Home Winemaking Easy And Fun

FAQs

Commonly asked questions

I know nothing about wine making?

Wine making is not difficult. With the GOfermentorJR it is also not messy or smelly. The single-use bag eliminates problems of cleaning and proper sanitation that are essential to good wine. Automation assures proper punching and the press takes out the mess. You need to know nothing about to make wine to be successful with GOfermentor JR. Just follow the instructions. Several books provide a basis for understanding wine making. They are listed in the appendix to the GOfermentor JR manual. Home Wine Making by Jon Iverson is a good start, then get Concepts in WineTechnology by Yair Margalit. It is not for the home winemaker, but important concepts are explained well and will give you a foundation for serious winemaking.

Do I need a permit to make wine?

No. Federal law passed Feb 1, 1979 makes it legal for a single adult household to make up to 100 gallons of wine and beer each year, and up to 200 gallons for a households with two or more adults. By 2013 all States also made these limits legal. Sale is not permitted. Neither is distillation.

What sort of space do I need for the GOfermentorJR?

You need an area about 2 ft x 2ft. The unit is 20 inches in diameter and 28 inches tall. The space should be cool (60-70 F). You need a 110 VAC household power outlet.

What do I need besides the GOfermentorJR?

You need 100lbs grapes, yeast, and yeast nutrients. You need an inexpensive ($ 160) wine pump to transfer wine and associated tubing. You need wine collection/aging vessels or bags. You should have some basic lab gear – weighing scale, graduates, mixing spoons and thermometer. It is nice to have a pH meter and a refractometer to measure sugar (Brix). You can buy bottles, cappers etc from winemaking supply store or online. The manual versions are quite inexpensive. Remember you DO NOT need a press!

Can I use supermarket grapes?

No. Table grapes do not make good wine because they are large with low skin to volume ratio. In essence they are sugar water bombs. Wine grapes are much smaller because the color and flavor is from the skins. You can get wine grapes from produce suppliers. Another good source is local vineyards so go ask them for a few hundred pounds. Remember grapes are seasonal and you will only get fresh grapes in the Northern Hemisphere from July to November. It is possible to get grapes from Chile, S. Africa, and Argentina in the off-season but these can be expensive. You can google the internet for suppliers of frozen grapes. These, while expensive, work quite well. For good red wine you need to start with grapes. Concentrates and juice are not satisfactory. However, white wine works well from juice and you can buy juice, either fresh or frozen.

Can I make wine from frozen grapes?

Yes. Frozen grapes can be obtained from online suppliers. They are too expensive for commercial production but quite suitable for the home winemaker. They also give you the option a of making wine out of season. Make sure you are buying crushed frozen grapes and not a chemically treated concentrate. You the thaw the must and let it warm up to at least 65F before you add yeast for fermentation.

Can I make wine from concentrates or juice?

While white wine works well from fresh or frozen juice, we do not recommend making red wine from concentrates or juice.

Where can I get yeast from?

You need wine making yeast. There are hundreds of different yeast available and choosing the right one for your grape variety and wine style is a matter of artistry and experience. Yeast is supplied in freeze-dried packages which can be stored for many years. Follow the manufacturer instructions for rehydration and add to the grapes in the GOfermentor JR to start the fermentation. There are many online suppliers for yeast  and other wine making supplies.

How much yeast do I need?

Typically you need 10 grams of dry yeast for 100lb of grapes.

What other additives do I need besides yeast?

Besides yeast you need to add some yeast nutrients. Typical nutrients are dynastart, goferm. You can purchase these from online wine making suppliers. Check the manufacturers instructions for amounts needed. Typically, the yeast nutrients are added and mixed into the grapes  right before the yeast addition. You need to measure pH of the grapes and adjust by adding tartaric acid if needed. Winemakers add some potassium sulfite to the grapes to prevent oxidation and spoilage but we discourage this practice. The sealed GOfermentor JR bag will provide sufficient protection.

Why does wine contain sulfites?

