Writer: Alison Crowe

413 result(s).

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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The Safety of Brass Fittings

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AYou might be encouraged to know that brass fittings have a long and storied history in winemaking. In fact, if you travel the back roads of Europe and poke your head into


Off Odors, Port-Style Wines, and Brass Fittings

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QI recently bottled a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon, which tastes fine but has an off odor. I keep all my notes and regularly follow the same procedures. I buy my juice already

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Can I Use An Untoasted Oak Barrel?

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What an intriguing question. I’m having some pioneer-prairie-blacksmith-shop fantasy thoughts on how you might be able to toast the inside of your barrel on your own. Depends on how crazy you want

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How to Adjust SO2 Levels In Must

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For harvest purposes, when adding SO2 to grapes in order to knock down feral yeast and bacteria (with the goal of reducing VA and letting your yeast of choice get a foothold),

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Adjusting Acidity in Wine Kits

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Wine kits are so wonderful because they tend to be easier and more predictable than just starting from a fresh batch of grapes. Kits have instructions to follow and you’re right, most


Crazy pH Shift

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I applaud you for trying fresh winegrapes in your home winemaking, you’re lucky that you are (relatively) close to a fine winegrape growing area like the Santa Ynez Valley. I grew up

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Crazy pH Shift, Acidity in Wine Kits, Adjusting SO2, and Untoasted Oak Barrels

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A winemaker experiences a large and unexpected pH shift from a feral fermentation. Learn about the potential reasons as well as what to do with an untoasted oak barrel, pre-fermentation sulfite levels, and acid adjustments in wine kits.

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High-pH Wine

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QIn the above situation, what do you suggest I do? Do you agree that I should conduct MLF on my wines considering their high-pH characteristics? AFirst off, glad your Viognier got better!

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Topic(s):

Cucumber Wine

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Well, according to specific gravity, your cucumber wine (sounds refreshing) is dry. For RS-dry (residual sugar dry) you want to look for an SG of 0.992 and 0.996 on your hydrometer. If

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Stabilizing Whites

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Indeed, a pH of 2.9 is really low, even for a Sauvignon Blanc, and I think I would definitely de-acidify in that case. With deacidification you’ll always get some kind of precipitation;


Colossal Corking: Wine Wizard

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QWhere can an amateur buy a cork for a 3-liter bottle? The one I have measures 2 1/8“ by 13/16” (54 mm by 30 mm). I have several of these bottles and

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What Could Lead To A Stalled MLF

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Malolactic fermentations tend to stall, or not catch on at all, due to these seven most common factors: High alcohol: Over 14.5% and most strains will go through slowly. Over 15.5% and

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Evaluating Wine “Numbers”

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So, stick with me for a little bit as I get a little philosophical for this one as the answer isn’t straightforward but necessitates a little rambling. My frequent readers will know


The Oak Necessities, Wine “Numbers” and Stalled MLF

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Just like many aspects of winemaking, decisions need to be made about how much you’re willing to invest and oak barrels are one
of the biggest ticket items. The Wizard has some advice for oak
alternatives, as well as feedback on “wine numbers” and when your MLF stalls.

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The Oak Necessities

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There are a lot of benefits to aging wines in oak barrels . . . but the costs of buying one is not on that list. Luckily there are alternatives. Photo courtesy

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