Originally Posted by Tritonal
After work I ended up going to me homebrew shop around the corner and picked up some campden but didn't think about the sodium bezoate. I'll get that tomorrow. I also a 5g bucket and 5g secondary for my next batch
Thanks for the tips!
I"ve never seen benzoate at a homebrew store. They do always have potassium sorbate, though, and if you're going to sweeten a wine when it's finished you need that.
You don't want a bucket for your secondary! The whole point is to minimize any headspace, so you must have a carboy and airlock once fermentation slows down. You top up the carboy to within an inch or two of the bung, so that there isn't any headspace except for that little one inch wide area.
If you're making small batches, 1 gallon jugs (like those Carlo Rossi wine jugs) work great. A size #6 stopper fits a 1 gallon jug. I have a few 1.5 liter wine bottles that I use to hold excess wine for topping up, and they use a smaller stopper (#3 or 4, but your homebrew shop can help with that). Growlers also use a #6 stopper. So you can use a variety of sizes to make sure your wine is always topped up in a carboy with no headspace, and use the smaller bottles/containers for overflow.
You "lose" wine each time you rack, and if you top up with water each time you will water down your wine. To combat that, either top up with a commercial similar wine, or start with a bigger batch at the beginning. Typically, if you make a 5 gallon batch of wine at the beginning, you'll end up with about 4 gallons of finished wine. So I always start a bit bigger and use those other vessels I mentioned to hold the excess and use them for topping up my 5 gallon carboy with each racking.
You will need to rack the wine several times over the course of making it, so it's really nice to have two carboys. You rack whenever you have lees 1/4" thick or more, or every 45-60 days if you have any lees at all. And top up. Again.