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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Aging Red Wine question
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Aging Red Wine question

I have made about 3 batches of white wine so far, and have made my first Red Wine Pino Noir. The question I have is with aging. My kit recommends aging this for 3 months in a carboy, then bottling, then aging again for a minimum 3 months.

Is there any benefit to aging in a carboy vs wine bottles for Red? This has been in a carboy now for a little over 2 months. I am planning on bottling this in a few weeks when it hits 3 months, but if there is no real benefit, I was thinking of doing it this weekend.

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Old 09-06-2013, 03:47 AM   #2
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Yep, the advantage is that you leave it alone to do what it does. When bottling, you introduce tons of stress and hardship to the wine.

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Old 09-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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Well when wine ages initially in bulk (traditionally in barrel) a number of things happen. Firstly there is a slow oxidative process which causes colour to stabilise and astringency to be reduced as phenolics oxidise. This will also have a binding effect on any sulphites. These bits also happen in bottle though.

You'd usually also be looking at taking on some oak character during this time but obviously a non issue in carboys. More importantly in can take several months for settling of micro solids which is going to be incredibly important for minimalising spoilage microbe growth substrates. Not such as issue if you're filtering to 0.25 micron but otherwise it will help prevent both bottle sediment in the young bottles wine and reduce the odds of you bottling a delicious drop only to open something un drinkable in a couple of months.

Also, will you wine be done with malolactic in time? This can drag on sometimes and you want to be pretty sure you don't bottle a red with malic acid.

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Old 09-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Currently my Pino Noir has been in secondary for about 2 months and 2 weeks. The kit says to bottle it after 3 months in secondary. I'll be pulling a hydrometer sample, for tasting at the time of bottling. If it tastes great at that point, we may set a bottle aside for early tasting. Otherwise, we planned on these aging for 2 - 3 months minimum in the bottles before opening another. Does that answer your question?

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Old 09-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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Not really. I would just advise that you ensure the final settling is post racking. Reds throw more lees than whites.

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Old 09-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmillard View Post
Not really. I would just advise that you ensure the final settling is post racking. Reds throw more lees than whites.
I guess I don't know enough about all of this to answer it correctly. This was fermented in a bucket until it was below x gravity according to the kit, then transferred to a carboy to finish. Once the gravity was again below x gravity, I think it was around 0.990, then it was racked again into a carboy for this 3 month aging. And yes the wine was degassed as well.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:08 PM   #7
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Sounds like you're on track then. Good luck.

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Old 09-11-2013, 05:13 AM   #8
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Apples to apples ... glass carboy verses glass bottles.

Wine is easier to finish fining and complete any other processes while in bulk. Wine processed in one big container also will create more consistency across the whole batch.

Bulk storage is helpful to avoid temperature fluctuations as the mass of the wine in the carboy does not respond to changes in room temp (night vs day temps ... furnaces going on and off etc) as quickly as bottled wine does. This is a big issue for wines which you will put down to age ... tho not quite so important for wines that you will drink within the year.
Wine is best kept at cellaring temps with as little fluctuation as possible especially in long term storage ( more than a year or so ... and the longer, the more important it is), and the variation should not be more than about 5*F. Fluctuations have erratic effects on the maturation of the tannin and color ... and then also on the sugars and acids. Further, fluctuations can just very slightly introduce oxygen past the seal as the wine expands and contracts.
Somewheres around a consistent 55*F is ideal. This is why wine cellars are underground where there is much less or no fluctuation. Btw: allowing the wine to periodically heat up to 70* or above will very negatively effect long term aging. However, for short term wines (up to a year to drink), consistent temps up to about 65* or so are ok.

Another good reason for keeping it in bulk is that it makes it harder to drink your wine prematurely.

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Old 09-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #9
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I am definitely letting this age for a full 3 months in the carboy before I bottle. It has about another week or so to go. I store all my wine, white and red, in the basement. It keeps temperatures in the low 60's to about 66F depending on whether it's winter or summer, based on if we have the furnace on or air conditioner.

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