Degassing your wine is an essential part of wine making. Learn why and how to degass properly.
Degassing your wine properly is a very important step in wine making. We all know that it is yeast that causes wine to ferment, but how does this happen? Yeast needs two things to survive; oxygen and sugar. (Sugar is naturally present in all grape juice and grape juice concentrates). Providing these two items are present, your yeast will go to work transforming the natural sugars in your grape must into alcohol. During this process one of the by-products is carbon dioxide (CO2, also commonly know as “gas”). If you do not properly “degas” your wine before bottling you will end up with a carbonated wine, which will most definitely be unpleasant to drink.
Before degassing your wine you must first wait until the fermentation is completely finished. Do this by taking a specific gravity (SG) reading. Your wine should finish at a reading of between .996 and .990. When this range is reached and the SG remains unchanged for 2-3 days the fermentation is complete. At this point, our instructions recommend that you transfer the wine into a primary fermenter. The reason for this is to make degassing easier. If you prefer to transfer directly to another carboy, feel free to do so. Because every batch of wine is unique, the amount of CO2 in every batch you make will be different. For this reason, the time it takes to degas will vary.
Sometimes, you will degas in a couple of hours or occasionally it could take as long as three days. Proceed by vigorously stirring your wine for 2-3 minutes. Notice that the wine foams up and bubbles. Allow it to settle and repeat as many times as is needed to release all the CO2. When all the CO2 is released, the wine will still bubble a little from the agitation but, it will be considerably less and there will be no foaming up. Important: when degassing is completed, immediately go to the next step in your instructions. It is at this point that your wine becomes very susceptible to oxidization, therefore do not leave it sitting in the primary or even in a carboy with any air space. Add your stabilizers (#2 pack) and clarifiers as instructed, then top up right away. (If you were degassing in a primary you must first transfer to a carboy).
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