Technique

20 Home Winemaking Troubleshooting Tips

In a notebook of fermentation hobby records, I have a lab report dated November 3, 1998. That soil pre-plant analysis from Fruit Growers Laboratory marked my start 20 years ago in becoming a home grape grower and vintner. Along the way, I have seen and addressed pitfalls and trouble spots that can come up on the way to producing a delicious adult beverage. Now, with 20 years of home winemaking experience myself, I am delighted to participate in this WineMaker magazine 20th anniversary issue. To keep the theme going I will share my 20 top troubleshooting tips for making every kind of wine. Some faults and flaws are so common that just about any kind of wine can fall prey to them. Whether working with kits, making country wines from fruits and herbs, or processing fresh grapes, problems may show up. For my 20 tips, I’ll discuss some of these “universal” cases first, then go on to specific difficulties and solutions for different styles of wine. Universal Tips 1. Pectin problems These polysaccharides (sugar polymers) are common in fruits of