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My cherry wine has a bitter/tart taste. Is there any way to remove this?


Peter Daellenbach • Roscommon, Mich. asks,

I have made 2.5-gallon batches of pin cherry wine. Without a recipe to go by, I used my old standby: chockcherry recipe of 20 plus years. It makes excellent wine with a little almond flavor. The recipe calls for crushing/grinding the berries using a three-point grinder. The wine has a bitter/tart taste. Is there any way to remove this, short of pouring it down the drain?

Stop right there! Don’t pour your wine down the drain. Your problem is both curable, and most important for future batches, preventable. It seems you’ve got an overload of tannins in your wine, the bitter and astringent compounds found in the skins and seeds of all fruits and vegetables. Usually these compounds add a nice “bite” of astringency to wine, but too much can be a bad thing, as you’ve obviously found out. Your problem can be prevented by pressing your fruit more gently, either with a basket press (available in most home winemaking stores) or by hand with a large sieve and a stirring spoon, depending upon the volume that you’re dealing with. The key operating concept here is “gentle.” By cranking the seeds and skins of your wine through a grinder, you’re extracting way too much of the bitter seed and skin tannins from the fruit into the wine. With your current batch, you’ll be able to get rid of some of those tannins by taking your wine through a process called “fining,” which involves adding a “fining
Response by Alison Crowe.