Home Winemaking – Is Degassing Wine Important?

Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?

There seems to be some controversy about whether degassing your homemade wine is necessary. In one camp are those that say that it is vital to creating a wonderful wine that you’ll enjoy in the months and years to follow. In the other camp are those that suggest that degassing is not that important, that the amount of carbon dioxide that remains when you bottle your wine is negligible. They assume however that you will be bulk aging your wine for a few months, which will supposedly allow the carbon dioxide gases to dissipate.

I’m with the first camp and it has been my experience that degassing wine is important. I’m not worried about pressure build up in the bottle due to the presence of carbon dioxide, but rather I’m concerned about taste and visual appearance. Who wants to pour wine for guests that foams up in the glass?

Degassing is an important consideration for those winemakers that will be entering their wines into competitions. Wines are not judged on taste alone, but also on appearance and odor. If the wine has a haze like look to it caused by the presence of carbon dioxide, it will not score well.

Most people who make wine these days use wine kits – kits that come with grape juice and grape juice concentrate. These kits are made in such a way that the winemaker can bottle their wine in 4 to 8 weeks, if they want to. Of course, bulk aging the wine will benefit it, but many are not interested in the characteristics that might develop in a year or two – they want to enjoy their wine now! For those winemakers, degassing the wine is very important. For winemakers that plan on bulk aging their wines under an air lock, degassing may not be as vital as much of the gas should dissipate during the bulk aging process. However, there are times when simply bulk aging the wine will not be enough to rid it of excess carbon dioxide. Cooler temperatures and high air pressure may result in wine with excess carbon dioxide if not degassed.

Although it is unlikely the winemaker will completely eliminate carbon dioxide from their wine, having too much of it can affect the taste of the wine negatively. In water, carbon dioxide is perceptible to our taste buds when it is present in a ratio of 200 mg per liter. In small amounts, it can act as an enhancer of the tannins in wine but too much carbon dioxide can produce off tasting still wines.

There are several ways to degas wines, including manual vigorous stirring, using a device attached to an electrical drill and using a vacuum pump. I’ve covered some here that will be especially helpful to those who make wine from commercial wine kits.

Ian Hugh Scott has been making his own wine for years. As well as wines from commercially available kits, he has discovered the pleasures of experimenting with other ingredients such as black currants, strawberries, blueberries, and even ginger and parsnip!

Follow along with Ian’s regular home winemaking activities at his blog.

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Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?
Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?
Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?
Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?
Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?

Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?

Home Winemaking - Is Degassing Wine Important?