Technique

Troubleshooting Guide for Home Winemaking

A perfect stranger wanting to strike up a conversation about winemaking once came up to me and said, “Making wine is really easy. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.” Making wine is easy when all is “perfect,” but nothing is ever perfect in winemaking. Making great wine is a challenge more often than not given the multitude of problems, faults and spoilages that inevitably happen. The degree of difficulty lies in our skills in overcoming those problems and still craft great wines, or at least salvaging all that time and money we invested and not having to dump the wine. This troubleshooting guide lists the most common types of problems, faults and spoilages you may encounter, how to fix them, and how to prevent them in the first place. In trying to zero in on a probable cause, first clearly identify the symptom(s) and try to narrow it down to one most likely root cause using visual and organoleptic cues, and then take corrective action. Not all problems can be corrected; in some cases, the only course of action is