Technique

Post-Fermentation Wine Adjustments

Our job isn’t finished when fermentation is over. With many wines, especially reds, you may want to go ahead and do a malolactic (ML) fermentation as well. And during cellaring you need to keep your sulfite program up to avoid oxidation and spoilage. Along the way, though, you may want to make some other significant changes to your wine prior to bottling. These are deliberate, planned adjustments to the taste in pursuit of specific objectives. Possible changes cover a broad range from simple sweetening to use of special-purpose products like finishing tannins. Throughout the process of flavor adjustment, some key principles prevail. You need to choose the desired outcome, plan how to achieve it, make a timing decision, and finally apply the flavor change. First, develop a concept. Do you think your wine might be better if a little sweeter? Possibly improved with some oakiness? Want to do something unusual like add fruit flavors or spices? Whatever you have in mind, taste the wine and think creatively about what you experience. Have other people whose palates you trust taste it.