How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

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How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151125Post Claripup
Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:46 pm

I'm making rhubarb wine and it's happily bubbling away in it's demijohn, but do I need to stop the fermentation or wait for it to stop by its self?

The only recipe I can find that deals with when to add the campden tablets recommends the use of a hydrometer... which I don't have and really don't want to buy until I'm sure I'm going to carry one wine making...

I'm hoping for a 'medium' wine, but I'm assuming once I have added the campden tablets I can throw in more sugar if it's too dry and it wont cause it to ferment... or will my bottles explode?

Pleae help the wine making newbie :?

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151156Post red
Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:00 pm

nothing stopping you tasting it before it hs stopped working. Personally I let all my wines work out completely before bottling, so don't have any experience with adding campden tabs
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151192Post pumpy
Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:07 pm

If you want to maintain the rhubarb flavour, wait 'til fermentation has finished. For a slightly more medium (hock) flavour, then you need to add one crushed Camden tablet in the early stages.
it's either one or the other, or neither of the two.

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151199Post Claripup
Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:31 pm

Well thanks both of you... I guess I'll just leave it to go then - I definitely want the rhubarb flavour in the wine... 'Twill be an interesting experiment if nothing else :)

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151251Post happy place
Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:57 am

you mention andig sugar to sweeten thwe wine after fementation this runs the risk of a secondary fementation but according to my home brew book you can and sweetner to it with out this risk dont know wether this works cause i have never done it
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151346Post Claripup
Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:12 pm

I may try that... I'm not a fan of sweetners as a general rule, but I'm not a fan of dry wines either... and I really don't want exploding bottles!!

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 151731Post Andy Hamilton
Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:24 pm

You could always borrow a hydrometer. If you joinwww.justfortheloveofit.org set it to your area then you can send an email to everyone in your area and ask them if they can lend you one.
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 154946Post gdb
Sun May 24, 2009 10:44 pm

the only way to know if the wine is ready is to drink it all.

if it was nice, it was ready.

if it wasnt so nice, it wasnt quite ready.

if it was awful, better luck next year!
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 155090Post CyberPaddy66
Tue May 26, 2009 11:21 am

No bubbles through your airlock means it's finished fermenting, a slow bubbling through the airlock means there's still some residual sweetness in your wine and you'll have to 'guess' when it's ready without the hydrometer (I fully recommend yo get one as once you try home made wine you'll be brewing more and more of it ;))

Bottling your wine should be done any time after the wine has cleared fully.

Maturing wine in the Demijohn is the best way of ensuring it's ready to bottle, 3 months is a minimum age according to most brewers I've chatted with for maturing a wine, simply leave your wine in the Demijohn for 3 months and then rack it into another clean Demijohn to de-gas it before bottling.

De-gassing will remove that slightly fizzy acid taste you get in wine that has a little bit of sparkle and ensures you don't end up making bottle bombs :lol:

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them for you :D

Can you post your recipe please?
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 155223Post Zaf
Wed May 27, 2009 11:39 am

mine rarely gets bottled, I sort of taste it to see if its OK and it gets drunk (hic)

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 159604Post oldhaus
Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:11 pm

when the bubbleing in the airlock finally stops. Don't be afraid to rack you wine a few times, and make sure it is clear. Gravity is the best thing for that.

good luck!

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 159606Post MKG
Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:06 pm

Hmmmm - the old question rears its head. :lol:

The only safe time to bottle your wine is when there's not a single cell of yeast left in it. That applies whether it's (apparently) dry or has residual sugar left in it. Any remaining yeast can (and probably will) start a referment which will produce carbon dioxide and therefore pressurise the bottle and run the risk of explosions.

So, how can you be sure?

The easiest and safest way is to allow any wine to ferment out to complete dryness and then store the wine in bulk (rack it - repeatedly- to get it off the deposit and then store it in a demijohn or larger container, with minimal airspace above it and under an airlock. If it goes through a complete cycle of seasons (that's a year) without restarting, you're probably safe to bottle.

If you want to retain some sweetness (although the best idea is to add sugar much later when you're sure you've de-yeasted successfully), then you're into the game of stopping the fermentation with the use of metabisulphite (and, if you want to be really sure, sorbate).

I've noticed that so many people want to rush to the bottling stage. What for? Wine matures better and more quickly in bulk, and the older it gets without throwing an extra deposit, the more sure you can be that all the yeast has gone. The time to bottle is when you can say to yourself "Yes, I'm going to start drinking that in three months' time". There's no great advantage in keeping wine in bottles for much longer than that (and I don't care how good it is).

So, back to your question - when is it time to bottle? When you haven't seen so much as a hint of a bubble for months, when the wine is star bright and has no deposit, when a hot season has been gone through with no yeast resurrection AND when you're beginning to think about drinking it. If you can't meet those criteria, decant it straight out of the demijohn and enjoy it (but remember that you'll have to get rid of the whole gallon within a week or so - what a trial!!!!)

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 159610Post ina
Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:09 pm

Last weekend, I finished last year's rhubarb wine - never got round to bottling it. Nothing wrong with drinking it straight from the demijohn... (OK, OK, I did use a glass!)

And just now I'm on my first glass of raspberry - a bit too sweet for my taste, but slightly fizzy and very raspberry-ish, so I think I'll just carry on drinking... :drunken: Why bother bottling? Just more washing up to do! :mrgreen:
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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 165102Post Claripup
Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:02 pm

You used a glass!! How dare you make washing up!! :lol:

Personally I have been leaving it the demijohns and drinking straight from them (yes I use a glass too) But I find this makes for a very dry wine... and if the airlock dries out a very manky wine!!

My rhubarb wine is sooooooo dry and tastes more of alcohol than rhubarb... but is very nice with a drop or two of elderflower cordial in it (also home made)

I still would love to know how to make a semi sweet wine without using a load of chemicals or have bottles go bang :shock:

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Re: How do I know when my wine is ready to be bottled?

Post: # 165127Post ina
Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:11 am

Claripup wrote:You used a glass!! How dare you make washing up!! :lol:
:oops:
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