Hi there, folks! Leigh here!
I have finally started batch #2 of homemade wine from ECKraus.com and I wanted to share with you all my/its progress!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this time I wanted to try making the wine using individual wine making ingredients instead of a wine making kit, to see if 1) I could do it without that much instruction and 2) it was better or worse in the end than making the wine with a kit. I think there are positive points either way, so really there is no right or wrong answer, but I thought it would be fun to experiment anyway!
Last time I left you with a progress update, I had just finished sterilizing all the wine making equipment and mixing together all the ingredients and wine yeast at the proper temperature and said I was going to let it sit for 5 days.
So, where is everything at now?
Well, on Day 5 of the fermentation, I actually had a relatively last-minute meeting to attend, so I decided to put off the next step (the first racking) until the next day, Day 6. I figured one extra day in primary fermentation shouldn’t hurt, right?
So, on Day 6 I first took a specific gravity measurement wine my hydrometer before launching into the next phase. I remembered the instructions I had with the first batch of wine using the wine making kit, it told me a certain specific gravity reading to shoot for to know that primary fermentation was just about finished. However, there was no such number listed on the SunCal grape concentrate wine making instructions, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to do.
Well, ask the internet and you’ll come up with an answer! I checked out some information on various websites, including wine making articles on ECKraus.com (Wine Fermentation 101), and the general consensus was that if the wine’s specific gravity was at or below 1.030. Low and behold, the specific gravity of my second batch of wine was 1.011 with the temperature correction, which was definitely below the cut off of 1.030. Considering I let the wine sit for 6 days instead of 5, I’m not too surprised at the difference. There was plenty of foam/bubbling going on still at this time, so I’m glad I had a solid number reference I could use to know for sure it wine was ready for the next wine making step!
Satisfied that primary fermentation was complete, I then siphoned the wine into a sterilized carboy per the instructions. I used the fill-up-the-tubing-with-wine-first method of siphoning, and it worked like a charm for me. I didn’t lose any yield this time, and the wine filled up close to the top of the carboy very nicely. I then sealed everything up with a rubber stopper and air lock, and then let the wine sit and rest for a while!
The wine making instructions want me to rack the wine after 2 weeks and again after 2 months, the latter of which I’m not sure I’ll follow exactly. I do plan on racking the wine at 2 weeks, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to treat the wine with stabilizing and/or clarification agents, or if I’m just going to let it sit alone for two months. I think I may end up adding something to the wine to help clarify it a little quicker, but I think I’ll do some more research and ask a few more questions first!
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.