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Winemaking Tutorial - Lesson Six

Stabilizing and Clearing

Now that your wine has completed secondary fermentation (SG below 0.998), let's put in the rest of the additives that are found in our wine kit.

  1. Ensure your SG is below 0.998 before continuing.
    NOTE: for makers of Cellar Classic Barolo, Bella Bianco and Shiraz kits only: Your wine will have a final SG between 0.9999 and 1.004. This is normal. If your kit is within this range, you may proceed.
  2. Sanitize and rinse the siphon rod/AutoSiphon, siphon hose, primary fermenter bucket, measuring cup and spoon.
  3. Draw 2 cups of wine from the carboy and reserve.
  4. Carefully rack your wine from the carboy to the primary fermenter.
    NOTE: The directions that come with the kit tell you to add the chemicals while the wine is still in the carboy. Believe us, it is MUCH easier to mix these chemicals into your wine if the wine is in the bucket versus the carboy. This also gives you a chance to remove the sediment from the bottom of the carboy.
  5. Add the sulfite package (Pkg #2A) to the primary fermenter and stir vigorously until dissolved. This would be a great time to use your Fizz-X Mixer!
  6. Add Pkg #2B - the potassium sorbate - (if your kit contains 2 packages, add both) to the primary fermenter and stir vigorously until dissolved. At this point, your wine will likely foam a little bit. Don't be alarmed... it's OK!
    NOTE: If your wine kit includes a finishing blend or sweetening blend, please refer to label instructions and add now.
  7. Add Pkg #3 Isinglass to 1/4 cup of cold water and allow to rehydrate for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the Isinglass solution to the primary fermenter, rinse cup with reserved wine and add to the primary fermenter. Stir vigorously.
  9. Wait 15 minutes and again stir vigorously for 2 minutes. Stirring helps drive off the CO2 gas that may be trapped in the wine as a result of fermentation.
  10. Rack your wine from the primary fermenter to a clean, sanitized and rinsed carboy.
  11. Top up the carboy to within 2 inches of the bottom of the airlock with a similar wine or cooled, boiled water.
  12. Place the carboy in a cool area (15-19°C/60-68°F). Raise the carboy to an elevated position to avoid disturbing the sediment the next time you rack.
  13. Fill the airlock half-way with water. Attach the bung and airlock to the mouth of the carboy. Ensure the level of liquid is within 2 inches of the bottom of the bung.
  14. Stir wine vigorously in carboy twice daily for the next 3 days to remove as much carbon dioxide gas as possible. Don't forget to replace the airlock and bung after each stirring!
  15. The wine will begin to clear over the following week, leaving sediment on the bottom of the carboy. After seven days of clearing (or ten days if making a Cellar Classic, Cru Select, or Bolero kit), you have the option to rack the wine to another sanitized and rinsed carboy, top it up, and attach the airlock and bung. If you only have one carboy, feel free to rack the wine temporarily into a sanitized fementer bucket while you clean out the sediment from the carboy. Then just rack the wine back into the carboy.
  16. For a Vino Del Vida or Grand Cru kit, allow the wine to sit under airlock another seven to twelve days (until at least day 28) to finish clearing, ensuring the carboy is in a cool area (15-19°C/60-68°F) as before. For Cellar Classic, Cru Select, En Primeur, or Bolero Kits, allow the wine to sit under airlock for another 18 to 23 days (until at least day 42).
    NOTE: We know it's difficult, but try not to be in a rush to to bottle your wine. If you can hold off bottling for at least another week or two (a month would be even better), you will be rewarded with a better flavor and body.


In the next lesson, we'll do one final racking and then bottle our wine.

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