Tips for Degassing Homemade Wine

Degassing Homemade Wine With DrillDegassing the wine has been one of my biggest problems, stirring just does not get it done. I am in the health field so… Next I tried a surgical suction pump generating about 20 inches of mercury neg pressure. That did ok but there is still a little fizz. Next I went for stopcocks, tubing and 60cc syringe, boy can I get negative pressure with that. No more fizz but you should see the bubbles that come out and keep coming out even after the wine taste flat with no fizz. Any idea what I am pulling out, can’t all be CO2 can it?

Name: Bill B
State: NY
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Hello Bill,

Thanks for your great question on how to degas homemade wine. I hope this information clears things up for you.

To answer your question, absolutely there can still be CO2 gas in your homemade wine. At one atmosphere the wine can be completely stable and still have CO2 gas. Then as you apply negative pressure or try degassing the wine with a vacuum, the CO2 bubble begin to appear. The fact is, some CO2 will always want to remain saturated into the wine, just not enough to matter or taste. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

As you have suggested, there are also other gases in your homemade wine. They are mostly produced during the fermentation. These are gases such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Fortunately, these gases are only in trace amounts as compared to the carbon dioxide, but can affect the aroma and flavor if they become excessive.

Degassing Homemade Wine With The WhipOne item you might want to try in the future for degassing your homemade wines is called The Whip. This is a basically an optimally-shaped rod that is used with a drill. It attaches to a hand-drill just like a drill bit would. It agitates the wine and causes the CO2 gas to nucleate and release as bubbles.

 

The reason I bring up The Whip is twofold:

  1. It will degas your homemade wine without splashing it. This is important because splashing can cause air to saturate into the wine which can promote oxidation if it becomes too excessive.
  1. It’s a lot less work. You just stick it into the wine, pull the trigger, and let it do its thing.

 

It is important to realize that when siphoning, pouring, bottling, or doing whatever to a wine, you will get bubbles, no matter what. This is because, just like most liquids, the wine has surface tension that causes these bubbles to form.

I would suggest to you that if you are to a point that you can not get anymore CO2 bubbles to occur when using an agitation method such as a The Whip, then you are done degassing the wine. While you may be able to get more CO2 from the wine with a vacuum, it is not necessary.

Shop Mini Jet Wine FilterAlso, realize that as you go through the steps of making a wine, the act of racking, transferring and bottling will give additional opportunities for the CO2 and other gases to release. What it comes down to, is that degassing homemade wine is not completely necessary until you are ready to bottle it.

Overall, degassing homemade wine is not anything you should worry over too much, Yes, you want to get the bulk of the gas out of the wine. And yes, you want to do it without splashing the wine. But expecting to get every last bit with a vacuum a strong vacuum is not necessary.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

41 thoughts on “Tips for Degassing Homemade Wine

  1. In regard to degassing, I know you need to degas the grape homemade wine, but what about the other fruits, such as apple, elderberry, chokecherry, etc? Do we need to degas these wines and if so at what time period of the process do we degass Thanks for your assistance.

  2. Lucy, it really does not matter what type of wine you are making, the same holds true. Some time before bottling you need to get the residual CO2 gas out of the wine.

  3. To degas wine, is there a problem with shaking(gently) the bottle just before it is corked? I have done this on a couple of five gallon batches and have had no problem. I can feel the pressure on my thumb and hear the sound when pressure is released.

  4. Thomas, there are really two issues with shaking the wine to degas it. First, it does not degas the wine all that much. Some CO2 gas will release, but not that much compared to how much is really saturated in the wine. Also, this method of shaking allows air to saturate into the wine. This is not something you do not want to do at this point of the wine making process. The ideal situation is to have turbulence within the wine that does not slosh the surface.

  5. i want to use a medical vacuum i just received to rid the gas in my wine.
    Can you tell me the best way to degas and what pressure the gauge should be at so i don’t implode my 6 1/2 gallon glass carboy.Thank you Lenny

  6. Lenny, it does not take all that strong of a vacuum to degas a wine. If you are patient, somewhere around 10 psi or 20 Hg for about 20 minutes should be enough.

