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Old 10-28-2006, 05:26 AM   #1
Oct 2006
Posts: 3

Hi all,

I have white and reg grapes growing on my property and usally I have just sold them to locals in my area. This year we didn't get anyone wanting to buy any so my father and I decided to give the wine making thing a try. So far we have picked, chopped, pressed and poured the juice into our demijohns to start fermenting.

Right now they are in the basement and the little caps on top are still bubbling away.

We want to sweeten the wine a bit and could use some help with the best ways to sweeten the wine, when to do it and how to do it. We have refined sugar and wine conditioner.

Our neighbor who makes wine says we should add sugar in now but is vague as to how much to use. He is saying to put one bag in the first demijohn and to add an extra 1/2 bag to the second and an extra bag to the third and an extra 1 1/2 bags to the fourth. Also we didn't add yeast as he directed us not too and the juice is fermenting just the same. Does sugar increase alcohol either by adding at the beginning or the end? We also have wine conditioner that per the label should be added after fermentation. It is to treat excessively harsh or dry wine and it also stops fermentation. Our demijohns are the small carboys 23 liter or 6 gallons. Any thought or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also before bottling should we filter the wine somehow or just siphon straight out from the demijohns with a small tube?

Any other advise or tips would be a lot of help as we really have no clue what we are doing here. Right now we are just winging it and seeing how it turns out.

Thanks in advance for any help. We really are going into this blind and could use some direction.

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Old 11-03-2006, 05:01 AM   #2
Sep 2005
Southwest Wisconsin
Posts: 37
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Wait until it stops and clears and has been stabilized before adding the sugar, then add until it tastes good to you will depend on the acid content and tannins present. If sugar was added now and the yeast is high alcohol tolerant it will just ferment, since its wild yeast there is not any info on the tolerance level of it.

Your neighbors method will work to stabilize, adding the enough sugar until the yeast poison themselves with alcohol, take gravity readings and add some more sugar and let it ferment out until it stops. Make the sugar into a syrup first, if you add it straight as granules co2 comes out of suspension and you will have a wine volcano.

Wine conditioner is glycerin, sugar and potasium sorbate, its used after your wine is done and must be used in the recomended amounts or there will not be enough sorbate to stop the yeast, it wont stop a active ferment either it just stops the yeast from multiplying any more and then eventually they get old and die off slowly.

If there is a malolactic fermentation going and sorbate is added you will have a strong germanium odor to it and will be undrinkable, so sulfites must be added to 50 ppm to prevent MLF. Since it is wild yeast i would be warry of adding sorbate, yeast are in there that means there are more bugs than that got in

Before you bottle make sure it is clear, pull a sample with a wine thief and go into a dimly lit room with a flashlight shine through it, the beam will light up and reflect off anything in the wine, if its clear shouldnt hardly see the beam at all.

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Old 11-05-2006, 01:58 AM   #3
Oct 2006
Posts: 3

That was a great read. Thank you very much for your help. Unfortunatly we added the sugar before the fermentation was fully done. It seems to have started to fermentate again because of this. It seems that we may have lost 2 demijohns already as they have a real sour smell comming from them. The other two smell great still. It's been about 4 or 5 days now since adding the sugar and the bubbling on top seems to be slowing right down again. So I guess with our experimentation this year only time will tell how we did.

Thanks again and I'll let you all know whow it turned out.

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Old 11-05-2006, 03:28 AM   #4
mmm beer
mmm beer's Avatar
Oct 2006
Tecumseh, Ontario
Posts: 101

You cant add sugar unless you first add sorbate. If you add sugar it will ferment, and you will end up with super alcohol wines. You used natural yeast so nobody can tell what the alcohol limits are to that yeast. Some yeasts die at different levels of alcohol. The conditioner is lactose an unfermentable sweetener, this would have been the prefered route.. I dont think that funky smell is any thing to worry about, let it pass. Try your wine in 4 or 5 months then add any conditioner to taste. Personaly I like my wine very dry and dont add any conditioner.
Primary 1:Hefe
Primary 2: nut brown ale
Secondary 1:
Secondary 2:
Drinking: anything i can get my hands on
Bottled: last to are off to my secret santa recipient
Kegged 1: guinness clone (all done now)
Kegged 2: black ale
Next up: american lager, nut brown ale, extra stout
going to do two batches this weekend

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