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Just syphoned a youngs 30 bottle kit into a plastic 5 gallon fermenter. How should I store this to stop it going bad? What's the highest temperature it can be stored at safely? and how can I ensure air doesn't get to the wine (I'm assuming as CO2 is released from the wine it should act as a buffer?)

Should I really be bottling the wine? In the past I've found that a day or so after filling up a bottle of the stuff it's gone nasty (I suspect due to air exposure) and the sheer volume in the fermenter keeps most of it away from oxidation

Any tips would be appreciated

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    PET plastic? Is there an oxygen barrier? Tbh, i wouldnt use plastic for wine, i would put cider and beer into plastic, but i would only ever put wine into 1L glass bottles. – bizzehdee Nov 11 '15 at 22:29
  • Is the wine still fermenting? How do you bottle your wine? How do you sanitize the bottles? – Atron Seige Nov 12 '15 at 6:43
  • The wine is fermented and cleared, it's currently in a clean 5 gallon fermenter, not sure on the type of plastic. When I've tried bottling in the past I've usually baked the bottles (recycled screw-top bottles, that is), then syphoned in the wine. I've typically found the wine goes a bit unpleasant very shortly after. Not undrinkable, but worse than the stuff still in the fermenter. The only air contact the wine's had was during the syphoning, should it naturally have an oxygen barrier in that case if Co2 is still coming out of the wine?? – Andrew Nov 12 '15 at 20:24
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If its done fermenting getting it into bottles is better than a plastic bucket. All buckets absorb/transmit O2 at some rate. And depending on your lid, it might not be the plastic at all that's introducing O2. The O2 will ingress regardless of the CO2 unless its pressure is high (which it isn't). It will attempt to equilibrate no matter what. O2 comes in and CO2 bleeds out.

A little oxygen pick up when bottling shouldn't hurt your wine that much. I've never experienced that bad an issue when I bottle our wine. However, there is a phenomenon called bottle-shock. It occurs during bottling obviously and may be what you are noticing; as you said the wine is less pleasant but not undrinkable. The wine should recover while sitting in the bottle.

We also rest our bottles upright for the first 3-5 days post bottling. Then they go to their side for a month or so before drinking... and longer storage. (Which reminds me I noticed last night a couple cases of wine that need to get tipped over soon!)

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What did you make exactly? I don't know much about wine, but I would follow commercial storage conventions for the style you made. I think storage temperatures should be lowish unless the style specifically says otherwise, but I'm hesitant to mention a number. 50s-60s would make me more comfortable than 30s-40s or 70s-80s I think.

Some general tips about avoiding oxygen contact include never pour until it's about to go into your mouth, don't splash, and, since you're doing wine, perhaps you should cork it? If you plan long-term storage, perhaps just store it in a glass carboy with an airlock. I've seen that work with mead for 2+ years, but grape wine may be different. CO2 is a heavy gas, so it should act as a buffer, as you say, and this would work better if the temperature stays stable.

Introducing controlled CO2 could help if oxygen exposure is really a problem. I think the Blichmann Beer gun has a feature that lets you fill a bottle with CO2 before you fill it with beer; maybe you can adapt that to wine? For really long-term storage, once fermentation is complete, a keg with a bed of CO2 on top of the wine might help. I think you probably need to pressurize to 5 PSI or so to keep a seal, which might result in a slight carbonation. Basically you would fill the keg, pump CO2 in, purge, and then do it again without purging. There are small kegs you can buy.

Check your sanitation regimen. Bottles should be clean and sanitized, no visible residue or scratches and should be exposed to a light sanitary solution or baked immediately before filling.

Finally, avoid contact with light. Cellars are used for alcohol storage because they're dark, dry, and cool!

  • Thanks for all the advice, I should be Ok with regards to light and temperature exposure then. As a student I'm hoping to avoid purchasing any more equipment just yet, so probably won't be able to do much with regards to introducing CO2. So far the wine has been fermented, cleared and syphoned into a fresh 5 gallon fermenter, so I imagine it shouldn't have too much oxygen in as long as I don't shake it. I only have a couple of glass demijohns which are currently in use, I'll syphon some into one of those when it becomes available and use an airlock as you suggested, see if it keeps better. – Andrew Nov 12 '15 at 20:18
  • You could try siphoning into growlers and putting airlocks on them. You can even buy beer bottle brown ones to keep light exposure down. 1/2 gallons translates to about a liter, and filled to the top oxygen exposure would be very minimal. This could be unorthodox, but add a tiny amount of sugar (I'm thinking under a teaspoon per growler dissolved in boiled water) to each to get a small fermentation to guarantee a little CO2 gets in the growler at atmospheric pressure. Might fit in your fridge. – Bolwerk Nov 12 '15 at 20:33
  • An old-old-old-old homebrewers' trick (for beer) is to take clear plastic wrap from a drycleaner, clean and sanitize it, and wrap it around your container with a rubber band. Very primitive airlock, and no need to worry about water being sucked in as temperatures drop. Might work in your case. – Bolwerk Nov 12 '15 at 20:35

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