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Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2008
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Spring, TX
Hi all,

I've just begun wine making as a hobby. I've got my must in the primary fermenter and will be racking to the secondary fermenter on Thursday or Friday. The temperature has been between 63 and 70 degrees and the must is only exposed to light when I stir it. Since my secondary fermenter is a glass carboy, how important is it to keep it from light and what temperature should I be keeping it in? I ask because I plan to rerack in about 3 months and again 3 months after that if need be. By then, it will be about June. In Texas, that's when it gets to be unbearably hot, lol. I can keep the secondary in a cooler then. I just need to know how cool to keep it. Thanks in advance.
Well, keep it in the dark for sure. As far as temperature, it depends on the yeast strain, but after fermentation is finished, I like to keep them cool if I can. It helps to clear the wine better.
During fermentation, it depends on the yeast, but most do well so long as they are kept between 60-80 degrees F. The lower range of which (60-65) will sometimes cause a more 'earthy' flavor, and the higher of the spectrum (75-80) will sometimes cause a more 'fruity' flavor to develop.
Once the wine has cleared, I try to keep it at 'cellar temperatures' (50-60), it helps to finish the clearing, and the wine seems to like it. :drunk:
First off, thanks to you both for responding. These will be very helpful.

I plan to rack this coming Friday or Saturday, depending on the current gravity. The gravity was 1.050 last night and had a starting gravity of 1.085 when i added the yeast this past Saturday. My understanding is that I should rack the secondary once the gravity of the must is 1.030. Hopefully by then, I'll have some sort of makeshift chiller to maintain a 50-60 degree 'environment'.

Also, I used 1/4 tsp of Redstar Cote de Blanc yeast that came with the starter kit. I didn't use the whole pack because I'm only making a gallon right now.

My next test will be EdWorts Apfelwein. Can't wait!
If this is only your first racking, then fermentation is still going. Depending on the recipe, give it 2-4 weeks in primary, then another month or two in secondary (until it clears enough to read a newspaper through the carboy). During this period, you will want to keep it in the 60-80 range.

Once it's cleared, that's when your would want to rack again into bulk aging, and move to the cellar (cooler temps).
Adolphus79 said:
give it 2-4 weeks in primary

The recipe calls for the must to sit in the primary for 4-5 days or when "violent fermentation" ceases. At that time, per the recipe, the must should have a gravity of 1.030. Should I still leave it in the primary for 2-4 weeks? Also, I've been stirring the must twice daily per the recipe instructions. I don't know it was in reference to keeping that yeast strain active or not. Should I continue to stir after, say, the 2nd week? Thanks so much for your help!

Adolphus79 said:
Once it's cleared, that's when your would want to rack again into bulk aging, and move to the cellar (cooler temps).

Sorry, no cellar/basement. I'm planning on making a fermentation chiller to regulate the temp.
I rack from the primary when the must is 1.020 or less, usually after about 5 days. Then I airlock it and still keep it in fermenting temperature range. I don't usually cool it down until long after fermentation is over, and it's been racked a time or two.

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