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Last year (2016) I made a small batch of wine from my own grapes. I started out mostly ignorant of most things regarding wine making (I had already been homebrewing AG since 2015), and what I read confused me more.

So I had this thing of "f**k this", I will start with it and see what I can do. So the only things I bought were a bag of wine yeast and a bottle of pectinase enzyme. All the rest I had from brewing. The only advice I followed was from a blog, where the writer advised to store the wine cool in order to clear it.

Which is what I did, and in March I had a really nice wine, which I then already bottled, being ignorant of the fact most wines are kept over summer. However, tannins had dropped out beautifully, and it was perfect. I also did not add sulphite, being ignorant of the issue. There were only six bottles, and we drank them all.

So, there was indeed one thing, and that was that it was not degassed. However, I get the impression that this issue is really exaggerated on the web. There is no fizz or sparkle, just a light taste of something that you know is carbon dioxide on the palate. And after five minutes after being poured out is has mostly disappeared.

So why do people whisk their wine? Does their wine really contain that much gas (which for me would be the levels of Lambrusco), or is it just because "reasons"?

Would my wine have been mostly degassed because of the racking before bottling?

  • Necessary no, but preferable I think so. – Philippe Dec 15 '17 at 18:29
  • You don't need pectinase with grapes only other fruit. – farmersteve Dec 15 '17 at 18:44
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    Apparently, degassing seems to be more needed when one wants to have wine quickly, e.g. from kits. It seems that when going the long route, the CO2 actually escapes. That would better explain the low level of carbonation in my wine. – chthon Dec 19 '17 at 11:05
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I don't whisk my wines, I just poor them from primary to secondary and let them stand sufficiently before bottling. Needing to de-gas a wine, IMHO, is just a sign it is being bottled too early. That or one was mistakenly using a champagne recipe!

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I've had this problem with some of my white wines. Red wine not really since aging in the barrel pretty much gets rid of any CO2. I just had a white wine from Chateau St. Michelle in which I wasn't expecting a little fizz, but it was welcome. Carbonation can take the edge off high acid wines (aka Champagne). It's considered a flaw in Red wines but acceptable in white.

For the home winemaker, I suggest warming up your storage vessel to room temperature for a few weeks to help with degassing or any residual fermentation to finish. It's also possible the MLF happened in the bottle but you won't know that if you haven't done a test before and after bottling.

If it bugs you, just pour your wine in a glass vigorously and let it sit for a while to get rid of the gas.

In the future, racking, vacuuming, whisking or whatever before you bottle can get rid of it. If you do a bentonite fining to clear the wine, the clay acts as a nucleation point and will get rid of much of the gas.

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I would say that degassing is a safe step to better ensure a good final quality of your wine. I just finished brewing my first 6 gallon batch of Cabernet Sauvignon from a wine kit. There was so much carbonation in the fermentation that it actually foamed over the topped when I racked it over to age with oak chips. Thankfully I was racking over in the bathroom so that I could get it in the bathtub. After the aging I racked it over to clarify the wine and performed the degassing with a degassing wand from NorthernBrewer hooked up to a power drill. Despite all those efforts, my final bottled wine still has carbonation as evident in the notorious metallic taste as well as mild bubbling when shaken aggressively. I plan to never skip degassing after this experience and plan to definitely monitor conditions to reduce the effects of CO2 on future batches.

  • So it seems also to be: depending upon the wine. Like I said, I haven't degassed my wine, and what's in it is not visible, only noticeable by a very slight prickling on the tongue. – chthon Dec 16 '17 at 10:27
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    Type of wine, i.e. grape varietal(s), very well could be one of the many variables. Temperature could also impact how well CO2 dissolves into the liquid. Temperature/yeast strain/sugar content can have an impact on the rate at which CO2 is produced as well as total CO2 production in metabolizing the sugars. I'm definitely still a novice on the topic and will be continuing research to mitigate dissolved CO2 in wines, unless of course the wine is being produced with intent to be a sparkling variety. But I still stand behind the necessity of degassing. Keep up the experimenting! Cheers! – Jeffrey Schmidt Dec 31 '17 at 19:13
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I think it's mostly for yeast health and that most wines have no carbonation by style. So even slight bottle pop or bubbles are considered a defect.

But cO2 in wine can also change the flavor and aroma giving if the impression of metallic or being overly acidic.

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    I find yeast health a weird reason. Considering that I first racked off from the gross lees, which should indeed keep some yeast, and then after a couple of months (I think end Dec) into another vessel, I do not think that much yeast was left. I seem to remember that when I racked for bottling, there wasn't yeast on the bottom of the carboy, only tannin crystals. – chthon Dec 15 '17 at 14:15
  • Would you consider the dissolved amount of CO2 under atmospheric pressure and at a certain temperature as carbonation? – chthon Dec 15 '17 at 14:16
  • I can relate to the issue of getting a metallic taste from CO2, because I had that in some of my beers. But we are talking then about a carbonation level of over 3 volumes. – chthon Dec 15 '17 at 14:18
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    @chthon yes. Many will even apply vacuum to degas. Temp or elevation change can release trapped co2. As far as yeast health, cO2 is toxic to yeast, and can effect delicate yeast intended to last later stages of fermentation. – Evil Zymurgist Dec 15 '17 at 14:21
  • This last one is interesting to me, because I am now aging two carboys of the same wine, one intended to bottle in spring, and which contains almost no yeast anymore, and a second one for autumn and to age on lees. – chthon Dec 15 '17 at 14:31

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