We have all seen the warning labels on wine bottles. Potassium sulfite is added to wine during the fermentation and aging process and then again at bottling. The sulfite is really a preservative that prevents oxidation of the wine due to air contact. With the closed GOfermentor JR system you minimize air contact so you can make sulfite-free or very low sulfite wine. The key is to avoid air contact. You should add yeast as soon as possible to avoid the grapes oxidizing and to avoid the growth of undesired organisms. After fermentation press the wine into a closed container and avoid any headspace where air could contact the wine. GOfermentor aging bags are a cheap and reliable solution. Also, pay attention during bottling to minimize air contact. You may want to add a slight amount of sulfite at bottling if your procedures are not perfect.

How long does the process take?

Fermentation takes about 8 to 10 days depending on the temperature, grape variety, and yeast. You know the fermentation is done when all the sugar is gone. Pressing the wine using the built-in press will take an hour or so. Collect the wine in a suitable taking care not to have any headspace where air might contact and spoil the wine. Our GOfermentor aging bags are a cheap and reliable solution. You can drink the wine now but it will be yeasty. Let the wine settle for a month (area should be 55 to 65F).then transfer to another container using an inexpensive wine pump. Watch the transfer and stop when you see sediment being transferred. Discard the sediment. Let it settle another 2-3 months. You can add oak chips into the aging vessel (or bag) at this time if you want an oaky flavor. Oak products are available from online wine making suppliers. Next, taste and if you like it you are ready to bottle some. Let the rest  age for another 3-6 months and then bottle. The wine should be drunk within 5 years.

How do I know the fermentation is done?

We are trying to make “dry” wine. This means that all the sugar in the grapes has been converted to alcohol and the residual sugar is less than 1%. This is very important because if there is residual sugar the wine might referment in the bottle with disasterous consequences. So the fermentation is done when the sugar is gone. You can tell this by 1) tasting – there should be no perceptible sweetness and 2) you can purchase a residual sugar kit (based on AimTab) for about $30 that gives you the sugar concentration.

What is the alcohol content of my wine?

Measuring ethanol is complex and requires some sophisticated equipment. However you can easily estimate it if you know your starting sugar (Brix using refractor). Take the brix of the starting grape must and multiply by 0.57 to get the expected alcohol concentration in the resulting wine. For example the starting crushed grapes were measured at 24Brix. So 24 x 0.57 = 13.7% will be the approximate alcohol concentration of the resulting wine.

My wine is not fermenting. Stuck?

With the GOfermentorJR it it unlikely you will have a “stuck” fermentation. Typically, the fermentation bag should look puffed up within a day or so indicating that fermentation has started. Some causes of a stuck fermentation -1) must too cold (should be at least 60F); 2) yeast stale or not rehydrated properly; 3) must sugar concentration too high (more than 26 Brix). Consult a winemaking book for solutions.

Can I reuse the fermentation bags?

No. The whole idea is to start with a sanitary fermentation vessel. The used bag contains the waste skins and seeds after pressing. You can use the bag to cleanly transport this waste pomace to a your compost heap. Then toss the bag out. They have no plasticizers or UV blocks and will degrade rapidly in solid waste landfill.

Can I reuse the rubber bladders?

The rubber bladders are designed to be reused indefinitely. If you puncture one you can repair it using duct tape of a tire patch. Or you can purchase a replacement. The bladders work as a set of three and you only need to replace any one that is damaged. It is wise to wipe down the bladders after each fermentation to ensure that no particles adhere to the bladder that may lead to a puncture.

What is the purpose of the circular bottom plate?

The three bladders are connected to the bottom plate with cords. The fermentation bag sits on the circular plate and in between the bladders. The weight of the filled bag on the bottom plate prevents the bladders from riding up in the outer drum when the bladders inflate and deflate.

Must all 3 bladders be connected to the inflation manifold?

Yes. All three bladders must inflate together to crush the fermenting must equally from all sides.

Can I operate without the lid attached?

NO! The lid must be attached at all times. Inflating the bladders during punch or press will damage the rubber bladders and may cause injury. You should fill the bag with grapes. Close the opening with the hose clamp and protective tape. Now place the lid and attach with the drum clamp. The 2inch triclam port will stick out of the lid opening and all subsequent operations will be done through this port. MAKE SURE the clamp is secured correctly. The lid clamp should only be opened AFTER pressing AND the bladders are deflated. With the clear lid it is easy to check whether the bladders are inflated.

