absorb minuscule amounts of oxygen over long periods of time in order to age properly — that’s the purpose of the cork, to allow air to pass very, very slowly — but when wines absorb a too much oxygen in a short period of time, that’s what causes bottle shock.

In wine making bottle shock is something that can happen to any wine right after it has been bottled. As a wine maker I’m sure you can imagine, the process of filling the wine bottle and ramming a cork into its neck will increase the saturation of oxygen into the wine.

Bottle shock can also happen if the wine bottle is excessively agitated, such as traveling by car or whatever. This sloshing causes the cork to breath air more rapidly than intended.Shop Wine Kits

The good news is the effects of bottle shock are temporary. The wine will overcome this condition given time. Just how long the bottle shock does last, depends on the severity of the condition, but usually it is a matter of one or two weeks.

Richard, hopefully your wine will experience improvements when given a little time. If it does, then you will know that bottle shock was the issue. The other possibility is a bacterial or fungal infection. Bacterial is usually more acetic in symptom and fungal more bitter. The way you will be able to tell if this is the issue is by the fact that your wine’s flavor continues getting worse and not slowly recovering.

With all that being said I am fairly confident that we are dealing with bottle shock. Just give it some time, and you should see your wine turn around.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
———————————–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Making Wine With Bread Yeast… Not!

Every so often we run across someone who is making wine with bread yeast. Yes, I’m talking about the plain ole’ yeast you pick up in the baking section of your local grocery store. And every time I hear of someone using bread yeast, the question that always screams in my head is, “why?”

There are so many advantages to using wine yeast and so many disadvantages to using bread yeast that I can’t imagine why anyone would want to use it. The only conclusion I can come up with is that there is a strong misunderstanding about what yeast really are and what they do.

Yeast is what turns sugar into alcohol. Yeast cells are living organisms that consume and digest the sugars. As a result, they excrete alcohol and CO2 gas. Along with these two compounds also comes various trace amounts of enzymes, oils, acid, etc. These are the things that give different alcohols their different characters.

The point is all yeast are not the same. How one strain responds to the sugars varies from the next. There are literally thousands of different strains that have been identified or developed as hybrids, all with varying characteristics that make them suitable or not-so-suitable for performing a particular task, whether it be fermenting wine or raising bread.

This brings us back to the bread yeast. Most bread yeast will ferment alcohol up to about 8% with ease, but when trying to produce alcohol beyond this level, the bread yeast begin to struggle, very often stopping around 9% or 10%. This is short of what we’d like to obtain for almost any wine.

Shop Wine YeastAnother reason making wine with bread yeast is not a good idea is that bread yeast do not clear out very readily or settle very firmly, either. They typically will form a low layer of hazy wine in the bottom of the fermenter that will never completely clear out.

Even more importantly, bread yeast produce alcohol that is plagued with a lot of off-flavors. The bread yeast becomes so stressed and has to work so hard that off-flavored enzymes and fatty acids are produced along with the alcohol.

There are several other issues with using bread yeast to make your wine, but these are the big ones: the alcohol, the clearing, and the flavor.

There are many, many different strains of wine yeast. These yeasts are bred over time to produce something of a ‘super’ wine yeast. Each one becoming the ultimate choice for tackling the particular type or style of wine.

Some wine yeast ferment to total dryness better than others. Some have better alcohol tolerance than others. Some put off fruitier aromas than others. Some pack more firmly to the bottom of the fermenter than others. Some wine yeast even have flavor qualities that make them ideal for fermenting one type of fruit over another. The list goes on and on. And it goes without say, they all do it better than bread yeast.

On our website, we have a wine yeast profile charts listed for each line of wine yeast we carry: Red Star, Lalvin and Vintner’s Harvest Wine Yeast. You can view these profile charts from a link on the product page for each of these wine yeasts.

