Winemaking 101 – Episode 6 A – the 2019 second run wine!

I decided before I ordered the 2019 grapes that I was going to make a second run. As I stated in Episode 5, there’s no reason to not make a second run.

Starting the Second Run

Wine Press in Action

Wine Press in Action

I lightly pressed the Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel — this produced 11 (Merlot), 12 (Zinfandel) and 13 (Malbec) gallons of wine.

Note: This doesn’t mean I’ll get 13 gallons of wine from the Malbec. There is still a fair amount of sediment that will drop so it’s likely the final amount will be 12 gallons. Yes, about 10% is sediment and/or lost in racking the wines. This is normal.

My original intention was to ferment the three second run batches separately, and possibly blend.

In each of the primary fermenters I put 5 gallons of hot tap water, and dissolved 10 lbs sugar, 3 tsp acid blend, 3 tsp Fermax (yeast nutrient and energizer), and then stirred in the pomace. I checked the SG on each and it was very low. 10 lbs of sugar should have produced a good SG, but this was way low. So I purchased another 10 lbs of sugar and divided it between the three, e.g., each fermenter received 3 lbs 4 oz.

Second Run Wine

Second Run Wine

I stirred the heck out of each (this is a thick mixture, it’s hard to stir), and checked each batch’s SG several times. I got consistent results that were exactly what I wanted, so I called it good.

Two days later all three were fermenting like crazy. I checked pH and it was high, so I added another 1 tsp acid blend to each batch.

Note: I later reviewed pH information and discovered it’s not accurate during fermentation. My reading was off but the wine tastes good, so it’s fine.

When the SG reach 1.002 I pressed each batch to get 5 gallons.

Judgment Call

I switched plans at this point. I have a 54 liter demijohn (14.25 gallons) sitting empty. Instead of buying three new 5 gallons carboys to keep them separate, I blended the 3 wines and put into the demijohn with a gallon left over.

During this process I hard pressed the pomace of each, producing roughly 7 gallons of wine, which I also blended. This went into my sole remaining carboy and two 4 liter jugs.

Yup, I went with what is called a “field blend” instead of a judicious blend when the wine was done, for pragmatic reason. [I don’t feel bad about not spending $130 on new carboys!]

54 liter Demijohn

54 liter Demijohn

Stuck Fermentation

Unfortunately, the wine stuck at SG 1.000. Those who remember high school chemistry may recall this is the specific gravity of water. A dry red wine should have an SG between 0.990 and 0.998. I expected this one to be between 0.994 and 0.996.

It didn’t budge after a couple of weeks, so I added more yeast, but it didn’t budge. Nope, I have no clue why, although I wonder if there are unfermentable sugars in Walmart brand sugar, and that the yeast did do it’s thing.

The wine has a slightly sweet/fruity taste and I’m satisfied with it. My concern about the SG not dropping lower is that I won’t want fermentation to restart in the bottle. That will blow corks, make a mess, and waste wine.

So I’ll keep an eye on it.