Step 11: Fermenting your wine

Picture of Fermenting your wine
Place it somewhere relatively cool (65-75F) and out of the way. Animals and kids love to play with the airlock, so it's best in the bottom of a closet, out of the way.

Check your airlock occasionally and make sure it is still firmly attached, especially the first few days. "DO NOT REMOVE IT."

Check often to see if the sanitized liquid is gone from the commercial or tubing airlocks. Refill it if needed.

If the foam gunks up into any of them, do not panic. Remove them, clean them off, sanitize, and place them back on. That gunk has a layer of CO2 keeping the air out.
I keep a spare airlock for just this reason.

You may smell a something akin to a "Rhino Fart" Don't worry. It will dissipate in time.

Leave it there for about 4-5 weeks. Once it becomes clear, it's ready for tasting and drinking. Some wines are quicker, some require longer. The key is to wait until it clears up.

One exception is that if you used anything other than wine yeast, it may not clear up. You can generally expect it to be done at 4 weeks then.

You can use other equipment to judge if it is done, but that is another tool you'd need to buy.
Will contamination be entirely obvious? I have a batch that smells like sour but very wine-like. Also can accidental ingestion of contaminated wine be deadly?
walt19735 years ago
Question: Will it get clear even if I used cider which is murky, and not apple juice? thank you for this tutorial by the way.
Seakip18 (author)  walt19735 years ago
With fresh fruits or unfiltered products, this is typically a "pectin haze" and you add pectic enzyme to increase juice yield and remove the haze. If I remember correctly, though, it should not affect the taste in anyway. Just give it a cloudy appearance. If you have already fermented the cider, I'd give it a few weeks of cool aging(55F-62F) and see if that helps. If not, you can use clarifiers such as kiesol and isinglass to clarify.
Question for the author: If you are using the Balloon method do you still need to use, and monitor the airlock?
Seakip18 (author)  KillerSANDWICH6 years ago
It's an either or situation. Normally, if you the balloon method, you use a rubber band around the neck of the container and you really can't monitor it's activity. With the commercial airlock, you fill it with sanitizing liquid and it acts as a buffer between the two air pressures. No matter what method you use, still check the airlock and make sure it hasn't slipped off or gotten filled with gunk.