Topic: Troubleshooting

84 result(s).

Acetobacter Problems

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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.

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Cork Variability

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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

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The Sulfite Blues, Curing A Stuck Fermentation and Freezing Grapes

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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

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Sluggish Fermentation Woes

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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

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Over-Sulfited Wine

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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

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Stuck Fermentations

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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

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White Film In My Wine Barrel

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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)

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Adding Sambuca to Wine

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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

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Sniffing The Cork

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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


Dealing With Volatile Acidity

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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

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Testing for MLF Completion

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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

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Detecting, Measuring, and Preventing Volatile Acidity

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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

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Vineyard Queries: A Year of Questions and Answers

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This past year brought challenges and rewards for home vineyardists — and also a lot of questions for our vineyard expert Wes Hagen.

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Troubleshooting Guide for Home Winemaking

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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

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Can Lysozyme Arrest MLF?

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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

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Understanding Oxygen and Oxidation in Winemaking

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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,

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Soapy Taste In Wine

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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

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Volatile Acidity

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An introduction into volatile acidity (VA) and how to avoid it.


Choosing Corks and Wine Closures

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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

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Higher Alcohol Off-Odors in Wine

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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

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Stuck Fermentations

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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


Top 10 Winemaking Myths

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As in many fields — health promoting and weight-loss diets come to mind — that have grown from unfounded beliefs and around traditions, with newfound scientific knowledge proving or disproving long-held theories,

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Fermentation Troubleshooting with Wine Kits

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The failure rate of wine made from kits is very low. Looking back at my database for the last 14 years and eliminating the weirder stuff (you simply would not believe how

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Gum Arabic: Winemaking’s Secret Weapon

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Gum arabic can do so many great things for your wines, from improving mouthfeel, making a thin wine taste fuller bodied, rounding out rough edges of grape tannins, increasing persistence of bubbles

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Make Your Own Red Wine Aroma Sensory Kit

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Improve your ability to pick out aromas in a glass of wine with the use of an aroma kit. There are many wine aroma kits available but most cost well above $100;

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