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Fermenting White Table Wines

The basic process for making white table wines is as simple as it is universal. After the grapes are crushed and pressed, the juice is fermented in and enclosed container, free of air. Home winemakers typically ferment their white wines in partially filled carboys topped with an airlock.

After most of the sugar has fermented and the frothy stage of fermentation is past, the carboys are topped up and allowed to ferment to complete dryness.

After it is dry, the wine is clarified, the residual sugar and total acid are corrected, and it is bottled. The commercial winery will filter at least once in addition to gravity fining, and it may age the wine in oak casks for a period of time. But the procedure is otherwise the same for both.

But don't forget your Sterilizing Solution!

The first step in the new fermentation season should always be preparation of a of Star San (sanitizing solution) or sulfite solution. It is easier to always have a jug of sterilizing solution ready when racking or cleaning equipment than having to mix a new solution every time. It will be used repeatedly throughout the season. The exact concentration is not critical, so start with 3 tablespoons of potassium metabisufite and an optional 3 tablespoons of citric acid dissolved in a gallon of water.

Get fresh metabishulfite every year because it deteriorates. The solution can be reused; after rinsing out a carboy, for instance, just funnel it back into the jug. When it gets low, top it up with more water and meta.

If it pick up too much sediment, mix a new solution. This is also the time to make a 10% solution of potassium metaisufite if you want avoid having to measure and dissolve a fractional teaspoon for each addition. We recommend a 10% solution because it is easier and is probably less prone to error.

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