Since you can’t measure your free and total SO₂, let’s do some numbers to see what kind of a potential problem you might be facing. First off, let’s talk about your bottle-rinsing
Winemaking is always a learning process and even those of us that have been doing this for a long time still learn a lot every harvest and all year-round! However, that being
Wow, looks like you’ve got a serious case of “Ring Around the Carboy.” Thanks for sending in the picture, I always love it when readers do that because, especially in cases like
What is the best way to store oak barrels that don’t have wine in them? Get the answer from the Wine Wizard, as well as her advice for a case of oversulfited wine, removing white film from a glass carboy, and five tips for a rookie winemaker.
Well, the first thing I always say is, “A full barrel is a happy barrel.” That means that the barrel is best stored with wine in it! The acidity of the wine
For those readers who are not familiar with the article referenced, I talk about how it was likely a reader’s malolactic fermentation would pick back up again when the weather warmed up
Indeed, after using most fining agents there will be a layer of sediment generated and you’ll need to rack the wine off of it accordingly. Fining agents, by definition, are introduced into
As I explain in my book, The Winemaker’s Answer Book, oxygen can be a friend of wine (especially during active primary fermentation) but is more often its enemy. One of the biggest
Get some pointers and considerations a winemaker needs to keep in mind when topping off your aging wine vessels. The Wizard also answers questions on fining agents and malolactic fermentation after cold stabilizing a wine.
If you’ve got a carbonation setup at home that you use for your homebrew, cider, mead, or kombucha, you certainly can fizzy up some wine products for yourself. I like your idea
Ah yes, the classic “I sunk a bunch of pennies in my carboy” tale. Forgetting for a moment that modern pennies contain very little copper, there’s a reason that most winemakers I
That is a great question and I’m really glad you asked. Sometimes when those of us who have been making wines for quite some time write about some technique, process, or concept
Excluding oxygen by gassing headspaces and purging containers is one of the most important winemaking jobs we have. Oxygen exposure during aging can create all sorts of problems from premature oxidation and
Oxidation is one of the most common faults among homemade wines. The Wiz has some tips for minimizing exposure during racking along with advice for how to read fermentation temperature, reducing reductive stink with copper, and carbonating a dessert wine.
Not everyone loves a buttery Chardonnay but for those that seek out this characteristic the Wine Wizard has some sage fermentation advice to achieve buttery bliss. Also, one reader wonders about adding pectic enzymes in a red wine and another is perplexed by the numbers in his recently purchased juice.
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
To quote one of my vineyard colleagues who always likes to give multiple sides to every answer, “It depends” (thanks, Rich). And so it is with pectic enzymes in winemaking. Pectic enzymes
Indeed, that flavor you’re after is primarily caused by the malolactic bacteria, which impart that buttery, dairy, or creamy taste in many Chardonnays. This is because these bacteria, depending on the strain,
Q I’ve heard that a lot of wineries are using ozone for their sanitation programs. I make about ten barrels of wine a year — should I buy an ozonator machine? Bernice
Q I have been making wine at home for the past five years and my friends tell me I am pretty good! They like my wine and I thought about starting to
I always think it’s wonderful when people can do a “natural” cold stabilization over the winter months. It’s an incredibly intuitive and very old-fashioned, non-interventionist way to accomplish a key winemaking task.
Winemakers typically add sorbate (aka sorbic acid, often purchased as potassium sorbate) when they want to bottle a wine with a little residual sugar. It is often added right before backsweetening and
A Sadly, blending VA levels downward remains the only option available for reducing VA content in small lots. Larger commercial wineries, with big lots and bigger pocketbooks, can afford the expense of
Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us! If you can, check your pH and your VA (volatile acidity) to try to get a handle on whether or not this air