Originally Posted by Jon73
My wife is making her very first wine kit. We just transferred it into a 6.5 gallon carboy for the secondary fermentation. The kit calls for roughly 20 days. I've read a bunch of different posts dealing with this, but they are in the secondary for months, not weeks. Do we need to either top up with h2o or rack to a 5 gallon carboy or leave it alone? I make beer, not wine, so I have no clue which is the right way to go.
A second question is, why so long in the secondary? We hit the target gravity, so I can't see much left in the way of fermentation happening, and the clarifying stage isn't until after the secondary.
Thanks for any help.
That should be a 6 gallon wine kit- (all wine kits are, I believe), so a 5 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon carboy would work if you don't have a 6 gallon. You dont' want to top up to 6.5 gallons, as then you'd water down the wine. You also don't want to leave headspace when the directions tell you to top up.
The first part of secondary is when you degas the kit, and some headspace is fine. But after degassing, they tell you to top up. They are assuming you're using a 6 gallon carboy when they tell you that. After you add the finings, the wine will sit and clarify. You'll still drop some lees, so you don't want to bottle until it stops dropping lees.