Writer: Alison Crowe

259 result(s).

Reconfiguring the Palate & Properly Adding Acid to a Barrel

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The Wizard explores the many sensations that tasters experience as a wine goes from grapes, through fermentation, and into the early stages of aging; in order to be a better judge of a wine’s character when finished. Also, a reader has a question about properly adding acid to a barrel.

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Copper Sulfate Solutions: Wine Wizard

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Q How do I get copper sulfate in accurate diluted food grade form? I would like to treat 5 gallons (19 L) of stinky fruit wine to get rid of the rotten

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Topping Up & Oak Cubes

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Q I am a novice home winemaker and have been contemplating making the move from carboy and bottle-aging to barrel-aging some of my reds. It is my understanding that a new barrel


Wine Crystals & Wine Fridges

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Q I have been making red Zinfandel wine at home with juice concentrate. I‘ve noticed crystals forming inside and they stick to the bottle. When you shake the bottle they disappear, but

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KMBS Lifespan & Lambrusco Grapes

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Q I have a question about sanitizing. I just mixed a fresh batch of potassium metabisulfite (1.5 oz. powder to 1 gallon water) to sanitize my equipment, and this latest batch has

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Gum Arabic, Chilled Reds, and Pinot Noir Advice

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A reader wonders about the usefulness of gum arabic in their winemaking process. The Wiz also talks about chilled red wines, the ups and downs of Pinot Noir, and increasing mouthfeel in your wines.

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Increasing A Wine’s Mouthfeel

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I feel ya! (Yes, pun intended.) Since I don’t have much space left in this column, let me break it down for you in bite-sized pieces. Much more food for thought and

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Discussing Pros v. Cons of Pinot Noir

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Pinot Noir has quite a reputation. Often known as the “Heartbreak Grape” and lovingly discussed, dissected, and degustated (is that even a word?) by rabid Pinot-philes the world over, Pinot Noir was

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Chilled Red Wines

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Though especially welcome in summertime, and especially tasty with regards to Pinot Noir, I break the “room temperature reds rule” year round and with many varietals to boot. In the depths of

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Gum Arabic

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Here goes some gum arabic info . . . I was first introduced to it at Bonny Doon when Randall Grahm brought it back from one of his jaunts to France, around

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Cork Variability, MLF Question, pH Testing, and Aceto Problems

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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.

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Acetobacter Problems

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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.

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pH Reanaylysis

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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

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Sulfite Timing Question

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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

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Cork Variability

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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

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The Sulfite Blues, Curing A Stuck Fermentation and Freezing Grapes

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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

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The Sulfite Blues

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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

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Preventing Oxidation, Excess Sulfite

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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

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Sparkling Wine & Blackberry Wine: Wine Wizard

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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.


From Grape to Glass

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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


Evaporation Clarification, “Big” Reds, and Mold Malady

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Remember, every time you open your barrel, you introduce air and potentially some undesirable spoilage organisms.

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Broken Barrels, pH Adjustments, and “Chocolate” Wine

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Oak barrels (and barrels made of other woods, sometimes acacia wood or even cherry wood) are really structurally amazing.

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Passion Fruit Wine

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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

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Avoiding Sulfites, Adding Copper

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Pasteurization operates on a sliding scale and its effectiveness depends on a coefficient between time and temperature.

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Lysozyme, Adding Sugar, and Oak Alternatives

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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.

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