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Wine Wizard

Sulfite Question When Blending Wine

You bring up a very good question. For the compound you’re talking about, sulfur dioxide, you’ll probably come pretty close to what you would predict based on knowing the volume and the


Get Your Swirl On

I say Toe-may-toe, you say toe-mah-toe . . . this sounds like a bizarre wine myth in the making that we should just quash right here. Though undoubtedly, swirling your wine glass


Natural Fining For White and Rosé Wines

Well, an old-timer winemaker I used to work with would say, “The most natural fining agent for any wine is time.” What he meant was that with time, solids fall out, proteins


Glass vs. Wood

Home winemakers tend to ferment in glass carboys (big 5-gallon/19-L jars, essentially) because they are usually better-sized and more convenient to a home hobbyist than larger vessels like a 59-gallon (223-L) barrel.


Refermentation Questions

It’s hard to tell exactly what may be the issue because wines that just finish fermenting and are so young often have “funny” smells and do indeed not smell like the finished


White Film In My Wine Barrel

It sounds like you are doing the right thing. This is probably an aerophilic “flor” type yeast that is eating alcohol, and in the presence of air (if it was slightly untopped)


Covert Winemaking

I give you credit for being so dogged in your desire to try fermenting! The great news about yeast is that, as I’ve often said in these columns, yeast live everywhere around


Sediment In A Fruit Wine

I definitely would re-think your pre-bottling aging and fining procedures. Many wines, especially those made with fruit other than grapes, are susceptible to flocculation (a fancy term for sediment) and visible fallout.


Adding Campden Tablets to Wine

The great thing about Campden tablets (a convenient form of dosing in sulfur dioxide for home winemakers) is that they will inhibit the yeast and bacteria you do not want (which are


Adding Sambuca to Wine

Well I like your moxie. Sometimes it takes a little thinking outside the box to really make our beverages sing, and in your case (though it would be anathema to a commercial


Putting A Value On A Vineyard

I’m very sorry about your vine loss. I do agree with Dr. Lockwood that you will probably lose the vines that were knocked down. You might want to really work closely with


Making Maple Wine

Maple sap is a great source of natural sugar and certainly qualifies as home winemaking material. What is less certain, as you have found out, is how much of those subtle maple


Deprived Vines

It sounds to me like you possibly have a heat and/or overexposure problem there with your vines. I’ll share a little personal anecdote with you about a similar situation that I have


Bottle Sediments

It can be wrenching for a winemaker to look at his or her bottles developing a sediment over time. Many fruits, especially those high in pectin, proteins, or phenols are especially prone


Yeast Options

Good for you for thinking “outside the box” and going with a different yeast choice. I love both D80 and D254 for Syrah. D80 was isolated by the ICV in 1992 from


White Crystals After Crushing

I’ve had a similar experience — both with having to pick gapes at sub-optimal times (curse you, weather!) as well as having that rough white residue on my crush equipment. The residue,


Malolactic Fermentation Timing

I’m a little old school when it comes to malolactic fermentation, but it’s always served me well. There are some winemakers who try to get a jump on malolactic (ML) completion and


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


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


Dealing With High Brix Grapes

You definitely want to water down that high-sugar juice before you pitch your yeast. High Brixes lead to high alcohols, which lead to yeast that just can’t complete a fermentation. Stuck fermentations


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


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


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