Stabilizing A Fruit PortMEMBERS ONLY
Well, in the olden days of fortified winemaking, potassium sorbate (a potassium salt of sorbic acid) wasn’t even a thing. While sorbic acid does occur naturally in some plants (rowan berries and hippophae berries, to be exact), almost all of the world’s potassium sorbate is made in a laboratory. In addition to potassium sorbate being
Oak Barrel Aging AdviceMEMBERS ONLY
Hi Larry, congrats on your new piece of equipment! I’m sure you’ll find it adds to the kinds of wine you can make. Since you just filled your barrel and it’s brand new, you might want to open the bung and check the wine level now, since it’s been three weeks. Sometimes new barrels are
Going The Distance: Crafting age-worthy winesMEMBERS ONLY
When you set your sights on making a “keeper” wine, one you plan to lay down for several years, there are certain techniques you can employ to make sure it doesn’t round the bend too soon. Learn how to make that wine worth holding on to.
Achieving Cold Stable WinesMEMBERS ONLY
For those readers who are not familiar with the article referenced, I talk about how it was likely a reader’s malolactic fermentation would pick back up again when the weather warmed up again in the spring (he wanted to over-winter his wine undergoing MLF outside in order to help it get cold stable). It sounds
Topping My Wines OffMEMBERS ONLY
As I explain in my book, The Winemaker’s Answer Book, oxygen can be a friend of wine (especially during active primary fermentation) but is more often its enemy. One of the biggest jobs of being a winemaker entails minimizing oxygen (air) contact in our aging wines by keeping our containers 100% full, or “topped up.”
Sur Lie AgingFREE
Aging wines on the lees can add aromatic complexity, soften tannins, enrich mouthfeel, protect it from oxygen, feed malolactic bacteria, and add longterm stability. Learn how to get the most from sur lie aging, and techniques for removing, storing, and reusing lees.
Wine Bottle DepositsMEMBERS ONLY
I’ll assume you’re going to do red (not rosé) — that’s the easiest for small-volume winemaking. I’ll also assume you’ll hand-destem, so you really don’t need a de-stemmer. Just get out as many stems as you can by hand. You’ll need a good food-grade fermenter like a small, food-grade trashcan or a bin that you
Varnish on Mini BarrelsMEMBERS ONLY
Well, I suppose you could sand the varnish off if you didn’t like it very much . . . but, realistically, I don’t think it’ll affect the wine that much. If you’ve read some of my pieces on smaller barrels you know that the smaller the vessel the higher the ratio of air exposure to
Aging your wine is not the most exciting winemaking topic, but it is a critical topic. Aging wine is considered from the time after your fermentation is completed through the time spent
Quality ControlMEMBERS ONLY
In deciding to bottle, age or toss this batch, I suggest you spend some quality time with your barrel. Though you’re just past the usual bottling window (typical aging time for premium red wines is 10–18 months, depending on the varietal and style) you may be able to catch it before it goes south. Especially
Light Strike in Wine?MEMBERS ONLY
I would definitely try to store your wine in the dark if you can. Your wines are in what I’m assuming are clear glass demijohns and over the year or more aging you might want for the wine, it could be enough to be detrimental to your wine’s quality. Interestingly, it’s not damage to your
The Importance of Temperature Control in WinemakingFREE
Not properly controlling the temperature of your grapes, must, juice, or wine can have lasting impacts. Learn when and how to take control.
Not all wines can or should be backsweetened, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the process. Find out the basics of backsweetening.
Design a Wine CellarMEMBERS ONLY
Although most bottles of wine you purchase in the store are sold ready-to-drink, wines made with certain grapes can and will improve with age. That’s not the case for home winemakers, whose freshly bottled wines often require a minimum of a few months of bottle aging for white wines, and a year or more for
Determining A Wine’s AgeabilityFREE
I’ll answer your last questions first and then give you my thoughts on the age-worthiness of your wine. RS (residual sugar) “Dry” (no sugar remaining) is usually considered 0.2% or less (2
Dealing With Persistent SedimentFREE
Goodness, you’ve got a persistent sediment source in your wines that’s for sure. You’ve removed the gross particles by racking and filtration.You’ve cleared out proteins by using bentonite. You’ve taken out excess
Lees and You: Dead yeast can be your friendMEMBERS ONLY
Aging on fine lees has traditionally been reserved for Muscadets, white Burgundy wines, and classic champenoise-style wines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize this with other wines. Learn the hows and whys of aging your wine on lees.
Aging Wine Kits: Tips From the ProsFREE
Kit wines are often consumed fairly young, but great things can happen if you allow the bottles to age longer. Two supply shop owners give guidance and teach the basics of patience and best practices for aging kit wines.
Aging Potential: Understanding the lifespan of your wineFREE
For many wine lovers, the subject of a wine’s aging potential can be intimidating or seem like artful science that is best left to the wine gurus of the world. Some are
Adjusting Acid In An Aged WineFREE
You can absolutely adjust acidity in a wine when it is one year old. Though I often say that it’s best to do major adjustments early on in a wine’s life (since
Freezing Grape MustMEMBERS ONLY
If you have the freezer space I say freeze, freeze away! It’s actually somewhat common (for those grape producers who specialize in it like Brehm Vineyards, Vino Superiore, or Wine Grapes Direct) for growers to freeze grapes and ship them to areas of the country where they don’t grow so well naturally. I myself used
Glass vs. WoodFREE
Home winemakers tend to ferment in glass carboys (big 5-gallon/19-L jars, essentially) because they are usually better-sized and more convenient to a home hobbyist than larger vessels like a 59-gallon (223-L) barrel.
Topping Up Your WineFREE
What does “topping up” mean and when should it be done?
Fermentation and Aging ContainersFREE
Fermentation and aging vessels winemakers have to decide between include oak, glass, plastic, and stainless steel. Each has its own pros and cons to be weighed.
Aging Country Fruit WinesMEMBERS ONLY
Wine is a dynamic chemical soup, constantly changing, evolving, reducing and oxidizing. From the moment it is made, its fate is sealed. Yes, it will improve, mature, reach a peak, and then it will decline and eventually become undrinkable. The best we can do is make it in such a way that it ages gradually,