Why is my wine so carbonated and bubbly? (with a video)

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Zurd

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Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11SGVVEN25bGtrMp-CzMMvfuGKPeYYXWu/view?usp=sharing

Well, title says it all, why is my wine so carbonated and with so much foam? It tastes fine, just like usual, foam is not really a problem but I'm curious.

You can see the date and hour at the bottom right but "2021-03-01" should be "2021-03-06". I have two tests in the video: "Argentia Ridge - White Zinfandel" and "Argentia Ridge - Pinot Noir". It's a long video but you can easily skip and see the foam and the bubbles in the bottles (harder to see with red wine though).

I don't understand, I keep shaking them and they keep making bubbles. At least with a 7-up, it stops doing foam and bubbles at some point but not my wine.

Lower the volume and check at 14:40, you can hear all the bubbles! I clean my bottles with a vinator and a small amount of Star-San which makes a lot of foam but it doesn't make bubbles.

See also the end completely, I stir with a drill for at least 5 minutes on and off at the secondary fermentation stage.

I haven't tested with a wine bottle from the store to shake it but I highly doubt it will do bubbly foam like that.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Zurd. A few things to consider:
1. When you make wine half HALF the weight of the sugar is converted into CO2. That means if there was the equivalent of say, 10 lbs of fermentable sugar in solution before you pitched the yeast, FIVE pounds of CO2 will be produced by the time active fermentation has ended. That's a great deal of gas.
2. If you begin fermentation in a carboy sealed with a bung and an airlock much of that volume of CO2 is going to be saturating your wine. That is one reason why many seasoned wine makers use a large mouthed food grade bucket loosely covered with a cloth as their primary. All gas produced is then free to escape over the entire surface of the wine.
Stirring for five minutes might remove a few ounces of the gas but the amount of saturated gas is much greater than you imagine and it can take months for the gas to slowly escape by itself. Months. You might want to gently increase the temperature of the wine by a few degrees (only a few degrees) to help force out the gas as you stir. Pulling a vacuum might also help.
3. A question: what was the final gravity when you bottled? Are you absolutely certain that no fermentation was taking place , however, slowly, in the bottle? Less likely , but still possible, with a white wine , what about MLF? You stabilized the wine before bottling or filtered to remove every last yeast cell or you are confident that not one molecule of fermentable sugar was left in the wine?
4. Rough surfaces in the glass can create points of nucleation and points of nucleation allow gas to gather using less energy than they would otherwise need and when the gas gathers it can form relatively large bubbles (although "large" in this context can be quite small) and as "large" gatherings of gas they fall out of suspension with the saturated liquid unable to hold on to this gas.
So , four things to think about by way of explanation why your wine is not acting like 7-up.
 
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Zurd

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Wow, excellent explanation, thank you so much.

I don't know how much sugar there is, not written anywhere, it's a 7 liters concentrated grape juice that makes 30 bottles of 750ml. For sure there must be a lot of sugar in it, just don't know how much exactly.

I do everything in a bucket, no carboy, primary and secondary, however, it is sealed with an airlock so as you say, this is making the CO2 saturating my wine.

I'm not going to stir for months, that is for sure ahah I saw the vacuum technique before, very interesting, I'm just lazy when I make my wine, not going to bother with this.

I haven't taken a reading of gravity for a long time, been making wine for over 10 years and it's always the same thing. Original is always around 1.086 and ends at around 0.994, total % is always around 12.x

There might be fermentation in the bottle at the end, it's possible, kind of impossible to confirm. I'd have to take a gravity reading before bottling then another reading like 2 weeks after with the bottle. Never done that before.

For stabilization, I rack the bucket to another bucket to leave the sediments alone, then I just add chitosan, kieselsol, potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulphite, stir it for a good 5 minutes and wait another 2 weeks alone in the bucket with an airlock.

I think the biggest problem is the airlock, like you say, it's possible to just cover the bucket with a cloth or I also learned recently you can just put a lid loosely on the bucket, no airlock, no hole in the middle of the lid. Then all the CO2 will go out. My local brew store has been doing this for 25 years.
 

bernardsmith

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You are very welcome.
Could be the cause of the excess gas is the amount of gas that is saturated in the wine but to me the bigger problem is that you are not making any determination that all the sugar has been fermented out. If it's not finished fermenting and if it's still producing ethanol and CO2 then you are trying to empty the ocean teaspoon by teaspoon.

I understand that you added stabilizers, but are you simply using the kit maker's suggested timeline for when your wine is likely ready to bottle? But the kit maker has no good sense of the temperature at which you are fermenting; the number of viable yeast cells in your wine; whether the water you used to dilute the concentrate has any chemicals in it that may hobble or kill the yeast etc etc and time is not something with which east have any acquaintance.

