Topic: Wine-Wizard

Mellowing A Big Wine

Even my “purist” winemaking friends usually aren’t opposed to doing a little egg white fining when it comes to smoothing out the rough edges on their big reds. It’s an ancient and

Understanding Bentonite, Refractometers vs. Hydrometers, and Mellowing A Big Wine

Most folks I talk to say that sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite are interchangeable in winemaking.

Chlorine In My Wine

Oh dear. I fear that your wine has been contaminated not just with chlorine, but with the dreaded TCA, or tri-chloroanisole aroma defect. Also known as the “corked” aroma, TCA is the

Malolactic Problems and Cleaning with Chlorine

Some of the SO2 gas created by the sulfur wick certainly will transfer into the wine as sulfur dioxide.

Wine Press Mold Growth and Magnesium Sulfate Vineyard Sprays

It’s very possible this mold bloom was caused by a change in the weather or a change in your cellar environment.

Is Potassium Sorbate In A Port Necessary?

I’m with you. If I was making a Port-style wine and it was 20% alcohol and 100–150 g/L residual sugar (10–15%) I would forgo the potassium sorbate altogether. I am not a

First-Time Barrel Soaking, Wine Flower and High Brix Grapes

It is entirely normal for the first soaking of a barrel to produce a dark-colored water.

Sniffing The Cork, Screwcap Closures and the Facts About Wine Headaches

Interestingly, a cork may smell “tainted” and the wine below it might be just fine, or, better said the wine in the bottle may be below your TCA threshold.

The Facts About Wine Headaches

I’ve seen a few of these kinds of articles (ahem, I mean advertisements) floating around on the internet and it always results in an epic Wine Wizard “facepalm” upon reading. For starters,

Screwcap Closures

Those are all great questions, let me see which order I’ll tackle them in. Firstly, we discuss corks for the most part on the pages of WineMaker Magazine not because they’re the

Sniffing The Cork

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

What’s This? and Calculating Proper Yeast Pitching

To quote one of my favorite UC-Davis professors, the newly-retired Dr. Linda Bisson, “No human pathogen can survive in wine.”

Yeast Pitching Rates

Good for you for branching out. Apple cider has astronomically increased in popularity in the United States in the past few years and I see an increasing number of wineries trying their

Submerge Those Oak Chips, Wine Yields and a Copper Problem

I actually prefer using a sock or some kind of bag rather than just having chips float loose on the surface.

Dealing With A Copper Problem

That’s too bad that you added more copper sulfate than you intended to. Copper is an effective, legal, and ancient (the Romans knew about its curative powers in winemaking) tool for reducing

Some Reductive Resolutions, Using Essential Oils, and Residual Sugar

You might want to try gradually introducing a little more oxygen into your winemaking process, especially early on when wines are more resilient to shifts in redox potential. Reductive off-odors may come from many sources, but thanks to new yeast strains available to winemakers, fermentation doesn’t need to be one of them.

Calculating Residual Sugar

That’s certainly an interesting question and one for which the short answer is “no such equation exists.” The longer answer attempts to help explain why, even though you think you should have

Making White Zinfandel

Funny you ask this question as I’ve just now got three tanks full of 2016 Monterey Pinot Noir rosé fermenting in the winery. White Zinfandel, contrary to what some folks think, is

Dealing With Volatile Acidity

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

Testing for MLF Completion

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

Red Wine Stabilization and Making White Zinfandel

Oxidation, whether microbial (metabolically), chemical (directly reacting with environmental oxygen), or enzymatic can degrade color and cause less than optimal conditions for the survival
of colored compounds.

Red Wine Stabilization

Ever open a bottle of red wine you’ve lovingly saved for 20 years only to be disappointed as a brick-orange liquid followed by a brownish sludge falls into your glass? The issue

Evaporation Clarification

Thanks for clarifying your question a little bit. I am glad to hear you regularly top off your barrels, it’s a practice all of us need to do. Alcohol and water definitely

Oak Barrel Seepage

I’ve certainly had the odd leaker (or three) but I’ve never experienced trans-stave leakage of the scale that you describe. Before I delve any deeper, I first of all would like to

Allergic To Sulfites

Certainly you can try to pasteurize (heat at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time) your wine if you like. Many foods and beverages (like milk) are so heat treated

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