My name is Rachelle--my boyfriend and I are hobby wine makers and recently discovered your website last fall--WE LOVE IT :) We do have a question, however, regarding the proper technique during bottling that we can't seem to find a straight answer to.
We have been bottling directly from our wine filter, and are first wondering if that is okay, or if we should let the wine sit a few days after filtering before bottling?
The second question, should we try to minimize the amount of "bubbling" during bottling. I mean should we try to bottle by allowing the wine to gently fill down the side of an angled bottle so that there is little surface disruption/aeration, or if we can just point the hose down, shoot and fill it up so there is oxygen mixed with the newly bottled wine.
If you could please let us know, it would be greatly appreciated. We have a few more weeks until our next bottling, but would like the input. Thank you kindly.
Both of your questions can be answered with the same reasoning: you never want to splash a finished wine in a way that allows air to saturate into it. This is particularly important when learning how to make white wines. Air is the fuel for oxidation, a condition that can cause a wine to turn brown or orange. In the case of white wines oxidation is easily noticeable, but it can also be troublesome for reds.
Relating this issue back to your question about bottling homemade wine straight from the wine filter, doing so is very difficult to do in a gentle way. Wine is more easily wasted with this method as you move from one bottle to the next, and splashing is certainly more prevalent.
It is much better to transfer the wine from the wine filter to something like a plastic fermenter that has a spigot. Once you are done filtering the wine you can attach a piece of vinyl hose to the spigot and start filling the bottles from there.
Regarding your second question about how to get the wine into the wine bottles, the ultimate way is to fill the wine bottle from the bottom up. In the instance of using a piece of vinyl hose attached to a spigot, shove the hose all the way to the bottom of the wine bottle when filling. The idea is to keep the end of the hose down into the wine. This will eliminate virtually all the splashing. You can turn the spigot off between bottles to save making a mess.
We do have additional wine making products that make bottling homemade wine a little easier. One of them is a filling rod that can turn the flow off automatically between bottles. It's call a Bottle Filler. It's a long piece of clear, rigid tubing that fits on the end of the vinyl hose, like a wand. The other end has a button on the end that you press against the bottom of the wine bottle to start the flow. Once you lift up on the bottle filler, the flow automatically stops.
I hope this information is what you where looking for, Rachelle.
Happy Wine Making
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus