Writer: Alison Crowe

431 result(s).

Vineyard Planning, Varnish on Mini Barrels, Macerating Skin Packs, and Degassing Wine

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A proud new owner of a sulfite test kit wants to know how often to test. The Wizard also answers questions on backyard vineyard planning, urethane coating on an oak barrel, extended maceration on a kit’s skin packet, and degassing wines.

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Degassing Wine

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As you know, the fermentation process (both the initial fermentation turning sugar into ethanol and the secondary malolactic fermentation) produces quite a lot of carbon dioxide gas. The majority of this escapes

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Macerating Skin Packs

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Ah, kits are getting so clever these days! I would say it all depends on the quality of what you feel, taste, see, and smell for the material that comes in your

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Varnish on Mini Barrels

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Well, I suppose you could sand the varnish off if you didn’t like it very much . . . but, realistically, I don’t think it’ll affect the wine that much. If you’ve

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Vineyard Planning

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That is so great to hear that you’ll be planting a vineyard. Welcome to the great Sonoma County viticulture adventure! My company has vineyards in Sonoma too and I’ve been making wine

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Live Chat with Alison Crowe

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Live Chat with Alison Crowe, which took place on July 16, 2020.

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Adding Acid to Sanitize, Sparkling Situation: Wine Wizard

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The second and perhaps the most important reason is that if you’re doing your final rinsing with an acid blend that contains malic acid, you’re potentially releasing a food source for various bacteria into your equipment and into your cellar’s environment (like drains).

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Quality Control

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In deciding to bottle, age or toss this batch, I suggest you spend some quality time with your barrel. Though you’re just past the usual bottling window (typical aging time for premium

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Yeast-free wine and quality control: Wine Wizard

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The good news is that most wines that you can buy off the supermarket shelf don’t contain a lot of yeast cells; if they did, the wines would look cloudy and might even re-ferment in the bottle.

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Chlorine Conundrum & Country Wines: Wine Wizard

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I never use any chlorine-containing cleaning compounds in my winemaking and don’t recommend it to anyone. There are plenty of alternatives for cleaning, one of my favorites being sodium percarbonate.

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Pressing Issues

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You’ve hit on one of the classic difficulties of making wine at home. The equipment we use, from presses to barrels to filters, usually are much smaller than that used by commercial

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Wine Yeast to Make Bread

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You can definitely use wine yeast for baking bread. Bread yeast and wine yeast are both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and both work the same way, by eating sugar and converting it into ethanol

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Light Strike in Wine?

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I would definitely try to store your wine in the dark if you can. Your wines are in what I’m assuming are clear glass demijohns and over the year or more aging

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Pressing Issues, Making Bread with Wine Yeast and Light Strike

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Dumping your pomace and finding the grapes still juice-laden after pressing is frustrating. The Wizard has some pointers for getting the most from your grapes as well as baking bread with wine yeast and the concerns of light strike on your wines.

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Acidity & Aging

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My situation is that the total acidity (TA) rises during the aging process.What could be causing this?

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The New Need For Sanitation

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What’s the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Cleaning refers to the manual removal of dirt, soil, and grime on an item or a surface. Sanitizing is the next step, which, when done


Overcompensating With Copper

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Ah yes, Monday morning quarterbacking is always tough when it comes to wine. Adding a complex yeast nutrient (a mix of nitrogen, amino acids, and other micronutrients) is something I do with

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Defining “Percent New Oak” in Wine

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Thanks for bringing up this topic. There are some parts of the answer that’ll be really obvious but like so much in winemaking, it’s often up for interpretation and the subtleties may

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Percent New Oak, Overcompensating And The New Need For Sanitation

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While the concept that is listed on some wine bottles or talked about in literature — % new oak — seems simple, there is a lot of nuance to this term. Learn about the concept as well as problems caused from overcompensating to fix a hydrogen sulfide stink with copper. Plus, the Wizard talks about the new need for sanitation in our world.

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Barrel Cleaning, Kit Wine Tannins and Proper Sulfite Levels

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It seems to me like your Carmenère is a candidate for one of the “Wine Wizard’s” cheapest, easiest and most favorite ways to improve a tannic wine; egg white fining!

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Reconditioning Corks & Bottle Film

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I’m glad you sent this question, though, because it brings up an important rule of the world of corks: corks must have a certain amount of moisture and “give” in order to work to keep the wine in and air (mostly) out.

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Suspicious Syrah & Fermentation Aids

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The first step I would take is to look at the package and/or the packing slip that came with the grapes . . . I hope they say Syrah. If you still doubt the paperwork, certainly get in touch with your juice supplier and ask to see the paper trail from the lot of juice you received.

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Dumb Merlot & Filmy Finishes

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QOne of my favorite batches is a 2002 Merlot, which was naturally fermented (no added sugars or yeast), aged in an oak barrel for 10 months or so, stored in stainless kegs

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Bracing Barrels & Coffee Wine

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The level of caffeine, of course, will depend on how much coffee you used in the recipe — just as your average cup of joe will be stronger with the more ground coffee, so will your wine.

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Fine Filtering Chardonnay and a Sour Mead

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Pad filters are stacks of cellulose sheets that get mounted in a stainless steel or metal frame. Wine or juice is forced by a pump or by air pressure through the cellulose pads and depending upon the “tightness” of the cellulose matrix and the back pressure on the system, a varying degree of particles will pass through.

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