My Wine Stopped Fermenting Too Early!

Wine That Stopped FermentingI am making a strawberry wine. I mixed everything together and the fermentation started the next day. But now my wine has stopped fermenting too early. It has only been fermenting for about 5 days. What should I do?

Name: Kelly F.
State: GA
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Hello Kelly,

It may very well be that you have a stuck fermentation, and need to figure out how to get it going again. But, more than likely the reason your wine is not fermenting is because the fermentation is simply done. Once all the available sugars have been turned into alcohol by the wine yeast, there is nothing else to do. No reason to add more yeast, etc.

While most fermentations will last anywhere from 7 days to 14 days, I have personally seen wine fermentations be completely done in less than 3 days. It’s all just a matter of how happy you make the wine yeast.

To determine if your wine stopped fermenting too early or if you have a stuck fermentation, you will need to test the wine with a hydrometer. If you do not have a hydrometer, I would strongly urge you to get one. A wine hydrometer is the single most valuable tool any winemaker can have, and it is quick and easy to use.Shop Hydrometer

 

  • If your wine has a specific gravity reading less than .998, then your fermentation is done. All that you need to do is to continue on with any wine recipe directions you are following. This would typically be to rack the wine into a secondary fermenter and allow it time to clear.
  • If your wine has a specific gravity reading more than .998, then you have a stuck fermentation on your hands and will need to figure out how to get the wine fermenting again.

 

There are a number of reasons why a wine might stop fermenting too early – too many to go over here – but fortunately you can go to our Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure. There you will find the mostly likely reasons why you have a stuck fermentation. The reasons are in order from the most to least likely reason. This list was culminated from our years and years of experience with helping home winemakers. Go over them and see if any of the top 10 reasons apply to this batch of wine.Shop Yeast Energizer

In short, if you have a wine that stopped fermenting too early, it does not necessarily mean you have a problem. In fact, it could mean the opposite – that you had a very good fermentation and it is done sooner than expected.

Happy Wine Making,
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.

11 thoughts on “My Wine Stopped Fermenting Too Early!

  1. Mr. Kraus, I need a little help here… I just racked a batch of berry wine from the primary fermenter after six days (approximately 6 gallons). The wine was still fermenting but had slowed considerably. I transferred it to a carboy and took a reading of 1.014. I wanted to add some sugar to increase the alcohol content, so I added 2 lbs of sugar (in solution) and stirred. It “fizzed” dramatically but dissipated quickly as I stirred. I attached the airlock to the carboy and within several minutes it showed no pressure at all from within the carboy. Now, a day later, still nothing. It seems as though I effectively stopped the fermentation process… Any idea how I can re-start the fermentation? This is the second time that fermentation has completely stopped the minute I racked from the primary bucket. Admittedly I’m very new to the wine making process–do you have any suggestions? My temperatures have been consistently in the low 70’s, not sure what the problem is. Thanks,
    Zeke

    • Zeke, there may not be a problem at all. Just racking the wine will not cause a stuck fermentation. About 70 percent of the fermentation activity takes place in the primary stage, so it is common for the activity to slow down in the secondary stage. It very well could be fermenting away. To verify if you do in fact have a stuck fermentation, take a hydrometer reading today and then again a few days later. If there is no change in the reading you will know that it is a stuck fermentation. If it is stuck, I would go over the reasons in the following article as to the possible reason for the stuck fermentation. Before you can fix the issue, you need to know the cause.

      Fermentation Failure
      http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-failure

      • Hi,
        I have the same problem, I’ve made Rice and Raisin wine, it was furiously fermenting in the bin, I’ve strained it and put it in the Demi John and there are no bubbles in the airlock. The problem I have is I topped the jar up with quite a bit of water as it wasn’t full, and I’m concerned that if it has stopped fermenting, I have just diluted the wine and it will be watery. Any ideas?
        Thank you

        • Alixandra, you don’t mention if you already have, the first thing I would do is take a hydrometer reading. It is possible that the fermentation is already complete. If you do find that it is a stuck fermentation, please see the article posted below for possible causes. Before you can fix the situation, you need to know the cause. As far as adding the water most wine recipes do allow for topping back up in the secondary fermentation.

          Top Reasons For Fermentation Failure
          http://eckraus.com/wine-making-failure/

  2. I have a problem My wine Sink was supplied with a short garden hose for a term now 15 gallons of Apple has garden hose hints I have tried sulfites wondering what else can I do ?copperKane ?filtering ?any ideas would be much appreciated

    • John, the odor is probably due to a slight bacterial infection. Adding the sulfites stopped it from getting worse. What I would do now is to degas the wine or rack in splashing manner. Once that is completed, you need to add more sulfites to drive out the oxygen introduced in the process.

  3. Hi,
    I’m glad I found your page. I made a batch of watermelon wine two days ago. I followed the directions precisely because I’ve read that it can be difficult to start fermentation fast enough to prevent it from spoiling. After about an hour it started bubbling. Today, no more bubbles. I took a reading with my hydrometer and it’s .992-.994. It definitely fermented somewhat because it tastes like alcohol. I guess I’m just having trouble believing that it could be done in less than 48 hours. Is that even possible?

      • I left it in the primary until today, just in case, but I think it is really done. I’m amazed. It fermented in 36 hours.

        I’m racking it into a glass carboy right now.

  4. It is very knowledgable site, probably the best in the world for novice winemakers. Me personally I have learned A LOT from Ed, thank you thank you and thank you. This source will help you to avoid simple mistakes winemakers do have..
    But in this hobby you will face so many factors, so many things you need to know about…. I live in tropical Caribbean where temperature is around 75F at night and jumping up to 100F a day time. The grapes are not growing here, they like cold mountains and valleys. So we make fruit wine. My first a few years living here I was unable to make dry wine: fermentation stuck and yeast are dead unable to continue. Today I make dry wine SG = 0.992-995. Even professional local winemakers can’t achieve similar result. The fortified their wines with strong alcohol and this is not a wine, but Porto in worse performance. My suggestions? Like Ed suggested here a hundred times – you must have a hydrometer. Without it you walk blind in the jungle. Second – you need to know everything about your climate zone. The climate is everything, that is why wine of Ciicilia is different from wine in Parma… Big time! I would recommend Ed and his team to add more about the history of wine making in different climate zones. It will make site more attractive. Thanks for reading this bs of mine.

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