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Why Is My Homemade Wine Fizzy?

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Ed Kraus There have been 8 comment(s)

Homemade Wine That Is FizzyI bottled some blackberry a few months ago. When I opened a bottle today it fizzed over and kept bubbling for a while. What did I do wrong, I followed a wine recipe?

Name: Ed W.
State: FL
Hello Ed,

Sorry to hear that your wine has gotten a little out of control. Let's see if we can figure out what's going on. There are basically two ways a homemade wine can end up fizzy or bubbly. I'll go over them here:


1. Re-Fermentation:
This is the most common way to get a fizzy wine. When a fermentation stops it usually means that it has finished. That means all the sugars in the wine must have been fermented into alcohol. There are no more sugars to ferment.

But on occasion a fermentation will stop before the sugars are all gone. This is known as a stuck fermentation. This can happen for a number of reasons: wrong fermentation temperature, using distilled water, etc. (see The Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure) For this reason it is important that you check the must with a wine hydrometer to confirm that all the sugars have been fermented before moving on to the next step.

If you continue on with the wine recipe and end up bottling the wine with sugars still in it, then a fermentation could start up within any or all the wine bottles at any time in the future, even months down the road. It is important to remember that even the slightest amount of fermentation can cause a lot of fizzy within the wine.

Shop Potassium SorbateThe only exception to the above is if you have added potassium sorbate to the wine, also known as wine stabilizer. If you have added this before bottling, then the chance have having a re-fermentation within the wine bottles is greatly diminished. The same holds true if you have sweetened the wine before bottling. You need to add potassium sorbate along with the sugar to eliminate a potential for a re-fermentation within the wine bottle.


2. Bacterial Infection:
This is not as common of a reason for a homemade wine being fizzy as a re-fermentation, but it happens. If the fermenters, stirring spoons, hoses, wine bottles, corks and anything else the wine comes into contact with has not been sufficiently sanitized, then you run the risk of infecting your wine with a bacteria.

There are many excellent sanitizers on the market. We recommend Basic A because it is very safe and simple to use. You should also add sulfites directly to the wine after the fermentation, and again, right before bottling the wine. If you miss killing some bacteria, then adding sulfites such as Campden tablet or sodium metabisulfite to the wine will go a long way towards protecting it.


One thing you have mentioned is that the wine is fizzy instead of bubbly. If the wine has re-fermented, most people would describe it as bubbly and not fizzy. The CO2 bubbles from a fermentation are pretty good size. Fizzy sounds like the bubbles are smaller than that. That is what you would expect to find with a bacterial infection.

Shop Basic AYou also said that it fizzed for a long time. This is fairly definitive. When you get a fizzing that bubbles evenly for a period of time, that is also an indicator of a bacterial infection. Carbonation from a re-fermentation is more explosive and short-lived. A bacterial infection is not explosive. Once you open the bottle, it take a few seconds for it to build up a head of steam and get going.

I'm not sure, because I am not there, but I would guess the reason your homemade wine is fizzy is because of a bacterial infection. That being the case, sanitation of equipment and use of sulfites needs to be the focus when making future batches.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
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.

This post was posted in Wine Making Blog

8 thoughts on “Why Is My Homemade Wine Fizzy?”

  • Art K

    If you discover a bacterial infection is causing fizzing, can you still drink the wine?

  • brenda hutchison
    brenda hutchison May 24, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I starter 5 gallon white zintandel may 25 when will I drink it

  • Customer Service
    Customer Service May 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Art, yes you can. Adding sulfites to the wine will easily destroy the bacteria, so it will be safe to drink. It is more a matter of: is the wine enjoyable. If so, then fine.

  • Customer Service
    Customer Service May 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Brenda, for the wine to reach it's best, you will want it to age before drinking, usually for several months. If you are making your wine from a box ingredient kit, technically, you can be drinking it right when you bottle it. That would be around June 20th, or 28 days after you started it. If you are making wine from fresh Zinfandel grapes, it will be two or three months before drinking is possible, and again, it is better to let it age.

  • Bobby O

    Sometimes my wine is what I call effervescent when I open a bottle. I usually take some out and give it a good shake (an intense decanting) and after it sits for a minute or two it calms down and tastes real good. I always thought it was a bit too much Potassium Metabisulfate from the wets I leave in the bottles after sanitizing. Is it possible that bacteria could be infecting my wine even though I sanitize religiously, and what kind of a taste/smell would that give off?

    • Ed Kraus

      Bobby, a bacterial infection is a possibility, however, a re-fermentation in the bottle is also a strong possibility. Did you verify with your hydrometer that the specific gravity reached .998 or less before bottling the wine? For more information on this subject, please take a look at the article posted below.

      Fizzy Wine

  • Lauren S

    Just started my first batch of wine using the Connoisseur Kit and naively used distilled water thinking purest would be best. Now I'm reading that it will cause fizzy wine from stuck fermentation. Is there a cure? My wine has been in the primary fermentation tank for just 24 hours so I want to fix it before it's too late. Please help!

    • Ed Kraus

      Lauren, all you need to due to avoid a stuck fermentation due to the use of distilled water is add magnesium sulfate/epsom salt at 1/2 teaspoon for each 5-6 gallons of wine. It will add the minerals missing from water that has been distilled. The following article link will discuss this further.

      Distilled Water

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