Wine Making – Part Deux

Hi, Wine Lovers!

Since we last posted we racked our wine.

That is not to say that it went as smoothy as it could. Yours truly is not exactly a non-clutz, so there was some wine-thief spillage that sullied the table, my initial SG readings and dining room walls, but hey…you live and learn, right?

So last Tuesday was when I posted about what we had done to that point.

You have NO idea how good this smelled!

You have NO idea how good this smelled!

Wednesday was when we actually racked the wine.

Now, wine racking is up for debate on the Glorious InterWebz. Some sites say you want to rack and re-rack several times over the life of your secondary fermentation. Some sites say you don’t want to re-rack at all. Now… MY DAD SAYS (and you know that most Daddy’s Girls are going to listen to what their fathers say) that repeated that re-racking is unnecessary. (Yay, Dad, because, OMG, what a pain in the ass would that be…and, never mind messy…especially since wine thieves spill really easily. Just sayin’)

So the night after we last posted, I pulled a sample of juice from the must (yanno, after redecorating the immediate vicinity in purple because the wine thief can be messy if you’re like me), and the specific gravity was 1.10, which was on the 5th day, and when our “recipe” said we should rack, and it seems that all the planets aligned correctly. However, when I saw that SG level, I also read that the potential alcohol was at 0%. Yes, that’s right; ZERO percent. Not a wine lover’s ideal potential alcohol level. Like….AT. ALL.

Having never done this before, I figured we’d just rack and let the secondary fermentation do its thing, except that the air lock bubbled, like, once every few hours. Where the hell was my dad? Yeah, I know he had said he was going on vacation to the Panama Canal, but, OMG, how much canal can you see in a month (okay, so maybe only three or so weeks, lol)?

I had left two, maybe three (maybe twelve?) voicemails asking him to call me because I was seriously worried about a potential alcohol level of zero. (Wouldn’t you be? I mean, c’mon…don’t judge. If you’re making wine, you obviously aren’t making grape juice, okay?)

So this brings us to present. Dad called me tonight and I regaled all that I just told you and he was totally okay with what I told him.

To date?

  • 6 gallon carboy;
  • 5 gallons (+/- a few cups) of actual purple stuff; (spillage, people…sorry!)
  • Air lock that hasn’t really DONE anything since we racked last Wednesday night;
  • A whole lot of space in the carboy; see picture above.

So I told Dad everything to date, and he assured me that things are okay. I told him that I could find any answer I wanted on the Glorious InterWebz, and that I have seen everything from use-spring-water-to-use-distilled-water-to-use-tap-water, and I was just blown away by all of it.

He assured me that this was going to be a taste and adjust process from this point forward kind of thing.


It was dry; it had terrific flavor, but it also lacked alcohol.

It was dry; it had terrific flavor, but it also lacked alcohol.

What he recommended was that I steal a bit of wine from the carboy and taste it, and if it didn’t taste, um, “boozy” enough, that I should add some sugar; about a cup per gallon since the fermentation seemed to have come to a halt.

Which I did, because, while it had a really nice flavor, it was almost too dry, and didn’t have the alcohol content I am used to when drinking even a really dry red.

So, per his instructions, I added a cup of sugar per gallon (just under five) and replaced the air lock.

He recommended I wait a week and re-taste-test. So this is going to be a “hurry up and wait” scenario.

So, several hours after adding the sugar to the mix, nothing happened, so I called him back. He told me to quit stressing, and I’m totally down with that. He said that it would take a while for the sugar to intermingle and do what it does with the remaining yeast in the “wine” and to taste again in a week or two. So fingers crossed that we didn’t totally blow our first batch. 🙂

I’ll keep ya posted…

Until next time….

*Quickie update: this morning I got up and found the airlock bubbling away like crazy. This is why I tend to listen to my dad. 😉

About Julie the Workaholic

Mom of three (grown) sons and one (grown) step-daughter, wife of one, friend of many, and owned by seven 4-legged critters, writer, photographer, friend, huge fan of life, and most of all, lover of all things beautiful .….Getting healthy, and hoping to make a dent in the world in a most positive way! (And then there's my alter-ego, the Workaholic, who is me, just unfiltered.)
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13 Responses to Wine Making – Part Deux

  1. Pingback: DIY December III – The Wine Edition | Random Musings From a Type-A Workaholic

  2. Aussa Lorens says:

    Oooh I’m jealous. We should be neighbors 😉

  3. janeybgood says:

    That is so cool! Also, I kinda want to live in that giant bottle thing*

    *You can probably tell I’m not an expert wine maker

  4. silverliningsanddustbunnies says:

    You are one brave lady! I have a great big carboy I used for making “Huckleberry Brandy” a few times (slurp!) But that’s nothing like what you’re doing. With my recipe you start with VODKA, sugar and fruit, so there is no prob with the alcohol content right from first sampling! But messsssy! I’m looking forward to more of your adventures.

    • Thank you! My dad said it was easy and fun, and once I got past the intimidation factor, I found out he was right. Huckleberry brandy sounds good! I also want to try to make lemoncelo, (sp?) Over the winter. 🙂

  5. weight2lose2013 says:

    God, you and Squirreling Dervish are going to get lit once the wine is done! I’m sure that it’s going to be great once it’s done. You should have custom labels made for your bottles!

  6. Keep testing and testing >>hic<< and testing

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