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Wine Wizard

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


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


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

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