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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Dumping your pomace and finding the grapes still juice-laden after pressing is frustrating. The Wizard has some pointers for getting the most from your grapes as well as baking bread with wine yeast and the concerns of light strike on your wines.