A concerned reader asks the Wizard why commercially-purchased wines might have their corks raised. She also answers questions on metabisulfite use before malolactic fermentation, when to re-test for pH, and dealing with Acetobacter issues.
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
Your nose (bruised apple/sweet smell) and your chemical analysis (loss of Free SO2) are telling me that you have an oxygen ingress problem and aldehydes and perhaps an increase in VA (volatile
I need help to prevent oxidation. I make about 40 gallons (151 L) from California grapes each year, usually finishing quite nice, but last year’s Sangiovese suffers from oxidation. After fermentation and
Dear Wine Wizard, I am in the process of vinting a Champagne, and after having read of a couple of different ways to create the “sparkling” effect, I am now thoroughly confused.
Remember, every time you open your barrel, you introduce air and potentially some undesirable spoilage organisms.
Oak barrels (and barrels made of other woods, sometimes acacia wood or even cherry wood) are really structurally amazing.
Well, I will admit I have never made a passion fruit wine (living in Napa, those pesky grapes just seem to be the most convenient sugar source at hand) but I will
Pasteurization operates on a sliding scale and its effectiveness depends on a coefficient between time and temperature.
Excluding bacteria that can eat malic acid and turn it into lactic acid is the only way to make sure you don’t get refermentation in the bottle.
Your Zinfandel probably had a good reason (in the wine’s opinion, anyway) why it didn’t go through ML fermentation.
Sorry to say, but it sounds like you’ve got a no-bueno situation. White grapes should always be pressed as soon as possible after picking in order to reduce juice (and subsequent wine)
Red wines are typically not fined as often as white wines, to which we often add bentonite in order to remove potentially haze-causing proteins. The tannin from the skins of red wines
Spices and other added flavorings in home winemaking are one of the trickiest things to get right.
My rule is no chlorine bleach in my wineries, never, nohow. Anything containing chlorine might contribute to the dreaded “corked wine aroma,” 2-4-6 trichloroanisole (TCA), in your finished wines. It can be
That’s an interesting data set you present there. What I’m about to tell you, please take with many grains of salt because I am not privy to the growing locations of your
Wine clarifiers, or ‘fining agents’ as they (and a whole host of other wine-finishing additives) are called, are creatures of degrees.
The short answer to your question: yes, if you dilute your wine sample before running a Ripper analysis for SO2, you then need to multiply your result by the dilution factor you
Wow, can I fly to the Philippines for a little research and equipment-scouting trip? We can sample some of your wine, do a little research into tropical fruit winemaking, go see what
Well well, what do you know? That’s a question I’ve never been asked before in all my years of writing this column! The spirit of the vintage laws for commercial wine is
I suspect you’ve got a fatty acid issue caused by your stuck/sluggish fermentation. S. cerevisiae can emit fatty acids when under fermentive stress . . .
. . . you could also buy some powdered grape tannin, use oak chips, or even use a cup of strong black tea to add some tannin backbone to the wine if it’d be tough for you to obtain grape skins.
There are a few effects on a wine if you add more yeast. Number one, the fermentation might start a little faster and go to completion faster because there are simply more
Ah, the Wiz has visions of broken bottles in your future and it’s a prognostication I wouldn’t like to see become reality. Let’s just say my Fermentation Magic 8 Ball says, “See
I would be very cautious (or at least very realistic) about buying Vitis vinifera vines for your Florida vineyard. Most states in the country have their own burgeoning vineyard and winery region