Sacrificial Tannins Explained, Yeast Rehydration, and Stabilizing A Fruit PortMEMBERS ONLY
The term “sacrificial tannins” is something that gets casually tossed into the winemaking lexicon by those who have been in the trade for a while . . . but what does it really mean? Get an explanation along with tips for rehydrating dry yeast and techniques to properly stabilize a fortified wine.
Blending Guidance and Smoke Taint MitigationMEMBERS ONLY
Winemaking may be more a science, but blending is definitely an art. The Wizard has some tips for a rookie winemaker looking to possibly blend five different wines. Also, make sure you’re up on the latest knowledge and mitigation methods surrounding the phenomenon known as smoke taint.
Oak-Aging Advice and Strategies for a Chaptalization MistakeMEMBERS ONLY
Maintaining wine while it ages in oak is an important task. Make sure you are taking the appropriate steps. Also, a winemaker can’t get their latest wine to start fermentation. The Wine Wizard unravels the mystery behind the unfermentable juice.
Tasting Wine In Stages and Bottling BluesMEMBERS ONLY
As a winemaker evolves, learning how to evaluate their wine during different stages of maturation can be key. The Wine Wizard has some thoughts on what to expect when tasting wines at various young ages as well as kegging homemade wine.
Using The Smoke, Campden Tablets, Getting Grape Updates, and Some Pearls of Wiz-domMEMBERS ONLY
With wildfires on the rise in many wine regions around the world, smoke taint has become a common phrase. Learn about it and ways winemakers may be able to try to make the best from affected grapes. Also learn about Campden tablets, getting news on grape growing conditions, and some other pearls of wiz-dom.
Bottling Tips and Wine Judge EtiquetteMEMBERS ONLY
Bottling is typically the final step towards producing wine where a winemaker can foul things up. Get some recommendations from the Wizard on when and how to bottle your wines. Also get some pointers on proper etiquette of being a wine judge.
Practical Advice For Oak Chips and Volatile AcidityMEMBERS ONLY
Q I am using Flextanks and oak chips for my wine and am really liking the results. However, I put the oak chips in loose and they clog up the tubing and pump when I rack. I was thinking of making some bags out of mesh to put the oak chips in, but was wondering
Malolactic-palooza and The Importance Of pHMEMBERS ONLY
Malolactic fermentation can be finicky even for professional winemakers, but there are protocols winemakers can follow to help avoid the headache (and heartache). Learn those along with best practices for a post-fermentation acid adjustment.
Fermentation Completion, Vinegar Storage Space and Cantaloupe WineMEMBERS ONLY
A winemaker is left scratching their head when a wine that seemingly has fermented dry is still producing bubbles. The Wizard also provides suggestions for vinegar storage and the possible cause of odd-colored speckles on a cantaloupe wine.
Matching Quality Grapes With Oak And The Complexities Of Raspberry WineMEMBERS ONLY
When a winemaker gets their hands on some highly coveted Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, he wants to make sure that the oak quality matches the grape. But he balks at the price tag of a new oak barrel. Get some tips for high-quality oak alternatives and ways to correct a raspberry wine with weird numbers.
Uneven Ripening, Sensing Ripeness, and Killer YeastMEMBERS ONLY
It’s hard to get universal ripening of your grapes in a small vineyard with lots of variability. The Wizard provides some pointers as well as clues to determining grape ripeness when the refractometer is left home. Plus, the threat of contamination from “killer” yeast.
Preserving Oak Barrels, Oversulfited Wine, Film on a Carboy, and Beginner TipsMEMBERS ONLY
What is the best way to store oak barrels that don’t have wine in them? Get the answer from the Wine Wizard, as well as her advice for a case of oversulfited wine, removing white film from a glass carboy, and five tips for a rookie winemaker.
Top Me Off, Rules of Fining, and Achieving Cold Stable WinesMEMBERS ONLY
Get some pointers and considerations a winemaker needs to keep in mind when topping off your aging wine vessels. The Wizard also answers questions on fining agents and malolactic fermentation after cold stabilizing a wine.
