Ask Wine Wizard

Wine Bottle Deposits

TroubleShooting

Mark Dawson — Simi Valley, California asks,
Q

I make a Syrah/Petit Verdot field blend from a small vineyard each year and have had some color plating on the bottle. Can you address the cause and possible solution to keep the color from dropping out and sticking to the bottle?

A
I’ll assume you’re going to do red (not rosé) — that’s the easiest for small-volume winemaking. I’ll also assume you’ll hand-destem, so you really don’t need a de-stemmer. Just get out as many stems as you can by hand. You’ll need a good food-grade fermenter like a small, food-grade trashcan or a bin that you can cover. For sure you’ll need a hydrometer so you can monitor the fermentation and a graduated cylinder to float the hydrometer in. Then you need to have the ability to strain/press the skins from the juice. Try renting a small fruit press from your local fermentation supply store or borrow one from a buddy. In a pinch, you can use a colander and cheesecloth or a big dishtowel to drain and squeeze. You might laugh, but I’ve been doing some bucket fermentations this past harvest and have found a special kind of bag really helps me — it’s one of those reusable mesh sacks that some folks use in the supermarket to get their fresh produce. Mine is a small-grade white mesh that’s somewhat
Response by Alison Crowe.