The last thing I’d like to point out is that buying actual wine yeast to make your wine is not expensive. Currently, you can purchase wine yeast for as little as $2.00. I haven’t priced bread yeast recently, but there can’t be that much difference in price. So if you value your time and effort at all go with the wine yeast. Don’t try making your wine with bread yeast.
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

What You Should Know About Sweetening A Wine…

Sugar Syrup For Back Sweetening Homemade WineI have a batch of peach wine and a batch of pear wine in 5 gallon glass jugs ready to bottle.  Both need to be sweetened at bottling time to bring out more of the fruit flavor.  Please explain to this rookie exactly how you back sweeten a homemade wine as you bottle it.  Do you add the sugar/water solutions to each bottle or do you add to the 5 gallon glass jugs, stir, and then bottle??  And, is plain sugar OK to sweeten with?

Thanks, ready to bottle in Missouri…
—–
Hello Missouri,

The first thing that needs to happen before sweetening your homemade wine is to make sure that it has completed its fermentation. This takes more than just a visual inspections. This needs to be verified with a wine hydrometer. The specific gravity reading on the hydrometer should read .998 or less. If it is not, then your wine is not yet ready to be back sweetened.

Essentially, the sugar needs to be added to your wine while it is still in bulk. Adding the sugar per wine bottle is not practical nor is it necessary. It is also important to note that you will also want to have the wine siphoned out of the fermenter and off the sediment before adding the sugar – a process called racking – otherwise unwanted sediment could be stirred up into your homemade wine.

Almost everyone uses plain-ole cane sugar when back sweetening their homemade wine, but what you choose to use is open for experimentation: honey, grape concentrate, corn sugar can all be experimented with to add different subtle flavors to their fruit wines. Just remember that once the sugar is in the wine it won’t be coming back out. The sweetening process is not very forgiving in this respect. For this reason you may want to do a test batch before adding the sweetener to the rest of the wine. Maybe take a gallon of the wine off and back sweeten that first.

shop_potassium_sorbateAnytime you add a sugar to sweeten a homemade wine you will also want to add potassium sorbate to help eliminate the chance of the wine brewing again. And, anytime you bottle a wine you will want to add sodium metabisulfite to help keep the wine from turning color and/or spoiling.

When adding sugar to a homemade wine you will want to pre-dissolve the sugar first. This can easily be done by mixing half and half with water and heat it on the stove until it becomes completely clear. Be sure to stir continuously when heating so that the sugar does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Allow the sugar mixture to cool before adding to the wine.

The article, Making Sweet Wines, may be of some interest to you. It goes through all of in’s and out’s of sweetening homemade wine in more detail, so you might be worth taking a look.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How Long Before Wine Yeast Starts Working?

Wine Yeast Held By Home WinemakerI bought your wine making starter kit and am up to the point where you add the wine yeast. I added the yeast about 12 hours ago and nothing has happened yet at all. Is this normal? The reason I ask is because I have made wine before in just a gallon milk jugs and added brewers yeast and instantly it foams. Can you please let me know…

Thank-You,
Harley
—–
Hello Harley,

The short answer is that you should expect to see activity of some kind within 36 hours, but usually within 24 hours. The fact that you are not seeing your wine working within 12 hours is not all that unusual. Just how long before your wine yeast starts working depends on numerous factors.

In regards to your previous batches, when making wine in a gallon glass carboy or something similar, it is expected that the fermentation will take off sooner. This is because you are using the same amount of yeast in a single gallon that you would be using in the typical five or six gallons of a wine making kit. The higher concentration of yeast cells, means your yeast will start fermenting sooner.

That’s the short answer to your question. The long answer is I don’t think there is a thing wrong with your wine must or wine yeast, but if you are still concerned I can go over some things that may put you more at ease.

