A concerned reader asks the Wizard why commercially-purchased wines might have their corks raised. She also answers questions on metabisulfite use before malolactic fermentation, when to re-test for pH, and dealing with Acetobacter issues.
Well, it seems like you have been paid a visit by a colony of Acetobacter, aka acetic acid bacteria. They love air, eat alcohol, and turn it into carbon dioxide and vinegar.
The answer to your question depends on the size of your batch. The bigger your batch, especially if it’s must all mixed together with juice and skins, you need to mix quite
That’s a great question with a very simple answer. You should not add postassium metabisulfite (SO2, or sulfur dioxide) to your wine between primary and secondary fermentation. Because the SO2 will inhibit
You’re absolutely right, raised corks can either be a problem (if they’re too high, or too high of a percentage from bottle-to-bottle) or it could be nothing at all. The devil is
Q I have a Merlot to which I added SO2 thirteen days ago and it smelled ok. but last night I pulled a sample and it had a bruised apple smell and
Your nose (bruised apple/sweet smell) and your chemical analysis (loss of Free SO2) are telling me that you have an oxygen ingress problem and aldehydes and perhaps an increase in VA (volatile
I need help to prevent oxidation. I make about 40 gallons (151 L) from California grapes each year, usually finishing quite nice, but last year’s Sangiovese suffers from oxidation. After fermentation and
Dear Wine Wizard, I am in the process of vinting a Champagne, and after having read of a couple of different ways to create the “sparkling” effect, I am now thoroughly confused.
Nothing feels as satisfying and authentic as making your first batch of wine from fresh grapes. And there’s no better time to try it than in early autumn, when grapes all over
Remember, every time you open your barrel, you introduce air and potentially some undesirable spoilage organisms.
Oak barrels (and barrels made of other woods, sometimes acacia wood or even cherry wood) are really structurally amazing.
Well, I will admit I have never made a passion fruit wine (living in Napa, those pesky grapes just seem to be the most convenient sugar source at hand) but I will
Pasteurization operates on a sliding scale and its effectiveness depends on a coefficient between time and temperature.
Excluding bacteria that can eat malic acid and turn it into lactic acid is the only way to make sure you don’t get refermentation in the bottle.
Your Zinfandel probably had a good reason (in the wine’s opinion, anyway) why it didn’t go through ML fermentation.
Sorry to say, but it sounds like you’ve got a no-bueno situation. White grapes should always be pressed as soon as possible after picking in order to reduce juice (and subsequent wine)
Red wines are typically not fined as often as white wines, to which we often add bentonite in order to remove potentially haze-causing proteins. The tannin from the skins of red wines
Spices and other added flavorings in home winemaking are one of the trickiest things to get right.
My rule is no chlorine bleach in my wineries, never, nohow. Anything containing chlorine might contribute to the dreaded “corked wine aroma,” 2-4-6 trichloroanisole (TCA), in your finished wines. It can be
That’s an interesting data set you present there. What I’m about to tell you, please take with many grains of salt because I am not privy to the growing locations of your
Wine clarifiers, or ‘fining agents’ as they (and a whole host of other wine-finishing additives) are called, are creatures of degrees.
The short answer to your question: yes, if you dilute your wine sample before running a Ripper analysis for SO2, you then need to multiply your result by the dilution factor you
Wow, can I fly to the Philippines for a little research and equipment-scouting trip? We can sample some of your wine, do a little research into tropical fruit winemaking, go see what
Well well, what do you know? That’s a question I’ve never been asked before in all my years of writing this column! The spirit of the vintage laws for commercial wine is