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Old 05-08-2013, 04:20 AM   #1
ErinRae
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Default In need of urgent wine kit headspace advice!!

I'm making a wine kit with a friend right now...wine expert Chilean Sauvignon blanc. My friend did the final racking and we re supposed to bottle in 2 weeks. When I checked the carboy a couple days after it was racked...it was the most headspace I'd ever seen with a kit...about an inch below where the it starts to curve. From experience I'd prob need 2-3 litres to top off. The instructions specifically said " don't top off"...but I'm not sure wine expert anticipates this much headspace. My friend said there was just the usual lees and bottoms that she racked off. I'm thinking she got sold a carboy that was really a 6 gallon? No clue...was the first time we used it and it came in a open box.

My question is...how long do u have till u have to worry about oxidation? It's been like this for a week and in another week we bottle.

Thanks for any advice!!

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:52 AM   #2
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Not sure about time, but if your reall worried you sanitize a bunch of marbles and add them to bring the level up

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Old 05-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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some carboys are a little bigger than others. The best thing to do is bottle soon.

I spray a gas mixture called Wine Preserve in my carboys that keeps oxygen away from the wine.

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Old 05-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #4
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If you read the directions, they say "don't top off, the should be room to add a quart of liquid" or something like that. Yours is WAY too low. Those kits are 6 gallon kits, so if she has a 6 gallon carboy that is the correct size.

Have you degassed yet? If not, you can add a bit of water to over the curve and then let it sit until degassing. After degassing, you DO top up.

You said "the final racking", but with most of those kits there is only one racking until it's topped up so I'm a bit confused on where you are in the process. If you are bottling in a week, then yes you most certainly should have topped off after degassing, and you missed that in the instructions. If so, top off NOW and don't bottle it for a couple of weeks.

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Old 05-08-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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we've degassed, mixed in the final pouches and then let it sit for i think 8-10 days, reracked it off the sludge and let it site for 2 weeks. Following the 2 weeks we bottle. We're halfway between the 2 weeks. I've never read this in instructions for wine expert kits and have done tons of them. I think wine expert has been making changes to a lot of instructions as of late..I just did an amarone and it had some diff info in it for sure.

Definitely didn't miss topping off in the instructions...I'm all for topping off! It literally said in Step 4: Racking and clarifying -(after re-racking) "Do not top off wine this will change the character of the wine. Your wine will not oxidize before you bottle it"

So I was like ok..i won't top off...but boy it makes me nervous and now the carboy the wine is in seems maybe like it was too big. But the carboy was sold to my friend from a wine store..so they screwed us!! Either going to rack it into one of my carboys I know is the right size 100% or top off..can't decide. It's already been a week with this much headspace!!

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinRae View Post
we've degassed, mixed in the final pouches and then let it sit for i think 8-10 days, reracked it off the sludge and let it site for 2 weeks. Following the 2 weeks we bottle. We're halfway between the 2 weeks. I've never read this in instructions for wine expert kits and have done tons of them. I think wine expert has been making changes to a lot of instructions as of late..I just did an amarone and it had some diff info in it for sure.

Definitely didn't miss topping off in the instructions...I'm all for topping off! It literally said in Step 4: Racking and clarifying -(after re-racking) "Do not top off wine this will change the character of the wine. Your wine will not oxidize before you bottle it"

So I was like ok..i won't top off...but boy it makes me nervous and now the carboy the wine is in seems maybe like it was too big. But the carboy was sold to my friend from a wine store..so they screwed us!! Either going to rack it into one of my carboys I know is the right size 100% or top off..can't decide. It's already been a week with this much headspace!!
I've never seen that in the instructions, so I'm at a loss. It's totally different than the instructions in the kit I'm doing right now. They have me rack, degas, add finings, and then top up later.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:22 PM   #7
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I talked to the store that sold my friend the carboy...Apparently their carboys hold about 25 liters and they top off with water or general white wine. Ive never see a kit that is made to make 25 litres..only 23! I'll pray to the wine gods and hope there is a reason I'm not supposed to top off.

I made the Italian amarone with grape skins by wine expert a couple weeks ago and it came with 2 bags of dextrose. The instructions didn't even include the sugar addition in it. I had to go online and look for instructions...low and behold wine expert had new instructions for the chapilization (sp?) but put old ones in the kit!. It was a whole additional step with more fermentation and what not!

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Old 05-08-2013, 10:31 PM   #8
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The new winexpert kits are calibrated to NOT have water added. The reason actually is for the same reason this is happening. The carboy manufacturers are (not american!) not quite up on their quality standards, and tthe carboys are NOT all the same size. :-(

For this reason (which Winexpert can't control) wines are getting 'topped off' with different ammounts of water, making complaints GROW. So now they are saying DON'T top off, you'll be ok for the few weeks it takes to do the kit IF YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

Now, I admit that like a lot of folks I tweek my kits and do extra rackings and I bulk age. Because of this, I protect my wine with the Wine Preserver gas I mentioned before. I know how dangerous that headspace can be! :-)

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