  • The #1 reason a wine yeast fails to ferment is temperature.
    The wine must is either too hot or too cold. Temperature plays a major role in how fast or slow a wine yeast starts to ferment. The temperature should be between 70 and 75°F. The further you get from this fermentation temperature, the harder it is for the wine yeast to start fermenting. If you are not sure what temperature your wine must is at, you may want to consider getting a wine thermometer.
  • The #2 reason a wine yeast fails is improper re-hydration.Shop Thermometers
    The direction on most packets of wine yeast will tell you to re-hydrate the yeast in warm water before adding it to the wine must. The directions will specify a certain temperature for specific length of time. Normally, it’s something like 105°F. for 10 minutes. If you followed these direction, exactly, you will not have a problem whatsoever. But, if the temperature was hotter than the directions say, or if you left the wine yeast in the warm water for a longer length time than you were supposed to, you could have killed all or a significant portion of the yeast. If most of the yeast was killed it will take much longer for the fermentation to start. The fermentation may also be slow or sluggish once it does start.

In either of the above cases the solution is simple. Depending on the issue, either get the wine must to the proper temperature, or add another pack of wine yeast. Problem solved!

Just how long before your wine yeast starts working can depend on a number of different factors. The above two are by far the most common we run across, but if neither of these sound right, you may want to take a look at, “Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure” that is listed on our website.

After have said all of this, it’s still only been 12 hours since you added the yeast. The most likely scenario is that it will have already started bubbling by the time you read this. While many fermentation will start before this, taking longer than 12 hours is not all that unusual.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

It’s All About The Grape!

Napa Valley Grapes MalbecI was talking to one of our customers on the phone, yesterday. We got to talking about the different homemade wine kits he’s made over the last few years. He mentioned how he used to make wine using ingredient kits from our European Select and Legacy brands, but now he only likes to make wine from our top-end kits such as Cellar Craft Showcase.

He was thinking about making wine from fresh grapes this year and he wanted to know which I thought would make a better wine: our top-end wine ingredient kits or wine he made from fresh grapes?

I told him the answer’s simple. As an individual winemaker, you will almost always get a better wine using our top-end homemade wine kits. There are several reasons for this, but the most important and basic one has to do with the grape. A common mantra throughout the wine industry is:

No wine can be better than the grapes used to make it.

Or, as some people like to put it, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. If you have mediocre grapes, the best you can hope for is mediocre wine. Only stellar grapes are capable of making a stellar wine and that’s what you get with our top-end wine ingredient kits.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live in Napa or Sonoma, the grapes that are going to be available to you are most likely not going to be of the same caliber as grapes used to make our high-end homemade wine kits. Although, I am certain that there are many exceptions to this, the fact remains that the odds are way out of your favor when going on the open market to find wine grapes.

The grapes used in our high-end wine ingredient kits such as: Cellar Craft Showcase or Atmosphere, are grown in select regions of the world. They come from the same fields used to produce many high-dollar wines found on the commercial market.

Shop Wine KitsI told him that this doesn’t mean he shouldn’t make wine from fresh grapes. The experience is wonderful and it’s a time that can be shared with family and friend. Wine making from fresh grapes has it’s rewards regardless of the quality. All this really means is don’t expect to make a killer wine with everyday wine grapes… expect everyday wine.

Here’s what the difference between wine ingredient kits and fresh grapes boils down to: If you’re looking for ultimate quality, go with the homemade wine kits. If your looking for the ultimate experience go for the fresh grapes.
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Do You Have To Filter Homemade Wine?

MiniJet Wine Filter SystemI have been reading your blog for some time. My neighbor makes wine and said I should try it.  I have a question. He uses a wine filter to clear his wine. Do you have to filter homemade wine? He says it is not but I don’t see how if you don’t have something to clear it.

Eric
—–
Hello Eric,

Let me start off by saying that you can make perfectly clear homemade wine without using a wine filter of any kind. You do not need to filter a homemade wine for it be clear. Let me explain why…

What causes a wine to be cloudy is mostly wine yeast. The yeast multiply themselves into a colony of incredibly huge numbers during the fermentation. This wine yeast is finer than flour and adds a milky look to the fermenting wine must. Even though the wine yeast cells are microscopically tiny and can easily be stirred-up by the fermentation. They will also settle out through gravity once the fermentation activity has stopped. The other stuff like the pulp and tannin from the fruit will fall out even before the yeast.

