The fermentation process when making wine can take quite a while. So, how do you know when it’s ready to drink? This of course will depend upon the type of fruit being used, as well as the type of wine you are making. However, there are some general tips you can follow to determine when your wine is ready to drink.
Here, we’ll look at the best ways to tell when your homemade wine has fermented.
Look Out for Visual Clues
When your wine is ready to be bottled, there are some visual clues you can look out for. If the wine is still fermenting, you’ll see tiny bubbles floating to the top of the wine. You might also see bits of fruit moving throughout the wine.
If you are utilizing an airlock, the bubbles you see in the wine could point to the pressure inside the vessel being higher than outside. While looking out for bubbles in the wine isn’t always a good representation of when it is ready, it is a good starting point.
So, if there are bubbles continuously rising to the surface, your wine isn’t ready.
Measure Its Specific Gravity
Using a refractometer or a hydrometer, you can measure the specific gravity of the wine. You’ll need to measure the levels in the wine frequently, ensuring they are the same before you bottle it. It is best to do this over the course of a week.
If you get consistent readings for a week, it’s likely the wine is ready.
Don’t Rely on Bubbling
We mentioned earlier that bubbling can be a good indicator of when wine is ready. However, it’s important to not just rely on the bubbling effect. This is because the bubbling can stop and start intermittently. This is referred to as stuck fermentation.
If the bubbling stops and you bottle the wine, it could start the fermentation process again in the bottle. There would be nowhere for the CO2 to go, which would push the cork out of the bottle.
It’s All About the Sugar
So, if bubbling isn’t a reliable indicator, what is? The sugar content is what you mainly want to look out for. You can use a wine hydrometer to see whether there are any sugars still remaining.
You’ll need to find out how to use the hydrometer correctly. You’ll find instructional videos online you can follow to learn everything you need to know.
Aging the Wine
Remember, even when the fermentation process is complete, it still might not be ready. Most wines need to be aged for a specific timeframe before they are bottled. This gives them the best flavor. So, be sure to leave the wine to age for the time period specified for the type of wine you are making.
Knowing when your wine is ready can be difficult for beginners. The above are the basic things to look out for. Before making wine, it’s important to learn everything there is to know to ensure it turns out perfectly.