Just checking in with you regarding the progress of my CellarCraft Carmenere wine kit! On day 10 after starting primary fermentation, I checked the specific gravity and it was 0.998. The instructions said that the specific gravity should be less than 1.000 in order to move onto the next step (secondary fermentation), and since the specific gravity of my wine was 0.998, then I decided I was all set to move forward!
I have to say the longest part of the whole process of setting up secondary fermentation was definitely removing the grape skins and oak chips that had been stewing in the must over the past 10 days. As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to not use the mesh bag to hold all the skins, since some home winemakers feel as though having the skins loose in the must will result in greater flavor/phenolic extraction. Though I have no basis to compare, I agreed with these folks and decided to let my “skins run free” so to speak.
The down side to letting the grape skins be loose in the must is that it takes forever to fish it all out! I basically just sterilized a very large spoon and scooped away! Per the instructions, I tried to be gentle so that I wouldn’t stir up any of the “stuff” on the bottom of the carboy, so it took longer than if I just went to town on those grapes haphazardly. Even though I was careful, I definitely splashed a little bit—really only enough to get little purple dots on my clothes. Good thing I have a lab coat to get messes on!
After siphoning the de-skinned wine into a sterilized carboy, I was pleased to see that the level of the wine was in exactly the same place as the level of the wine in my second batch of wine (which is still chillin’ out in its carboy, by the way). It made me feel as though I did a good job of sealing the first carboy, as it doesn’t look like I have lost any wine to evaporation (at least not enough for me to tell the difference).
Speaking of that second batch of wine, in case you haven’t read any of my previous posts, it is the Pinot Chardonnay that I made using individual ingredients. It’s been hanging out in its carboy for nearly two months now (per the instructions) and has cleared up a bit. It’s still not as clear as my first batch of wine was after I added clarifying agents, when it comes time to rack again, I might go ahead and add some clarifying agents to this batch to get it to clear up even more. I still don’t have a wine filter, so I’ll want to at least add some clarifying agents to avoid having a cloudy wine.
Next on my schedule is to clear the Carmenere wine, add wood chips, and let hang out for a couple more weeks. Then a few days later, I’m scheduled to rack the Pinot Chardonnay wine, and will likely add some clearing/clarifying agents to that as well for a couple days prior to bottling.
Hope all your homemade wines are carrying on nicely!
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.