Lets Do Wine Posting Page
Thursday, November 14, 2013
My wine isn’t working...

The only true way to determine if your wine is not fermenting is to take a hydrometer reading. 

A hydrometer measures specific gravity (the amount of sugar in the juice).  During fermentation, the sugar is converted to alcohol creating a change in specific gravity.  Seeing bubbling activity on the surface of the juice or in an airlock is a sign that your wine is fermenting but you cannot judge by this alone.  A juice can ferment without giving off much carbon dioxide (CO2), therefore, you may not see any activity. 

Take a hydrometer reading three days in a row and if it has not changed, check the ranges below:

    SG readings:

    1.090-1.070        juice has not started to ferment
    1.060-1.010        stuck fermentation
    1.000-.990          wine has completed fermentation

If your wine has not started fermenting after 3 days, check the following conditions:

Temperature - most yeasts ferment best between 65-75 degrees.  If you are unable to keep your ambient room temp near these temps, consider using a Brew Belt.
Yeast - be sure that you have fresh wine yeast
Yeast Nutrient or Yeast Energizer - provides nutrients to encourage yeast production
Oxygen - yeast needs air to start producing.  Stir your wine every few hours until it starts to ferment. 

If you cannot get the juice to start after all of the above, you can make a yeast starter.  Use a package of yeast (Lalvin EC1118 is good for stuck/hard to start fermentations) mix with a small amount of the juice, sugar and warm water in a small container - once there is a lot of activity in the container pour it into the juice.

by: Lets Do Wine