“BAAAMMM!!” a skyscraper explodes and a huge fire engulfs the city but the hero and damsel escape just in time and end the movie with a dramatic kiss… These types of explosions may make fabulous entertainment, but when your homemade wine is bursting all over the walls of your pantry, you may not be so amused.
Exploding bottles are a common problem with beginners to winemaking. Luckily it is not a difficult problem to fix. It may be messy and time consuming but winemaking always seems to be a test of patience, this is not the exception.
The reason this explosion happens in winemaking is that the wine has begun the fermentation process again, inside the bottle. This is how champagne becomes bubbly, but if you were trying to make still wine, then this is a problem. If your wine is already in the bottles, and is already exploding, here is what you need to do.
- Slowly remove the corks from your bottles and pour them into a fermenter with an airlock. The sooner you remove the wine from the bottles, the less of a mess you will have in the long run.
- Let the fermentation run its course, you will have to wait until all the bubbles stop forming, just like you did earlier in the process.
- Now you can taste and adjust as you would like the wine to taste. If it is too dry, you can add some more sugar.
- This is the most important step. Add potassium sorbate! This will keep the yeast from fermenting the additional sugar. It will also keep the wine in the bottles and off of your pantry walls, floor, and possibly ceiling.
- Now re-rack your wine and move it to the bottles once again. Cork and wait.
Now, the next time you attempt winemaking, the most important thing you need to remember is potassium sorbate. This is the magical chemical that will keep the wine inside the bottles ultimately resulting in the wine going into your mouth. Make sure to add it before bottling and racking. It will stop the yeast from fermenting in the bottles.