Post-fermentation tips

Well, you’ve done it – you’ve miraculously turned grape juice into wine.

Brix are at or below 0 when checking on the hydrometer, and it’s time to wrap things up and get your wine on its way to becoming the delicious end result you’ve dreamed of! So what to do first?

Rack your wine off of the gross lees. If you made red wine you’ll be pressing, letting it sit for 1-2 days, and then racking off the heavy gross lees that settle to the bottom. If it’s white wine, there is of course no pressing to be done so you can just rack it right off whatever has settled to the bottom.

Move your wine into your aging vessel of choice. This could be a carboy, tank, barrel… wherever it will live for the next few months, move it there. Make sure there isn’t head space – oxygen is not your friend here.

Check pH and TA. These numbers will have changed during the fermentation, so your current numbers are different than the ones you logged when your fruit or juice first came in. It’s important to know these numbers, as they will dictate your SO2 adds, aging, and storage conditions.

Taste your wine! Think of this as the wine’s infancy. It’s not going to taste exactly how it will after some aging, but the potential will be there. Get used to how newly made wine tastes.

Is your wine going through MLF? If so, let it complete. You can check its progress using paper chromatography

Add SO2 as soon as MLF has completed. This is imperative and keeps your wine protected.

Campden tablets contain SO2 which serves as protection for the wine from oxygen and microbial spoilage

Clarification. If using clarification or fining agents to help clear your wine. Similarly, you can let it settle and continuously rack it over time.

Filtration. Help clear your wine so it will sparkle in the glass! While this step is not entirely necessary, it will give the wine clarity as well as helping with microbial stability by eliminating any bacteria that may be present.