    • Hi Josh, Your fish tank aerator idea soounds great. You say its slow, how slow?
      How long does it usually take and what size aerator do you use?
      Thanks

  7. I had problems with bottles exploding wine all over due to excess gas. I was bottling too soon and not degassing properly. I read somewhere you can leave all the wine to age in the 5 gallon carboys with air locks and when you are ready, move the wine to one gallon bottles with air locks on them. Then when ready to drink them, run them thru a blender one at a time to remove the gas, and then put into .75 liter bottles. It seems to work. This also aerates the wine so I don’t do this until ready to drink. I especially do this if the wine tastes a little harsh. Seems to mellow it out.

    • Thomas, normally the only time degassing is necessary is when you are make the wine kits that are bottled in 4-6 weeks, because the gas has not had time to leave naturally. When wineries are producing wine, it will sit around a while before bottling so that it degases itself over time. Wineries will also rack the wine a few more time and filter the wine which will also assist the gas in leaving the wine. The article posted below will give you a little history on degassing.

      Degassing Homemade Wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/degassing-homemade-wine

  8. As a long time winemaker I don’t degass. I do age for at least a year and rack at least three times. Seems to work for me as I win competition on a regular basis. I will be trying degassing to see if it improves the wine.

  9. I learned the most important ingredient in making wine is patience. If you bulk age your wine, it will degas itself with no intervention, just like an open soda bottle. All that is required is to leave it alone—untill it degasses. A little patience required–no energy and no gadgets.

  10. Fabulous helpful information! I have never had a problem with a bottle exploding at all. But I Rack right after Step 1 in the Primary to Carboy. I Rack again after 15 DAYS & add Packets B & C. Leave it again for 10 days & bottle! Not sure if it would pass the Winery Sniff Test, but I sure enjoy it but, it has to be CHILLED!

  11. Hello Ed, Many thanks for the tips about degassing. My homemade drill driven device stirs up too much foam, as I thought was good. So now I will modify its shape, to be more like the store bought whip. Thank you .
    I rack my finished wine into gal jugs! Why? Economy! When I rack into 750 ml bottles and use a cork ,,,,,the very next day I’m de-corking that bottle to have a glass, or two, my wife wants the same and the next day I’m de-corking another bottle . Corks and re-washing and sterilizing that bottle are time and material consuming. I have several different styles of vacum pumps for preserving
    750 ml bottles , but they are empty in one day, so why bother? I want a vacum pump that will fit on my gallon jugs so that when they are getting down to half of less I can keep the oxidizing to a minimum
    Do you or your readers have any sources for a vacum pump like that ? Please.

    • Hasan, yes you can age your wine in a refrigerator. However, temperature affects a wine by changing how fast or slow it ages. The cooler the temperature, the slower it will age. The warmer the temperature, the faster it will age. For more information, please take a look at the article posted below.

      Aging Wine In The Refrigerator
      https://blog.eckraus.com/aging-wine-in-refrigerator

  12. Hi, once you degas the wine should you then put it in airtight container before you bottle it? Just don’t want it exploding. 😉
    Thanks

    • Gary, you do want to make sure that the fermentation is complete and the gas has left the wine. Once you degas the wine, you can let it sit in bulk for a couple of weeks or so before bottling.

  13. Responding to Norris about creating negative pressure in his one gallon jugs. Keep in mind, I’m no expert so this is just an idea that hopefully Ed can comment on. I’ve used flimsier (thinner) plastic jugs, think jugs you’d buy one gallon of spring water in at the grocery store. When washing them with hot water, after emptying the water out, I’ve tightened the cap while hot instead of just having it loose on top and it starts to implode. This is obviously causing a negative pressure in the jug. So then could heat somehow be used similar to what I say to degas?

  14. Ed, I’m making my first kit in a plastic 5 gal carboy. Pretty much like the water cooler type due to my location overseas. I’m used the whip for about 30 mins alternating directions every 30sec. I get a lot of foam and I see the CO2 bubbles coming up the sides. How do I know when I’m done? Kit states I have to be degassed in order to proceed.
    Thanks
    Sam

    • Samuel, degassing too fast or for too long could cause that much foaming to occur. For example, the directions for our degassing/mixing paddle that attaches to a drill say to set the drill on a low forward speed, agitate the wine for 10 seconds, allow the foam to settle, lift the rod to facilitate the escape of gas and repeat the process two or three more times.