If you do absolutely nothing, the wine yeast cells will settle out on their own, usually within a matter of days. This is why you do not have to filter the wine. It will become surprisingly clear on its on if given a chance.

If you would like to speed up the process you can use something called a fining agent. A fining agent is something that you add directly to the wine must. It collects the particles together and drags them to the bottom more quickly than they would on their own. A particular fining agent routinely used by many wineries is Bentonite.

You may be asking yourself at this point, “if the wine yeast will settle out on their own and I can use fining agents to speed up the process, then why does my neighbor have a wine filter? And furthermore, why do wine filters even exist“?

Wine filters do have a purpose in wine making,
but it’s not to clear up a cloudy wine.

 

A wine filter is designed to make a clear wine look even clearer. A wine filter should only be used on a wine after it is already visually clear. It filters out wine yeast, even beyond what the human I can see. This level of filtering adds further polish or luster to the wine causing it to illuminate more brilliantly.shop_wine_filters

It is important to understand that a wine filter is not something that strains the wine. The wine is actually forced under pressure through extremely fine filter pads. It filters the wine so fine that it can make a white wine look like a solid piece of glass in the wine bottle. With this kind of filtering power, using it on a wine that seems even slightly murky will cause the filter pads to clog up quickly. The wine needs to look absolutely clear to the naked-eye before the use of a wine filter can even be considered.

My suggestion to you is to go ahead and make a batch of wine and don’t worry about using a wine filter for now. Most home winemakers do not filter their wines and are absolutely satisfied with the clarity. Once the wine is finished and had time to clear, take a look at it and see if you are happy with its clarity. If not, then you can revisit purchasing a wine filter system to filter that wine.

Just remember that if you do decide that you need to filter your homemade wine, we have several different models of wine filters in stock that can be shipped the same day your order.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

A Simple Guide To Metabisulfites

Sodium Metabisulfite, Potassium Metabisulfite and Campden TabletsI have a quick question that I can’t find the answer to. I’m hoping you can help me out. Which is better, campden tablets, sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite? I’ve looked in several places but don’t understand why you need all 3 to make wine.

Shaun
—–
Hello Shaun,

Thanks for the great question. This is an issue that perplexes many wine making hobbyist. So I’m glad you brought it up.

The first thing to understand is that all three of these wine making ingredients do the same thing: Campden tablets, sodium metabisulfite and potassium metabisulfite, they all add sulfites to a solution. Whether it be wine or water the result is the same. Regardless of which of the three you use, the result is the same. Sulfites are being added to the liquid.

So what’s the difference? Not much. The main difference between sodium metabisulfite and potassium metabisulfite is that one will leave residual amounts of sodium in the wine and the other some potassium.

Many home winemakers will lean towards using potassium metabisulfite instead of sodium metabisulfite in their wines as a means of avoiding more sodium intake in their diet. But in reality this is somewhat futile.

If the normal recommended dose of sodium metabisulfite is used—1/16 teaspoon per gallon—the residual sodium being added is equivalent to one slice of pickle per case of wine. Not enough to affect the flavor and certainly not enough to affect your diet.

Potassium metabisulfite is slightly stronger than sodium metabisulfite by volume—17% stronger—but this is not enough to be taken into account if you are only making 5 or 10 gallons of wine at a time. With either we recommend the same dosage.Shop Sulfite Tester

Now that we have cleared that up, what makes Campden tablets different from potassium and sodium metabisulfite? Again, not much. Campden tablets are nothing more that potassium metabisulfite in tablet form. The tablets are measured in a dose for one gallon of wine. You simply use one tablet per gallon.

So in the case of tablets, it’s a matter of  convenience. If a home winemaker is only making a gallon or two of wine at a time, they may want to use Campden tablets instead of having to measure out a 1/16 teaspoon dose for each gallon, just to keep things simple.

