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Old 03-27-2009, 01:42 AM   #1
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Default Salvaging Moldy Wine

I'm about a month into my first wine kit. I've been homebrewing beer for about a year and a half with no infected batches so I'm quite confident in my sanitation. However, after racking this wine into a secondary and degassing it with a wine whip, I have mold. Lots of it. At least I'm 99% certain it's mold. It looks like mold, but it doesn't smell like mold (should it smell?). Here's a picture:



So my first question is to verify that this is mold. I sanitized everything so I'm not sure where this would have come from. There was no mold in the primary, and fermentation had completed, resulting in what I calculated to be a 14% ABV wine.

My next questions are how to save this? Can it be saved? Will it be safe to drink? Has the mold affected the flavor? I racked it to a secondary a couple weeks ago and I shoved it into a dark unused closet so I'm not sure how long the mold has been sitting there.

Thanks in advance

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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It sure does look like mold. You sure have a lot of headspace, where oxygen would have been sitting and allowing it to happen.

What I would do is dissolve one campden tablet per gallon and put that into a new sanitized carboy. Then, carefully rack the wine out from under the moldy looking layer into a new carboy. Try not to push that layer into the wine with the racking cane, so that you don't transfer any of it if you can help it.

I think the taste will be fine, and it won't be harmful to drink. The problem is that it may come back. Once it's in the new carboy, leave it sit for a month or so (and make sure there isn't ANY headspace!) and see if it reoccurs.

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
It sure does look like mold. You sure have a lot of headspace, where oxygen would have been sitting and allowing it to happen.

What I would do is dissolve one campden tablet per gallon and put that into a new sanitized carboy. Then, carefully rack the wine out from under the moldy looking layer into a new carboy. Try not to push that layer into the wine with the racking cane, so that you don't transfer any of it if you can help it.

I think the taste will be fine, and it won't be harmful to drink. The problem is that it may come back. Once it's in the new carboy, leave it sit for a month or so (and make sure there isn't ANY headspace!) and see if it reoccurs.
Interesting concept, but, how do you make sure there isnt any headspace?
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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What size batch are you making? You need to do a batch that matches that size carboy. If you do a 5 gallon batch, you rack into a 5 gallon carboy. You may need to add alittle water to bring the level within 2 inches of the airlock. That is what is meant by bringing up the headspace. You can't put a 5 gallon batch into a 6 gallon carboy because it would be too much headspace and it to add another gallon of water would dilute your wine. If you carboy is too big you would have to add a whole bunch of sanitized marbles to bring the wine level up.

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Old 04-03-2009, 06:43 PM   #5
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It looks like mold. But as a Biology Major and having some expirience in microbiology it would be advisable to chalk it up as a loss, sorry. I know there are some people that would say its ok and you'll be fine... First it is not 100%certain it is a mold. The picture is a little unclear, but it does appear to be moldish. At any rate, campden tablets would certainly help kill of the mold, if that is what it is, but there is no way to know for sure. Allergies to mold is not uncommon and you could be putting yourself at risk for something that is potentially harmful to you. If you are going to salvage this wine my suggestion is give the first taste to someone you despise and see if they have uncontrolled flatulants and cramping for the rest of the night before you try it yourself.

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Old 04-10-2009, 07:17 PM   #6
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Thank you to everyone who replied and I apologize for the very belated response. Things have been hectic lately.

I ended up racking the 5 gallons of wine to a 5 gallon carboy. I didn't have my 5 gallon here when I racked it the first time into a 6.5 gallon carboy. This was my first batch of wine although I've done many beers, I was so used to a little extra headspace not ruining a beer that I didn't even think twice about what I was doing.

I tried to rack out from underneath the mold, but as soon as I lifted the carboy onto a table to begin siphoning, the mold sank into the wine where it was indistinguishable from the rest of the wine. I racked it anyway, and mixed in 6 crushed campden tablets. It's been over a week now and I don't see any mold in the now inch-tall headspace.

As for mold allergies... I don't know of any that I have. I've eaten incredibly moldy food more than once (it's a long story from my college days) and I'm still alive. I think I'll try a small sample one of these nights I don't have work the next morning. My fiancee is a nurse so I'll let her know my plan. Other than an allergic reaction, is there anything potentially lethal that could grow on fermented wine?

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Old 04-10-2009, 10:47 PM   #7
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I know there are no known pathogens that can grow in beer. I doubt wine is much different.

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Old 04-11-2009, 12:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-H View Post
Interesting concept, but, how do you make sure there isnt any headspace?
I always add a commercial wine that is close to what you are making to make up the difference in head space. It usually is not much so you don't have to put in much. For example when I make wine out of our concord grapes I use mogan david concord to make up the diff. Cheap and works.
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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Hi! I've been waiting on a batch of backyard grape wine for a couple months. When I racked it to a carboy, it was too big and it got some mold on the top like this person did. After reading this thread I added campden tablets and racked it into a smaller carboy, and the extra I racked directly into a few wine bottles. I let it sit for a few weeks so far, but now I am seeing what looks like mold on the bottom of the carboy and bottles.

Would you think this is mold again? (I can post a couple pics if that would help.) If so, is there any way I can save it? It would be such a shame to throw it, as I've put so many hours of work into it as the whole thing is made form scratch, and I've made wine from these grapes before and it was absolutely amazing..

Thanks for any advice you can give!

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Old 12-06-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Definitely post some pics. However, if it is on the bottom of the carboy/bottles it is more than likely just some of the lees falling out of suspension.

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