How to Degas Wine: 3 Simple Approaches
One of the key steps of home-made wine production is wine degassing. Gas, namely carbon dioxide, forms into the wine during the fermentation process, as a result of the action of yeast.
You shouldn’t worry too much about degassing in the case of other home-made beverages, such as cider or beer, but in wine, and especially in still wine, the carbon dioxide affects the quality and taste of the drink, so you must get rid of it.
If you make wine according to the traditional methods and leave the wine to mature for quite a while in a carboy or barrel, then wine degassing is not a big issue, since the carbon dioxide will dissipate along with time.
Instead, if you’re expecting to bottle the drink in a couple of months after the production, then you should probably learn how to degas wine.
Importance of Wine Degassing
Although it might not seem an important issue, wine degassing is essential if you want to make a high-quality drink. Carbon dioxide have various negative effects on your wine.
First of all, the carbon dioxide will prevent the proper clearing of thewine. If this is not so visible in the case of red wines, it will definitely affect the clearness of the white ones.
Secondly, carbon dioxide makes the drink carbonated. Now, this is not a major inconvenience in the case of white wines, which can be produced as sparkling wines, but it will affect the quality of red wines, which should generally be still.
Thirdly, carbon dioxide has an unpleasant impact on the taste of the wine, giving it an acid flavor. It’s useless to say that this aftertaste is highly undesirable, especially if you want to impress someone with your drink.
How to Degas Wine
Wine degassing is a quite simple process but it must be performed correctly if you want to make an excellent wine. There are three methods for wine degassing. Below we describe each method, so you will be able to choose your favorite one.
1. Natural Wine Degassing
The most simple and easiest way to degas wine is leaving it to mature in a carboy or barrel for a few months. The carbon dioxide will slowly come out of the suspension, leaving your wine still and delicious.
This method is used by most wineries, since they usually mature their wines for a really long time, sometimes even for years.
If you choose this method, arm yourself with patience and let the carbon dioxide slowly escape from the wine. Make sure to rack the wine thoroughly to get rid of all the sediment, and check on your wine regularly throughout the degassing period. If you notice any accumulated sediment, consider racking the wine again to not alter its taste.
2. Wine Degassing Through Agitation
If you don’t want to wait for a long time before bottling your wine, you can degas it through agitation. The method is extremely simple, and probably the most popular, but it is essential to perform it correctly.
If you want to degas your wine through agitation, you will need a dedicated tool, called a “wine degassing rod” or simply “de-gasser”. There are various models available on the market that are sold independently
Wine Degassing Rod
or you can purchase a winemaking kit with a wine degassing rod included in the package.
Quick Tip: If you're new to making wine at home, and don't want to purchase all of the equipment separately, make sure you check out our Homemade Wine Starter kit. This contains all the equipment needed to get started right away!
The technique is very simple. Following these steps, you will be able to degas your wine efficiently.
- Rack the wine into a carboy.
- Stir the wine vigorously with the degassing rod for about five minutes. You can use a degassing rod that can be attached to an electrical drill. In this way, you will only have to push the on/off button.
- Seal the carboy with the airlock and let it sit for some hours.
- Return and stir the wine again for several minutes, just as you did the first time.
- Seal the carboy again with the airlock and let it sit.
- Repeat this operation for several days, maybe for a week, in order to adequately degas the wine.
As you can see, degassing wine with this method is very simple, and it is not even time-consuming. However, if you decide to use the drill, you should take some precautions.
First of all, be careful not to splash any wine into the drill, as there is a risk to get electrocuted.
Secondly, if the carboy is too full, it would probably be a great idea to empty it a little. The stirring will create a whirlpool effect and the liquid could easily overflow if you don’t pay attention to this aspect. Also, use the drill on the lowest speed setting.
3. Wine Degassing With Vacuum
The third method of wine degassing is with the help of vacuum. There are specially designed vacuum pumps that can be used for this purpose.
The principle of this method is very simple. Basically, the carbon dioxide will be released from the suspension because of the negative pressure that is created inside the carboy. You will have to seal the carboy with a rubber top and use the pump to remove the carbon dioxide using the technique stated in the purchasing package.
The downside of this method is that it is really time-consuming. The actual degassing time will depend on how much carbon dioxide is contained by the wine and on thestrength of the vacuum. Most vacuum pumps available on the market will not create a strong vacuum since there is the risk that the carboy could implode.
How Do You Know When The Wine Has Been Properly Degassed?
Regardless which wine degassing method is used a frequent question is how do you know when the wine is properly degassed?
Well, there are various ways to see if the wine was degassed properly. Probably the most simple is to stir it and see if there is any “chain” of bubbles rising from the drink or if any foam is formed above the liquid. If you notice any of these, your wine is not completely degassed.
Another method is to pour some wine into a jar, close it and shake it for about thirty seconds. Open the jar and listen. If you hear the characteristic sound of the carbonated drinks, degas your wine some more. If you hear nothing, you’ve done an excellent job.
The last method is tasting the wine. In this way, you will be able to feel if the wine is sparkling or not. However, know that an acidic wine might give the impression of carbonation, so be very careful to make the difference between the two things.
Have you ever degassed wine before? Which is your preferred method and why? Leave a comment below with any questions or tips.
And now that you know how to degas wine, go and make an excellent drink.