My Wine Will Not Start Fermenting!

A Wine That Will Not Start FermentingI am still new to winemaking, starting my second batch, my question is: I started my yeast in a separate bottle, started to ferment just fine, added it to my wine base, is not doing anything. I have warmed up my base, has now been @ 48 hours. Do I need to add more yeast? Am I loosing my base, now spoiled? Not sure what else to do to get yeast going.

Name: Andrea
State: Colorado
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Hello Andrea,

There are an endless number of reasons why a wine will not start fermenting. Most of them are environmental, meaning, the yeast are not liking the situation in which they have been put.

A lot of times it is simply the temperature of the wine must. You’ve stated that you have warmed the must up, but it is possible to have it too warm for fermentation as it is too cool. Because of this I would start off by suggesting that you actually use a thermometer to take a temperature reading of the wine must to make sure it is in the correct temperature range. This would be somewhere between 70°F. and 75°F.

You had a successful yeast starter. This tells us that the yeast is viable and not old or dead. It also tells us that there is something with the wine must, specifically, and not the wine yeast that is not allowing the wine to ferment.

This is about as far as your clues will take us as to why your wine will not start fermenting. Beyond incorrect temperature and old wine yeast there are many other possibilities.

Fortunately, we have put together a list of the Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure. These are the most common reasons why a wine will not start fermenting. They are in order from the most common reason to the least common reason. This reasons are based on a lot of years of helping individual winemakers that are in the same exact situation you are.

I would suggest going over these top 10 reasons. See if any of the scenarios match up with your situation. It is not until you actually identify the reason why your wine will not start fermenting that you will be able to resolve this issue. Any action you take before then will only be a guess.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
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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.

2 thoughts on “My Wine Will Not Start Fermenting!

  1. I mix the yeast into 500 ml of water & heat it until warm but not hot.
    Stir it well then mix into to the concentrate .
    Fermentation will occur within 36hrs.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Looks like Andrea has her primary fermentation in a closed container (topped off with airlock). Primary fermentation needs air to kick off the yeast to a lively start. I suggest she dump the wine base into a five gallon bucket (covered with just a cloth) to let the fermentation begin. Hope this works!

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