I’ve made it to Stage 3 in the home winemaking process without any problems (that I am aware of as yet anyway! Ha!). It’s been nearly 3 whole weeks since I got started with the Connoisseur wine making kit from E. C. Kraus, and I am just as excited now as I was then!
As I looked at the directions for the wine making kit, the first thing I had to do for Stage 3, the degassing phase, was to check to see that the specific gravity was below 0.995 with my hydrometer. Well, if you recall from the end of my secondary fermentation, the wine was already at 0.9945, so I wasn’t too worried about hitting the mark 12 days later! As expected, the specific gravity at the degassing stage was 0.994, so it looks like fermentation is definitely complete at this point, since the specific gravity value has barely moved in 12 days!
When I first looked at the instructions for the degassing stage, I noticed that it was telling me to siphon my wine into a sterilized carboy. Uh, wait a second, I only received one sterilized carboy in my kit, and the wine is already sitting in it! Eek! Slightly panicked, I asked the good folks at ECKraus.com what they thought I should do.
Basically, since I did have a primary fermenter that was currently unoccupied, the team at ECKraus.com advised me to first siphon the wine into the primary fermenter, then clean and sanitize my lone carboy and siphon the wine back into that vessel once that was done. This way, I still am following the instructions and continuing the home winemaking process in the carboy, AND I got an extra step of agitation in there to help with the degassing! Sweet! One day, I will get another carboy, but I don’t really have the space at the moment for much extra!
Now, up until the siphoning of the wine into the primary fermenter as a temporary storage vessel prior to moving it back into the sterilized carboy, everything had gone very smoothly. Of course, one is bound to make a mistake at some point, and that mistake may very well be a stupid and careless one that could have easily been avoided. What did I do, you ask? Well, let me just say, if you ever need to siphon your wine into a vessel that has a spigot, please oh please make sure that spigot is in the OFF position. Yes, the dummy that I was, I had started siphoning a wine into my primary fermenter with the spigot in the ON position. A few expletives were spat, but in the end, I don’t believe I lost more than a single bottle. Really not much in the grand scheme of things, but man, did I feel like an idiot! I learned my lesson though—double and maybe triple check that everything is secure before pouring precious wine into it!
Well, after the accidentally spilling about a bottle of wine fiasco, everything else seemed to go very smoothly. I siphoned the wine back into my cleaned and sterilized carboy, then added Potassium Metabisulphite and later Kiesol, all per the instructions I received with my homemade wine kit. The instructions for this stage ended by having me stir or shake the wine at least 6-8 times over the next two days. No problem! I just made sure I thoroughly rinsed the spoon in extremely hot water in between each stirring. I did not put it in the sterilization solution each time, so hopefully the scalding hot water would be enough at this point. Nothing funky seems to be growing in the wine anyway, so I think I’m OK for now!
Just two more days until I stabilize and clarify the wine! It’s getting so close to the end!
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.