Bladders do not seem to inflate during punch?

The bladders take about 3 to 5 minutes to inflate. You can verify inflation by looking into the clear lid. If the bladders are not inflating – 1) check that air is not leaking from the circular pressurization manifold and that each of the three bladders is connected correctly. 2) check that the manifold tube is firmly connected to the air outlet fitting on the controller. 3) check that the controller is set to the correct operation and powered. If only one bladder is not inflating check the tubing to that bladder and also for possible puncture.

Pressing but no wine comes out. Panic?

First of all verify that 1) You have REMOVED the pressure relief valve that is used fermentation and 2) replaced it with the harvest fitting and 3) connected this harvest tubing to your wine collection vessel. Also check lid clamp is secure. When you start PRESS, the bladders inflate. You should be able to see them inflating through the clear lid. First the CO2 in the bag is forced out so no liquid is seen. Then suddenly the wine will gush out. Do not panic. This will happen – just takes 3 to 5 minutes before it starts.

I have pressed but I feel there is still wine in the bag I could get?

The built-in press pushes out about 90% of the wine in the unit. The remaining wine is trapped in the press tube and folds. Connect a wine pump to the harvest tube and you can pump out this material. Another way to increase yield is to wait 30 minutes after pressing and restart the PRESS operation. Use the pump during this second pressing to get wine that has percolated down through the must. This technique is very effective for getting the most juice out during white grape pressing. You can repeat the step more time if you want. Finally, nothing will come out.

How can I oak the wine?

Oak adds some interesting flavors and also softens the tannins. You can add oak products such chips, staves, or cubes to the wine during aging. Taste frequently and stop when you feel the oak flavor is sufficient.

When can I drink the wine?

One of the remarkable things about the GOfermentor process is that the gentle punching really extracts color and flavor. The gentle built-in press does not crush the seeds so the wine is never bitter. In general, winr made in a GOfermentor tastes a year older than in traditional equipment. So, you can drink the wine as soon as the yeast settles (month or so). Ideally, you want to wait about 6 months and remove the settled material a few times during this period. Bottle some then and the rest after a year.

How do I bottle my wine?

Home winemaking stores or online supplier offer many options for home bottling. You also buy custom labels for your wine.

Can I sell my wine?

No. Federal law prohibits sale of homemade wine. It is expressly for your personal consumption.

Do I need to pay taxes on the wine I make?

No. No taxes and no permit necessary.

Difficulty connecting to WiFi?

Check your SSID. Maybe your smartphone is connected to different network than the GOfermentor JR If al fails go to MANAGE AUTOCONNECTS and Forget each network listed. Then Scan and try again.

Want to connect from outside the network?

The GOfermentorJR must be on the same network as your smartphone. If you want to connect from outside you must configure your network router to allow outside access. This is very specific to your netwrk installation and you may need to consult a network specialist to configure access.

Getting NO INTERNET ACCESS error?

The GOfermentorJR is a IOT (internet-of-things) device and requires to be connected to the internet via WiFi. Read the Built-in WiFi instructions in the GOfermentorJR manual for help.

GOfermentor Jr  is a home winemaking machine. Making real wine with real grapes. The GOfermentor Jr, is a automated winery 30 inches high and 20 inches wide and easily fits in a closet.

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GOfermentor Jr $600

Nothing else needed. Just buy some yeast and add upto 110 lbs of wine grapes for 5 gallons of superb wine in 8 to 10 days. Closed bag operation enables zero sulfite wines. Unattended punchdown. Set schedule on smart phone. Perfect punching based on our patented air bladder technology. No getting up at 2am or working weekends. Built-in Wifi and free monitoring/control app.

With the push of a button the machine presses out the wine. Collect and age it for a few months and your are ready to amaze your friends. Waste skins and seeds are left in the bag. Just pull it out and use the pomace as compost. All you need is another $25 bag for the next delicious batch.