The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Stabilizing and Clearing

Luckily I had not been told yet to read and follow the directions exactly, and so I waited more than the 10 days indicated in the instructions to do the next step:  stabilizing and clearing.  I didn’t want to cut the time short, and I really only had time to deal with the wine on the weekend, so I waited 2 weeks before tackling the next step.  It turns out it’s OK, there is some flexibility to winemaking.

SC packs At this stage several things happen.  The juice is completely fermented to wine now, and the final SG is generally <1.  My SG was at 0.992, giving me a final alcohol by volume of 13.1% — not bad.  After confirming that the wine is fermented to dryness, a couple of things are added to the wine:  metabisulfate and sorbate are dissolved in 1/2 cup water, I use the filtered water from the fridge and warm it a little in the microwave so the powders will dissolve.  This is then added to the wine and you are supposed to stir “vigorously” for 2 minutes.  I only had my big spoon at this point, but had recently read about a drill-driven stirrer.  After stirring as fast as I could for 2 minutes, I went and ordered one – 2 minutes is a long time to stir by hand!

And the stirring wasn’t over yet!  Next the packet of clarifier – chitosan in this kit – was poured in, followed by ANOTHER 2 minutes of stirring.  Oi!  But, that was all of the stirring finally.  Now the wine needs to be topped up so that the wine is a the level of the carboy neck, so there is minimal contact with air.  The instructions say to use cool water or reserved wine if available.  I didn’t have any reserved, and it did not occur to me until later that I could use a commercial finished wine, so I added about a cup of water to top.

topped up carboy

More waiting ……