Topic: Winemaking Science

58 result(s).

Spit Or Swallow? Health benefits from spitting wine

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One reader who is also a medical doctor discusses the potential health benefits of wine tasters who swish and spit their wines. It may be one of the healthiest things you can do . . . but that doesn’t mean he abides by the spitting aspect.


Maceration Enzymes: Making the most of these additions

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There are a lot of enzyme products available to winemakers, but in general they can be broken into just a few classes. Learn when and why a winemaker might use some of these various enzymes, especially during maceration.

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Trying to Work With Grape Juice That is Amiss

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Well, your grape or juice source really put you in a bind. Those are some of the most unbalanced initial numbers I’ve ever seen, and I would seriously consider getting your juice from another source next year. Numbers like that — with the acid being so low and the Brix simultaneously being low may be,

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The Role of Varietal Thiols in White Wines

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Volatile thiols are delicate but powerful aromatic compounds released during fermentation. Through careful techniques and yeast selection, these thiols can be both preserved and enhanced to create an aromatic wine that pleases the senses.


Additives to Impact Phenolics and Tannins

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In previous articles on phenolics I have reviewed the basic structure of the most important phenolic compounds in wine production and discussed how different processing and equipment options can impact the type


Tannin Additions: Tips from the Pros

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A grape’s tannin structure is impacted by varietal, terroir, and growing conditions. Sometimes, grapes lack the tannins desired, and when that happens winemakers have the option of techniques to maximize extraction, adding tannins, blending, and more. Three pros share their approach in this issue’s “Tips from the Pros.” Phil Plummer, Winemaker at Montezuma Winery in

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Phenolics in Red Wines

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It is in red wine production that the impact of phenolics is most influential in determining wine style and quality. We know that what is happening in wine on a chemical basis will influence choices regarding processing options and timing of activities for different wine styles. In this article, we’ll explore how polyphenolics are extracted

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Testing for Titratable Acidity

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Titratable acidity, or TA, is often viewed as a more advanced test, but it shouldn’t be. With a simple kit and a good pH meter, anyone can measure TA in any wine. Bob Peak has some straightforward advice for winemakers to help you bring balance to your wines through TA.

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Phenolics & Tannins in White, Sparkling & Rosé Styles

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Polyphenolics are usually associated with red wines, but there are definitely processing choices and stylistic options where polyphenolics play a role in whites, rosé, and sparkling wines also.


Phenolics and Tannins

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An understanding of what is happening in wine on a chemical basis can be very useful in influencing choices regarding processing options and timing of activities for different wine styles. Unfortunately winemaking chemical nomenclature, chemical analyses, and interpretation of results can be daunting for those without a background in chemistry. Perhaps one of the most

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Testing for Malolactic: Don’t be in doubt

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Not all wines should go through a secondary malolactic fermentation (MLF), but for all wines that do undergo this fermentation, testing should be performed since these secondary fermentations can get stuck. Learn some of the basics of performing your own MLF test with paper chromatography.

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Oxygen Management for Home Winemakers

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Oxidation is one of the most common faults among home (and pro) winemakers. Learn how to protect your wine against the detrimental effects of oxygen.

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Oxygen Management for Home Winemakers

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Oxidation and oxidatively-driven degradation have been a constant plague on winemakers since time immemorial. Even today, with advancements in science and production, it continues to haunt producers of all sizes and styles.  Oxygen exposure is the driving force behind volatile acid production, mycoderma formation (film yeasts), acetaldehyde production, depletion of free sulfur dioxide (SO2), browning,

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Lower Alcohol Wines

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The warming climate and the rise of mean temperatures during the growth season of grapes, which has been evident in these two last decades, has caused the rise in sugar content and the decrease in acidity of musts. This has already become an issue winemakers are aware of and some are trying to compensate for,

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At Home in the Wine Lab

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Over the course of an individual’s early experiences as a home winemaker, one will have a few pitfalls and batches that may not be “quite right.” Wines may be perceived as out of balance or to have mild flaws. Many of these balance and flaw issues can be addressed or avoided with some simple lab

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pH Reanalysis

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The answer to your question depends on the size of your batch. The bigger your batch, especially if it’s must all mixed together with juice and skins, you need to mix quite a bit longer. Let’s say for example you have a 5-gallon (19-L) carboy of Chardonnay juice and you are adding 1 g/L tartaric

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Understanding YAN

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If you want to make good homemade wine, you should learn to manage your wines’ YAN — yeast assimilable nitrogen.

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Calculating ABV

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This is a great question. Luckily the answer is simple. You still only calculate potential alcohol based on the original Brix reading. “Negative Brixes,” or when the density of your fermented solution reads below the 0.00 °Brix mark on your hydrometer, happen because they are just that: Fermented. Alcohol is much less dense than water

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The Facts About Wine Headaches

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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,


Dealing With A Copper Problem

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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 (no pun intended) stinky rotten egg defects. Hydrogen sulfide is often the culprit and ionic copper, delivered in the form of copper sulfate

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Calculating Residual Sugar

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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 all the parts that you need to solve for unfermented sugar. As I was considering whether to answer your question for this issue

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Wine Science 101

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A Brief Glossary of Some Key Terms Brix: A scale of measuring sugar concentration in grapes, juice, must and wine. Instruments such as refractometers and hydrometers are used to measure degrees Brix


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 how the wine is coming along. Oh no! The wine smells of vinegar, and worse yet, it reeks of nail polish remover. What

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Yeast Nutrient Strategies

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Grape juice is a pretty tough environment if you’re a yeast cell. The pH is low, there’s high osmotic stress (stress from the environmental conditions being such that the flow of water out of the cell is favored), and often, essential nutrients are limited. The abundance of fermentable sugars, however, makes life in these challenging

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Simple Sulfite Wine Chemistry

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There is no denying: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) can be a source of headaches for winemakers — even without drinking any wine. Why does SO2 continue to be such a perplexing and confusing topic? All too often I am asked to help out with problems that seem completely unrelated to sulfite additions, though these are at

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