I apologize for the lack of photos from each of the wine making stages. This is my first time making wine, so I really don’t want to screw up a batch. Also the whole cleaning and sanitizing part of this process makes me want to keep from touching anything I don’t need to, and I was doing this without any assistance.

Last night had marked the tenth day the wine had sat in the carboy after the primary fermentation. The kit instructions called for cleaning and sanitizing (of course) the following equipment:

  • Spoon
  • Hydrometer
  • Wine thief
  • Wine whip (optional)

The wine whip is a drill mounted stirring device. I used it in the first step when mixing everything in the primary. In this step it is used both for mixing additives in the wine, as well as degassing the wine. You don’t want to have a fizzy, carbonated feeling in your mouth when you drink wine (unless it’s a sparkling) . First I had to take a specific gravity reading to ensure the wine has finished fermentation. It had, so on to the additives.

The wine kit came with three packages to add to the wine in this step. First thing was to dissolve the potassium metabisulphite (preservative) and potassium sorbate (stabilizer) in a half cup of cool water. Add that to the carboy and stir. Keep stirring. Don’t stop yet, there’s more stirring to go. Luckily I was using the wine whip.

One problem I encountered here was during the first racking, I think I may have siphoned too much of the wine over. Being a beginner at this I wanted to waste as little as possible, so I tried to get everything but the “sludge” from the primary. In doing so, I didn’t leave enough room for the additives! I used the thief to draw off a small amount and I put it in a glass. Once those were completely incorporated, I had to add the packet of chitosan. It’s a clear liquid, appears thicker than water, and is used to help clear out any sediment so you have a nice looking finished product.

The instructions tell you that if your wine isn’t fully degassed, it may not clear properly or completely. Draw a sample with the thief (half full), cap your hand over the top and give it a shake. If you hear a puff sound like when you open a carbonated drink container, you need to degass more. If the sample foams then dissipates with no puff, you’ve degassed enough. Top up the carboy with water to within 2 inches of the bung, replace the bung and airlock, and let it sit for another 8 days or so. I also replaced my heat belt to ensure the temperature was regulated.