Given your alleged starting gravity (and if you do not measure this you really have no good idea other than the fact that a) you trust the kit maker and b) you are confident that the amount of water you added was an accurate estimation of what the kit maker suggested you add to achieve the SG at which they suggest you pitch the yeast).

Seems to me that the bigger issue is that you are driving on the interstate at night with no lights and with your eyes closed. You may have a great sense of direction but you have no good way of knowing what the other drivers are doing and how clear the road ahead is and what obstacles you may need to avoid... It's your wine, of course, and it's your winery and protocol... but I don't know how you can make a wine without monitoring what's happening.
 
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Zurd

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For the next batch, I'll record the gravity at start, end and then after 1-2 weeks in the bottle. That way we will know if there is still fermentation going on because the gravity will be lower at the third reading. I will also do another test with another batch with the lid loose on the bucket, no airlock and see if that makes a difference. Who knows, maybe I'm missing on something I don't know.

I'm kind of using the kit maker's suggested timeline but more important, I'm using my timeline, sometimes it's ready for the next step but I'm busy and just leave it there for a few more days until I'm free. Note that my test with the foamy red wine has been in the secondary fermentation bucket for 21 days (plus 13 days in primary plus 18 days in the bottle), still a lot of bubbly foam however :)

Yes, that is how I drive, like I said, been making wine for over 10 years, prolly 14, never ruined one, always tasted fine, never had an issue.

Bubbly foam ain't an issue, my wine doesn't taste like sparkling wine, it's just a curiosity. I wonder if other people out there has a lot of foam like I do when they shake their bottles? Maybe I have the record of the most foamy wine? :)
 

bernardsmith

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But you don't need to check after you bottle the wine. Just as you are ready to bottle check the gravity and then a week later the gravity again. If it has not changed whatsoever AND if that gravity suggests that the wine has just about no fermentable sugars (remember - water is 1.000 but wine is likely to be below 1.000 - possibly .998 or .996 or even .994 and it is rock steady over a few days at that level then you can reasonably assume that there is no more fermentable sugar for the yeast to consume. If the gravity drops even a fraction of a point between the two readings that tells you that they yeast are still gorging on the remaining sugars and you should not be bottling.
That said, "foam" rather than bubbles suggests the presence of proteins (think a head on a beer). Fruit wines tend not to have enough protein to trap the CO2 in the way that grains do (think bread flour and gluten). It may be that the foam is coming from something you are washing your equipment with (soap?) but even cleansers like Starsan that appear to leave some froth break down without leaving any foam. (I think they reduce to water and peroxide).
 

Barbarossa

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I bought a degassing rod to aerate my beer wort before pitching in the yeast. I believe it's called degassing because people uses it in their wine to remove the CO2.
 

bernardsmith

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If you add 1 lb of sugar to make a gallon of syrup the gravity reading of the water will rise from 1.000 to about 1.040, so if your must (the juice before you add the yeast) tends to be around 1.090 then that tells you there is the equivalent of about 2.25 lbs of fermentable sugar in solution and all other things being equal that wine will finish dry at about 12% ABV
 
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Zurd

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Ok I have a batch of Pinot Grigo that I started 02-13, did the raking and secondary fermentation on 03-07 so 22 days later. Now 4 days later the gravity is at 0.996. I'll wait and do another reading, we will know if there's still some fermentation going on.
 

Stavrose

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It's yeast by products. Yeast produces CO2 and alcohol etc. When the wine is about to be come dry, the fermentation slows down and you can still get CO2 coming up, even when it's dry, the left over takes time to be release.
I've started making red wine and white wine on 27th February, for red wine, took it 8 days to becomes dry, white wine 14 days ( No idea). I racked them 2-3 times I still have some CO2 inside. Every time you rack them, the release gas, just by racking them, also cold temperature helps to release but also takes time.
 
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Zurd

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Bottling done, gravity is 0.994 after 24 days. So it dropped 0.002 but the reading is not digital, it can be plus or minus 0.001, I would say there is little to no fermentation going on. Or at least, not enough to make this wine so foamy and bubbly.

The point #2 from bernardsmith makes sense to me: the wine is saturated with CO2 because I'm using an airlock, nothing can escape. So I just started the next test, a new batch of Pinot Noir with no airlock and a lid with no hole just loosely put on top. Gas should then be able to espace from the side for the whole fermentation. This batch started at 1.082. I will report back later.

I don't think my wine is exceptionally foamy and bubble however. I'm curious if anyone can do the same test as my video, just shake the bottle and see what it does. I expect it will be quite similar to what I have.
 
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