I mixed up fresh chemicals (mostly because I was almost out of all of them- but it’s not a bad idea to mix up fresh as often as possible,) did my cleaning, and made sure my drill was charged (I left it to charge overnight.) I have a wimpy little Black and Decker cordless drill. It’s served me for 9 years, but it loses battery life fairly quickly.
The purpose of this process is to get as many of the gasses currently suspended in the wine out as we can. So here goes…
According to my kit’s instructions, I added my SO2 and Potassium Sorbate and then got to the degassing. With the mixing rod hooked up to my drill, I pulled up a chair and started mixing away. Now, the kit calls for stirring with the long spoon for 2 minutes, then adding the chitosan, and stirring for 2 minutes.
There is absolutely NO way that this would get the gas out of your wine. No way. Never.
Each time I’ve done a kit, I have added my chemicals, degassed for 6 or so minutes, added my chitosan, and then degassed until my drill dies (somewhere between 10-13 minutes total) and often still had a little bit of gas in my test tube later. It is tricky, because you don’t want to introduce too much oxygen into the wine as this could cause browning. But you really don’t want to have a bottle with leftover carbon dioxide in it either. So basically, I’d say degas at least 10 minutes with the drill, test it in the test tube, and if need be, do some more. How they think you could agitate it enough with a wimpy spoon is beyond me…
Once you feel like there is no longer a little puff of air in your test tube, then you’ve sufficiently degassed it and can move on.
My instructions call for topping up the wine to within 2 inches of the bottom of the bung with water. This is an option, but I don’t know why you’d want to dilute it that much when you just got your Brix (or specific gravity) to the point you wanted. Dave the Awesome came up with a much better solution- and this is where your glass marbles come into play. Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned and sanitized your marbles. If you have a funnel, clean and sanitize it as well. I recommend using the smoothest glass marbles you can find (rather than stones or those sort of flattened out glass pieces people often use in aquariums) because you want as few pits and chips as possible- it’ll make keeping them clean much easier.
Add the marbles a little at a time. If you don’t, they’ll get stuck in your funnel. Trust me. Once they’ve displaced enough volume to get the wine to just where you want it, put your (cleaned and sanitized) bung back in, fill the airlock halfway with water, and leave it to settle and clear. This is where the marbles fill their second role. They’ll help collect and trap all of your remaining solids in the bottom of the carboy- which is especially handy when you go to rack it in the next step.
I’ve got mine back in the closet, clearing away. I’ll revisit it in 2 weeks as recommended by the kit.
See? Easy Peasy!
Did you know?
When wine tasting, your palate can actually get fatigued? Yep. Eventually (this will differ from individual to individual, but usually the max is about 6,) you just get tired, your mouth gets dry, and can’t pick out very many nuances. Even professional wine judges know their limits. You can help fight this fatigue by nibbling on crackers and water between tastes. (No, those are not there to keep you from getting drunk in the tasting room- though they may help with that too!) Cheers!