Degassing Your Homemade Wine

Degassing your wine is an important step in the wine making process, but one that is easily overlooked by many new winemakers. Let’s examine some reasons why degassing is critical to making great homemade wine.

The purpose of degassing is to remove the CO2 that is trapped in your wine. If your homemade wine is not properly degassed, you run the risk of having your wine fizzy or foamy when you finally open a bottle to enjoy.

So exactly how is degassing accomplished? You must agitate the wine vigorously enough to drive out any CO2 gas. Methods and recommendations vary, so we can examine a few here so you can see what’s right for your wine making process.

Every wine maker I know has a long-handled spoon for one reason or another. This works fine for degassing your wine, as long as you have extra strong arms and plenty of time on your hands! Minimum stirring times vary, but I’ve always found that if I double the recommended time I’m usually better off if I’m stirring manually.

There are some devices sold that can cut your labor drastically. These are usually mounted to some type of electric drill and used to stir the wine. I’ve used these myself and found they do some lots of time and effort.

I’ve heard of some homemade wine makers that have invented ingenious ways to degas their wines. It involves and wine-saver hand vacuum pump and a bung that you would normally use with an airlock on your secondary fermenter. You simply use the pump as you would if you were trying to preserve a half-full bottle of wine and watch the bubbles as they exit your wine. I love new inventions like this!

So when do you degas your homemade wine? A few days before you bottle your wine is the best time. I usually degas and then let the wine sit for a couple of days.

Please note: If you’re bulk aging your wine in glass carboys and let it sit for 6 months or more, degassing is much less of a problem for you. After aging that long, most of the CO2 will have exited your wines naturally. Degassing is more important with wine kits that are designed for rapidly getting your wine from fermentation to bottling.