Red And White Stabilization
As mentioned previously, it’s about time to stabilize the Liebramilch and Valpolicella musts. Although not necessary, I decided to rack both wines at this stage as well, as it helps to remove sediment.
First, I started with the white Liebframilch, racked from the carboy into a pail and added Potassium Sorbate. Potassium Sorbate is the salt of sorbic acid, and is used to inhibit further growth of the yeast. In other words, we’re stopping the fermentation process when adding potassium sorbate.
The Liebramilch kit came with a liquid fining agent – fining agents are used to “clarify” the wine, and in winemaking, this is generally made of Isinglass.
The Specific Gravity of the Liebramilch was 0.992, less than what it was two days ago. So I’m looking at quite a dry wine here when it’s finally bottled.
After mixing in the potassium sorbate and liquid isinglass, I racked the wine back into the carboy, topped it up with a bit of water, and we’ll let it sit now for another two weeks. There should be observable clearing of the wine in the next day or two as well.
The same steps were pretty much carried out with the Valpolicella, except that I also added sulphite. Sulphite will help to assure that the wine is “sanitized” so that no bacteria will grow in it, as well as act as an antioxidant. Camden tablets are also available, which are made of sodium metabisulphite. Some people are allergic to sulphites – folks who get headaches after drinking red wine, for example.
Therefore, it’s best to use as little sulphite as possible – one way of doing this is to increase the acidity of the wine with citric acid. The higher the acid level, the less sulphite that is required to do the same job.
If you enjoy red wine, but find you get headaches after drinking it, you just might want to try making your own, and foregoing the sulphite.
The red wine could be bottled in about 7 days from now – the white will be about 14 days. I could also bulk age the red longer (and the white for that matter), but I’ll likely bottle it next week.
Another possibility if I can find more gallon jugs is to bottle some of the red, and bulk age some smaller quantities. I haven’t decided yet
I have a really cool floor size corking tool, which I’ll snap some pictures of next week during bottling.
I was going to start a raspberry batch this evening, but racking 10 gallons of wine, cleaning the carboys, then racking again back into the carboys was enough for me.
I think with the rasbperry, I’ll crush the fruit in a nylon type of bag instead of just mixing in the sugar water solution directly with the fruit like I did with the blueberry batch. It will make it much easier to get the specific gravity readings rather than try to strain the bits of fruit from the liquid. A nylon stocking will work fine for this – I have never bought nylon stockings before though!