As to your question as to which one is best to use, in reality it just doesn’t matter. I say, ‘pick one and go with it’. Many home wine makers will use sodium metabisulfite for sanitizing their equipment and wine bottles and then use the potassium metabisulfite to go directly into the wine for preservation. But in reality, if you don’t want to buy both… not a big deal.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
———————————–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How To Add Yeast To A Wine Must

Wine yeast is an essentialYeast Starter For Adding To Wine Must ingredient of any wine recipe. It is the critical ingredient that does all the work. Wine yeast consumes the sugars in the wine must and converts them into alcohol and CO2 gas. Without the yeast you would have no wine.

There are three different ways to add yeast to wine must. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a brief overview of each of them:

Add The Yeast Directly To The Wine Must:
This is the most common method. Simply open the packet of wine yeast and sprinkle it directly on top of the wine must. There is no reason to the stir the yeast into the liquid. It will dissolve into the wine must just fine on its own. Sprinkle the yeast and let it be. The obvious advantage to this method is that it takes no effort. The disadvantage is that you do lose some of the yeast’s ability to ferment effectively at the very beginning of fermentation. The result is a delay in the startup of fermentation – usually a matter of 3 or 4 hours.

Re-hydrate The Yeast. Then Add To The Wine Must:
The wine yeast that you get in little packets has been dehydrated. All the moisture has been taken from the cells to make them inactive while in storage. Re-hydrate means to add water back to the yeast. When this process is done before adding the yeast to the wine must, you get a fermentation that takes off more quickly.

It’s no coincidence that this is the method you will find on the side of most packets of wine yeast. The producers of these yeast packets would prefer you use this method. The problem is that if you do not follow the directions “exactly” you can easily kill the wine yeast.

Typical wine yeast re-hydration directions will read something like:

“Put the yeast in two ounces of water that is between 104°F. and 109°F. for a period of 15 minutes.”

This method works well if you follow it without wavering in time or temperature. But if you don’t use a thermometer to verify the water’s temperature, or if you leave the wine yeast in the water for longer than directed, you can easily kill most or all of the wine yeast.

Make A Yeast Starter. Then Add To The Wine Must:
This method is often confused with re-hydration, but it’s not the same thing. Re-hydration is getting the wine yeast back to its original state by adding water with it.  But a yeast starter is actually letting the yeast ferment on a small amount of must before adding it to a batch of wine. A yeast starter usually take one or two days to get going before it is add to the entire batch.Shop Digital Thermometer

Making a yeast starter is fairly straight-foreword. If the wine must is already prepared you can use it as the starter. One pint of wine must in a quart Mason jar and a packet of wine yeast works perfectly for a five gallon batch of wine. If your batch is larger, multiply the starter’s size proportionately.  Add a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient along with the yeast packet and cover it with a plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Prick a pinhole in the plastic wrap to allow the gasses to escape.

If you don’t have the wine must at hand you can use our Winemaker’s Quick Starter to create a starter without the wine must. It comes with complete directions on how much to use, etc.

Regardless of the starter size or how it was made, you want the wine yeast to maximize its level of activity before adding it to the wine must. You will see the yeast starter begin to foam up. I usually tell people to pitch the starter into the wine must once you see this foaming start to slow down. In other words, once the foaming has peaked. This is usually 12 to 18 hours after starting.

When you make the yeast starter you can sprinkle the packet of yeast direction into it, but the purist will re-hydrate the wine yeast in water, first, before doing so.

The advantage with the method of adding yeast to a wine must is that you will get the quickest and most thorough fermentation. Your yeast will also be under little stress, so the chance of the yeast producing any off-flavors is very minimal. The disadvantage is that it is more work, and you do need to plan ahead since the starter needs a day or two to get going.

How you decide to add yeast to your wine must is entirely up to you. Any of these methods will work. Just consider the advantages and disadvantages of each one, and go with what works best for you.
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.