If you recall from my last entry, I had just started making another wine ingredient kit – a Ken Ridge Classic Nebbiolo. The primary fermentation was just bubbling away and everything seemed to be going smoothly.
To prepare for secondary fermentation, I was a little curious how I was going to keep the elderberries that came with the kit and were now floating in the wine, from transferring through the tubing into my clean carboy. I suppose if I had used my racking cane with the little red cap on the bottom this wouldn’t have been an issue at all, but since my primary fermenter has a spigot on it, I decided to just hook up the siphoning hose directly to the spigot and transfer away with the flip of a switch.
Since I didn’t have any sort of filter in front of the spigot nor did I have the elderberries in any sort of cheesecloth or bag, I improvised by placing a piece of paper towel in front of the hole of the spigot to keep the large pieces of elderberries from transferring into my clean carboy for secondary fermentation. I don’t know if this was the smartest idea, but the towels were clean and as far as I could tell, sanitary. I think next time this happens when making a wine ingredient kit, I’ll just go ahead and use the racking cane, or maybe fish the elderberries out first prior to transferring the wine over.
Other than this little improvisation, secondary fermentation went along just swimmingly. 12 days later, I performed the degassing stage which like secondary fermentation, went along just fine.
The only issue that came up here is that only now did I realize that I forgot to add the oak granulars way back in primary fermentation! I don’t know how I managed to do that, other than the fact that when I opened the drawer that the granulars were in, I noticed they were all the way in the back of the drawer so I had somehow missed them the first time around. Smooth.
While I was temporarily upset that I forgot to add the oak while making this wine ingredient kit, I decided that it didn’t really matter too much and that I would just be making a very fruit forward Nebbiolo instead of a more standard style. These little mistakes can come back to bite you sometimes, while other times, it doesn’t really matter too much if the wine is most likely only going to be consumed by you and your partner!
My name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.