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I've only started brewing Wine a year ago and have been keeping the subtle complexities of making a good wine as simple as possible, only to level up when I feel confident. So, consequently I've only been brewing wine from fruit concentrate. From what I've learned about the various reasons why secondary fermentation is needed when brewing with fruit, I don't see the benefits of racking into a carboy prior to bottling, other than letting the particulates settle, which, with time will occur anyhow. Can anyone enlighten me of a minute point I've missed, or shed light on a small detail I've missed?

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    I haven't made wine, but I'd assume it is for similar reasons as beer brewing; letting particulates settle out. It is also good for bulk-aging away from the majority of the yeast cake, or for flavor additions (fruit or hop additions in beer brewing). It's worth pointing out that in homebrewing, it was historically encouraged to use a secondary, but has since fallen out of style. – Sam Nov 16 '16 at 19:00
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My experience is mostly with fruit wine, not so much with grape wines. When you make (fruit) wine, you can

  • use syrup
  • juice the fruit (e.g, blackberries)
  • just mash the fruit (e.g., for strawberries, where you hardly can squeeze any juice out)

Each of these leaves with you with more solids in the fermenter. (For example, after fermentation strawberries are all pale and mushy.) After fermentation, you rack the wine to another fermenter (or bucket) to get rid of the sediment at the bottom of the first one; the wine can clear and clarify.

If you're happy with the cloudiness / clearness of your wine, skip the secondary.

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Generally secondary has a couple benefits.

  1. Racking to a secondary removes the product from the loose fluffy trub that makes a clear product difficult if bottling right from primary. The secondary then gets a nice compact trub that doesn't disturb as easily.

  2. If primary is over an extended time that results in yeast death (several weeks). A secondary will reduce bad esters that get released when the cell wall ruptures. Whether from autolysys or from age.

Secondary has fallen out of favor with brewing since many styles can ferment out before #2 is an issue and we write off #1 as volume loss leaving behind enough beer not to disturb the trub.

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