  15. I was making strawberry wine using the eckraus recipe. I used 14# strawberries but accidentally put in 10# sugar. The initial SG was 1.140 on 5/14/19. 5/20 it was at 1.090 and two weeks later and ever since it is at 1.070. I have tried your advice on stuck fermentation and still at 1.070.

    I have racked into glass carboy and added 2 quarts water. Still no activity after using the stuck fermentation recipe.

    Today, I rehydrated 1 package of red star champagne yeast in 1/4 cup of 99.0 f water. I added that to the carboy along with 1 tsp of yeast nutrient.

    I did sample the wine today. VERY sweet.

    Any other suggestions?

    • Pam, I would try making a yeast starter to see if that will get the fermentation going again. This means the yeast will be working already before adding to the wine. An article posted below will tell you how to make the starter. If that does not work, you may have to dilute it more with water. I would also take a look at our article on the other reasons for a stuck fermentation to see if anything else could be at play.

      Yeast Starter
      https://blog.eckraus.com/making-a-wine-yeast-starter-to-restart-a-stuck-fermentation

      Reasons For fermentation Failure
      https://eckraus.com/wine-making-failure/

    • Unless I read my hydrometer wrong 1.140 = alcohol potential of 18% (probably 19% – 20% if fermented to dry). 1.070 now indicates you are at only 9.19% alcohol. Obvious that you need to get fermentation going again but when you do, be sure to use a yeast that will take it to the potential alcohol level. Lalvin EC-1118 and Lalvin K1V-1116 have often resulted in ‘hot tasting’ 18%+ for me. Can you add some more fruit juice & water (say 30-50% of what recipe calls for) without sugar to cut the alcohol potential down?

    • Pam try setting it next to a furnace vent. The heat will help. I had a 6 gallon batch of wild raspberry in 50 to 60 degree variable temp cellar. I brought it up to the kitchen to rack. Before racking I let it settle and it came to life from the furnace vent warming it up. It worked for 2 weeks and then the airlock activity stopped. If that doesnt work cut your batch in half add more juice and or water and keeping the flavor profile while reducing the sugar. What’s the worse that can happen? Dont give up! Whatever yeast you used try to save it and keep using it in your next batch. (See link, beer yeast / wine yeast same process) It will become accustomed to your recipe and work better the next time. Just experiment…have fun… taste test ALOT! -CHEERS

  16. Hi, I am new to making wine and I am almost at the degassing stage according to the instructions. My question is, should you degass in a primary fermentor or in a carboy? Some say that doing this in a carboy causes the bubbles to overflow as opposed to a fermenting bucket. Thanks. Andy.

    • Andrew, I am not sure there is a proper vessel to degas your wine. However, it would be much easier in the fermenting bucket, especially if you experience overflow.

  17. I’m new at wine making. I racked a strawberry/cherry into a carboy for the 2nd racking. I then used my food sealing machine to degas, just testing to see if it would work. My wine tasted great at that time, similiar to a blush, but now it has a tangy taste. I started it in september, so I know it needs to age longer, but did I mess it up with the degassing or can it be saved?

  18. Interesting discussion, it took me 2 years for elderberry and pear wine to be ready to bottle, racking every 2-3 months . Results were awesome. Maybe the whip would help.

  19. dennis I make home grown fruit wine. i never have a gas problem, i rack the wine 4 or 5 times every month until it is crystal clear. then bottle it. i think the secret is patience.

  20. i bulk age for 6 to 12months in a 5 gal glass carboy with an airlock.racking after fermentation is complete, i leave a 1/4 inch air space between the wine surface and airlock stopper. i count on the slow release of co2 from the wine to keep this space filled to avoid oxidation. the wine turns out wonderful. i never tried degassing, and using this method, dont imagine i ever will.

  21. I just watched a video on degasing with a vacuum pump from Harber Freight. Barley and hops brewing. My 1st time at degasing, what a pain. I tried a bung on my Dyson and it fits. I’m going to do this. I’ll let you know if it works.

    • That’s a tough one to answer. I know of no test on this. I would imagine it would vary from demijohn to demijohn. All I can say for sure is be careful.

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