No two fermentations are the same, which means that there is always more to be learned with each one! Give your yeast the best chance for success by creating an ideal environment for a clean fermentation.
Wine was made for millennia with little intervention from humans. But let’s be honest, we have no idea how those wines tasted. Today we know that yeast create the wine and keeping them happy is crucial for producing good wine. Learn how nitrogen plays a pivotal role.
Well, it’s tough to say what would make one cloudy and the other clear, except for the fact that they may not have been identical coming from your fermenters. If you did blend/homogenize after pressing, then it’s possible you’re seeing the cloudy wine (pH 3.77) going through the MLF (malolactic fermentation) a little more quickly
Many of us in winemaking were trained to trust Saccharomyces yeast and not leave our wines to chance with wild strains. But winds of change are in the air and yeast companies are now turning to many non-Saccharomyces yeasts for certain purposes.
You got a chuckle out of me. Indeed, how dare you introduce vinegar to your wines! I’m actually very happy that you’re writing so you can learn how not to introduce vinegar
While the density of water at room temperature is 1.000 standard gravity, finished dry wine should be less dense than that. Photo courtesy of Tim Vandergrift It certainly sounds like you are getting into the dryness zone. Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a liquid in relation to the density of water,
I’m glad that you are attuned to your yeast and realize that some strains are “killer factor positive” and one is “sensitive.” I really wish that the yeast industry had come up with a different term than “killer,” it makes it sound like yeast cells are going to, like some monster from a 1960’s B
Ethanol may be the most prominent and well-known alcohol in wine, but it is not the only one to play a large role in a wine’s character. Learn about the various alcohols in wine.
There are a lot of enzyme products available to winemakers, but in general they can be broken into just a few classes. Learn when and why a winemaker might use some of these various enzymes, especially during maceration.
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
If you make your own wine, no matter what kind, the concept of malolactic fermentation (MLF) should be well embedded in your mind. Learn some of the basics of MLF.
That is a great question and I’m really glad you asked. Sometimes when those of us who have been making wines for quite some time write about some technique, process, or concept that we may think of as “simple,” we need to rethink for a moment that how we describe something might not be so
Well, your grape or juice source really put you in a bind. Those are some of the most unbalanced initial numbers I’ve ever seen, and I would seriously consider getting your juice from another source next year. Numbers like that — with the acid being so low and the Brix simultaneously being low may be,
Winemakers typically add sorbate (aka sorbic acid, often purchased as potassium sorbate) when they want to bottle a wine with a little residual sugar. It is often added right before backsweetening and bottling. Sorbate will inhibit the reproduction of yeast cells but it will not “kill” yeast, nor will it inhibit or kill bacteria. It
Yes, sluggish and stuck fermentations are one of the most common, persistent, and frustrating issues that winemakers encounter. They happen for so many reasons, and possibly for a combination of so many
They say winemaking is part science, part art. That expression may ring most true when it comes to fermenting red wines. While there have been numerous studies and much research regarding the benefits of various techniques used during fermentation, winemakers still often go with their gut, rely on their own experiences, and preferences. And the
When I was assigned the story detailing the decisions that come up during red wine fermentations, I began to block out the options and decision trees that occur before, during, and after fermentation. As I finished the decisions that I considered important, I realized that suggesting best practices was very difficult from a single voice
Whether it is choosing a yeast strain, halting fermentation with a little residual sugar, putting a wine through malolactic fermentation, or a myriad of other options, there is a lot to consider when fermenting white wines.
The benefits of cold soaking are debated among winemakers, but those who subscribe to the technique of keeping (usually red) grapes cool for a few days prior to fermentation swear by it. Two pros share their reasons why they always cold soak, and how you can do it at home too. Ann Moller-Racke, Blue Farm
Not properly controlling the temperature of your grapes, must, juice, or wine can have lasting impacts. Learn when and how to take control.
I applaud you for trying fresh winegrapes in your home winemaking, you’re lucky that you are (relatively) close to a fine winegrape growing area like the Santa Ynez Valley. I grew up just down the California coast from there and one of my first harvests was at Curtis Winery in the area that at the
Well, according to specific gravity, your cucumber wine (sounds refreshing) is dry. For RS-dry (residual sugar dry) you want to look for an SG of 0.992 and 0.996 on your hydrometer. If your wine is dry, with no sugar left to ferment, and it’s still actively producing CO2, then the next thing I’d wonder about
Malolactic fermentations tend to stall, or not catch on at all, due to these seven most common factors: High alcohol: Over 14.5% and most strains will go through slowly. Over 15.5% and most strains will completely balk at the prospect. You don’t seem to have this problem.Low pH: Below 3.3 and strains will slow down
A fermentation is “stuck” when it fails to reach the desired conversion level of sugar, usually coming to a halt somewhere below 10 °Brix. It does not refer to a failure to start, which is a different issue. I used to have a lot of stuck fermentations at home but really haven’t had a problem for
You are absolutely right that most wines, especially those that are inoculated and have favorable conditions, will go malolactic (ML) complete within six or eight months of harvest. Even if your area gets cold and your ML bacteria have to take a bit of a “long winter’s nap,” it’s likely they’ll wake up when the