Phil Plummer was one of the experienced judges at the 2022 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. After three days of judging he found himself repeating similar comments on numerous entry sheets. Now he’s here to explain in greater depth the most common flaws he tasted and the techniques that can be employed to avoid them in your next vintage.
Tannins are a big piece of the large puzzle when balancing many styles of wine. It’s important to understand ways to increase or decrease their presence when that balance leans too heavily in one direction or the other.
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
Since you can’t measure your free and total SO₂, let’s do some numbers to see what kind of a potential problem you might be facing. First off, let’s talk about your bottle-rinsing
No matter how much attention we give a wine, sometimes it will disappoint when tasted for the first time during aging. It may not be faulted, just lacking a desired characteristic. That’s when it is time to intervene. Qualities like flavor, aroma, body, color, or even tannins can all be improved with a little help.
Ah yes, the classic “I sunk a bunch of pennies in my carboy” tale. Forgetting for a moment that modern pennies contain very little copper, there’s a reason that most winemakers I
Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us! If you can, check your pH and your VA (volatile acidity) to try to get a handle on whether or not this air intrusion caused any chemistry-altering damage to the wine. What I mean is, sometimes when we have an oxygen incursion it can mean an
Ah yes, Monday morning quarterbacking is always tough when it comes to wine. Adding a complex yeast nutrient (a mix of nitrogen, amino acids, and other micronutrients) is something I do with every fermentation. I have the luxury of being able to send my musts and juices to a wine lab to measure their amino
A home winemaker details the four bench trials he conducted to adjust the acidity of a low-pH Sauvignon Blanc to show how the process is done and share the impact each approach had on the wine.
Feedback is one of the quintessential parts of growing and learning in this hobby. There are many avenues a hobby grape grower and winemaker can take for evaluation and advice, so make sure that you’re looking in the right spots.
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
In the June-July 2019 issue we explored some of the most common wine faults you are likely to encounter, whether during your personal winemaking journey or while tasting the wines of others,
Viognier can be a bit of an odd duck. Like Riesling, it can get some of those weird petrol/gas like aromas, and that’s just natural, from the grapes. Like Sauvignon Blanc, it
Why do we subject our wines to competitions? Is it for the professional feedback? Is it for the tasting notes? Is it for the bragging rights? Regardless of your reason to enter
That’s a great question as we approach the harvest season. Though I don’t expect 2019 harvest to be like 2011 or 1998, many of us all over the country, from Oregon to Pennsylvania, will have to deal with some kind of rot or Botrytis close to harvest time. When I’m potentially faced with it, I
All photos courtesy of Shutterstock.com It is not lost on the well-informed winegrower/winemaker that fungi — ancient, single-cell organisms that have been on this planet hundreds of millions of years longer than humans — are our best friend in the winery and our worst enemy in the vineyard. How is that possible? Yeast are fungi,
Before I launch into my information about gum arabic and related products, do take a minute to think that gum arabic may not give you the result you’re looking for. Gum arabic can smooth out the perception of tannins in some wines, but I’ve found that sometimes it can make the problem seem worse. If
Whether you make wine at home, commercially, or simply enjoy drinking it, it’s likely you have encountered faulted wine; maybe it was the subtle aroma of geranium leaves, an aromatically muted glass
I agree with you in that acid adjustments, especially big ones, can best be made in two steps. That way you can see if you like the result as you go along.
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.
I apologize in advance for the lengthy response but this is a fantastic question and I really wanted to flesh out my answer for you and readers that are following along. You are absolutely right to realize that tasting new and developing wines is vastly different than tasting bottled wines. Especially, as wines gain bottle
QHow 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 sewer smell. Michael Seckora Hillsboro, Oregon ACopper sulfate solution is one of those winemaking tools that seems to be tough for home winemakers to
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. Not fun. The biggest issue is that no matter what, once you’ve got them and they’ve produced a certain amount of acetic acid,