The Wizard explores the many sensations that tasters experience as a wine goes from grapes, through fermentation, and into the early stages of aging; in order to be a better judge of a wine’s character when finished. Also, a reader has a question about properly adding acid to a barrel.
Q How do I get copper sulfate in accurate diluted food grade form? I would like to treat 5 gallons (19 L) of stinky fruit wine to get rid of the rotten
Volatile acidity (VA) is a flaw that can ruin the aroma of a wine. Explore what exactly VA is, why it is such a problem, and techniques to avoid VA in the future.
There are some winemakers who practice the age-old philosophy that the wine will take care of itself . . . but for those who want to produce the best wines possible, monitoring is key. Bob Peak takes readers through the what, why, and when for testing your wines.
Well, it seems like you have been paid a visit by a colony of Acetobacter, aka acetic acid bacteria. They love air, eat alcohol, and turn it into carbon dioxide and vinegar.
You’re absolutely right, raised corks can either be a problem (if they’re too high, or too high of a percentage from bottle-to-bottle) or it could be nothing at all. The devil is
Q I have a Merlot to which I added SO2 thirteen days ago and it smelled ok. but last night I pulled a sample and it had a bruised apple smell and
Hmmm, it sounds like you’ve got a little bit of sugar left there. I would start, however, with a quick check of your numbers to be sure. A °Brix of -1.0 (0.995
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Sounds like you have a lot of sulfur dioxide in that wine! Assuming standard FSO2 for bottled wine being around 25 ppm, am I correct in
Before you start going crazy with a fermentation restart protocol, are you sure that it is really stuck? The first thing that I would advise you to do is to taste and
It sounds like you are doing the right thing. This is probably an aerophilic “flor” type yeast that is eating alcohol, and in the presence of air (if it was slightly untopped)
Well I like your moxie. Sometimes it takes a little thinking outside the box to really make our beverages sing, and in your case (though it would be anathema to a commercial
You are more in the right here than your brother; when buying wine at a restaurant you really just smell and taste the wine. If the wine smells and tastes fine to
Not knowing any more information than you give above, it’s tough to make specific recommendations so I’ll start with the general ones. Whenever you suspect VA (volatile acidity, or the production of
In the old days we would use paper chromatography to monitor the completion of malolactic fermentation (MLF). We dotted little drips of the sample wine, along with liquid standards of malic and
You’ve worked long and hard to craft that awesome red wine but now, you go down to the cellar to taste a sample out of the carboy or oak barrel to see
This past year brought challenges and rewards for home vineyardists — and also a lot of questions for our vineyard expert Wes Hagen.
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
In my day job in Napa, California (as Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards as well as other consulting projects) I bottle plenty of “partial ML” Chardonnay every year and love the style. In
As budding winemakers, one important principle we heed is protecting juice (must) and wine from oxygen’s baneful effects. But then we learn that yeast needs a “little” oxygen for a good fermentation,
Though tough to define as it can smell different to everyone, there is unfortunately no wine lab analysis panel you can run that says, “Yessir, you’ve got an over-abundance of Ivory Soap
As I walked about the roomful of wine following April’s WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition judging, I was reminded of how little thought is given to closures. Winemaking problems notwithstanding, this could
Did you ever create a wine that seemed more viscous than your typical wine, or which may have exhibited heavier fruity odors, or perhaps a solvent-like smell? The culprits may well be
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of possible causes of stuck and sluggish fermentations, and sometimes, even after careful investigation, we still can never understand what the cause may have been. With Mother Nature