Protecting Your Wine, Cap Temperature, Copper Sulfate Additions, and Carbonation HelpMEMBERS ONLY
Oxidation is one of the most common faults among homemade wines. The Wiz has some tips for minimizing exposure during racking along with advice for how to read fermentation temperature, reducing reductive stink with copper, and carbonating a dessert wine.
More Butter, Please; Caveats with Pectic Enzymes; and Wonky Grape NumbersMEMBERS ONLY
Not everyone loves a buttery Chardonnay but for those that seek out this characteristic the Wine Wizard has some sage fermentation advice to achieve buttery bliss. Also, one reader wonders about adding pectic enzymes in a red wine and another is perplexed by the numbers in his recently purchased juice.
Ozone Sanitation and Filtering FactsMEMBERS ONLY
Q I’ve heard that a lot of wineries are using ozone for their sanitation programs. I make about ten barrels of wine a year — should I buy an ozonator machine? Bernice MichelFillmore, California A Though ozone is an excellent tool for winery sanitation, the short answer is that unless you’ve got over fifty barrels
Making it Legal, Antique Grape Juice: Wine WizardMEMBERS ONLY
Q I have been making wine at home for the past five years and my friends tell me I am pretty good! They like my wine and I thought about starting to sell it at our local farmers’ market. My question is, when do I cross the line from being just a home hobbyist (which
Oxygen Ingression, Volatile Acidity Interventions, Sorbate Question, and Malolactic TimingMEMBERS ONLY
Sometimes we get several questions that revolve around a similar theme. The Wine Wizard had several questions this go-round on volatile acidity and malolactic fermentation. She provides some specifics for winemakers who have bigger picture problems on their hands.
Egg White Fining and OveroakingMEMBERS ONLY
Using egg whites Q I’m making a white wine and want to add egg white to help with the fining before my last racking. Is there any information on how to do the egg white thing? Ben GarciaColorado Springs, Colorado A For readers who don’t know, adding a solution of egg whites to wine does
Free SO2, Bottle Drop, First SO2 Addition, and Oak SanitationMEMBERS ONLY
A winemaker asks for some pointers on when to test for sulfite on their wines using their new sulfite testing kit. Also, learn about curing wine plating, basic equipment required for a winemaker making the jump from kits to fresh grapes, and preparing oak for wine.
Fermenting Anything & Pectic Enzymes: Wine WizardMEMBERS ONLY
Q Though most of us think “grapes” when we think wine, I live in Michigan and can’t help but notice that wineries out here make wine out of a lot of other fruits, like cherries and peaches. I’ve even heard of dandelion wine and wine made from grass clippings — can you make wine out
Vineyard Planning, Varnish on Mini Barrels, Macerating Skin Packs, and Degassing WineMEMBERS ONLY
A proud new owner of a sulfite test kit wants to know how often to test. The Wizard also answers questions on backyard vineyard planning, urethane coating on an oak barrel, extended maceration on a kit’s skin packet, and degassing wines.
Adding Acid to Sanitize, Sparkling Situation: Wine WizardMEMBERS ONLY
The second and perhaps the most important reason is that if you’re doing your final rinsing with an acid blend that contains malic acid, you’re potentially releasing a food source for various bacteria into your equipment and into your cellar’s environment (like drains).
Yeast-free wine and quality control: Wine WizardMEMBERS ONLY
The good news is that most wines that you can buy off the supermarket shelf don’t contain a lot of yeast cells; if they did, the wines would look cloudy and might even re-ferment in the bottle.
Chlorine Conundrum & Country Wines: Wine WizardMEMBERS ONLY
I never use any chlorine-containing cleaning compounds in my winemaking and don’t recommend it to anyone. There are plenty of alternatives for cleaning, one of my favorites being sodium percarbonate.