On November 23, almost a whole month after I inoculated my Sauvignon Blanc in the FastFerment vessel, fermentation has completed; the final SG read 0.995.
Taking a hydrometer reading was a “walk in the park” using the sampling port—no need for a wine thief. I did open the lid ever so slightly to avoid pulling water from the air lock. Once I read the hydrometer and confirmed dryness, I poured the wine sample back into the FastFerment. I then closed the union valve and perform a “racking” by removing the collection ball. There was still quite a bit of wine in the collection ball after the lees had settled at the bottom. Since I would have to add sulfite to stabilize the wine, I used this bit of wine to dissolve the sulfite powder. Based on my wine pH, I measured out enough powder to add the required 32 mg/L of SO2. I then added the sulfite/wine solution back into the FastFerment, gave the wine a good stir with a long-handle plastic spoon. As the lid was open during this operation, I worked as quickly as possible to avoid losing precious CO2 gas protecting the wine. I then placed the lid back on.
I rinsed out the collection ball with plenty of clean, fresh water, and then re-installed it back on the FastFerment and re-opened the union valve.
Next, I will let the wine age for 2-3 months before doing any kind of fining (clarification). Since this aging is more than the typical 6-8 weeks with wine kits, I will be injecting some CO2 gas into the FastFerment maybe every 2-3 weeks to flush out any oxygen in the headspace. I don’t expect any significant CO2 loss but one cannot never play it too safe—there will be “some” CO2 loss and oxygen ingress.
An advantage of the FastFerment here is that I will be able to close the union valve, add and stir in the fining agent (I will be using bentonite) without disturbing the sediment. Then I’ll re-open the valve to let the sediment from the fining operation to fall into the collection ball.
I’ll be sure to complete the fining well before the end of winter here in Montreal (Quebec) so that I can take advantage of the cold weather to perform cold stabilization on the wine. And then, another “racking” before bottling.