Leigh Erwin: A Time To Rack…

Beginning Winemaker Leigh ErwinHi, everyone!

I’m happy to report that both my white and red wines seem to be fermenting nicely! The Gewürztraminer has been happily milling about in secondary fermentation, while my Rosso Fortissimo has been plugging along in primary fermentation.

I left the fermentation lock securely on the Gewurzt during this whole process, despite my nagging curiosity to remove it and give the wine a sniff. It looked great, and nothing appeared to be growing on it, so that was good enough for me to assume all was going well.

In regards to the Rosso, I gave it a gentle stir throughout the primary fermentation in order to keep those grape skins wet and submerged. I did miss one day right at the very beginning, but I don’t think that really had any effect on the wine, because at the end of the primary fermentation it all seemed great to me.

Even though people have said you tend to get more extract from the grape skins if they are left loose in the carboy, I did really like the ease and convenience of keeping them in the cheesecloth pouch that was provided to me in the wine ingredient kit. I remember leaving them loose when I made the Carmenere, and that was such a pain in the butt to clean up. I just made sure I gave the bag a good stir every day and hopefully that’ll be enough to get a good enough extraction for my husbands and my standards. We’re not shooting for any award winners quite yet!

Both wines were scheduled to move onto their respective next steps on the same day, so it was going to be an extremely busy day for me if they were both ready! I measured the specific gravity of both with my wine hydrometer, and truth be told, they were both NOT ready to move on.

Shop Wine KitsThe instructions for the Gewurzt said in order to move on to the degassing stage, the specific gravity should be less than 0.995, and no bubbling seen. After measuring the specific gravity and converting the result to account for the calibration temperature of the hydrometer, the SG of the Gewurzt was 0.996. So close! But not close enough! I’m not surprised it wasn’t quite there yet. If you recall, there had been some delays early on in the process due to fluctuating temperatures during primary fermentation. Also, paying closer attention to the fermentation lock, I did notice that there was still a little bit of bubbling going on.

So, I decided to let the Gewurzt sit for another day, and I’ll just check it daily until it’s ready.

The Rosso, on the other hand, had a specific gravity of 0.999 after temperature correction, while it was less than the 1.000 recommended SG for this wine, so it was ready to move onto the secondary fermentation. I’ll fill you in on all that in my next post!…
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leigh_erwin_bioMy 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.

 

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