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
Sometimes we get several questions that revolve around a similar theme. The Wine Wizard had several questions this go-round on volatile acidity and malolactic fermentation. She provides some specifics for winemakers who have bigger picture problems on their hands.
Using egg whites Q I’m making a white wine and want to add egg white to help with the fining before my last racking. Is there any information on how to do
I’m so pleased you’ve done some oak trials! If you’ve read my column over the years you know that I’m always advising our intrepid readers to do small-scale trials (sometimes I call
I never boil or rinse my chips because, you’re right, that’ll strip them of the valuable flavor and aroma right off the bat. The one thing you need to do first, either
Thanks, Bob, for joining fellow columnists and me for our first ever virtual WineMaker Harvest Boot Camp this past September! This question didn’t get answered in my Q&A session held at the
A winemaker asks for some pointers on when to test for sulfite on their wines using their new sulfite testing kit. Also, learn about curing wine plating, basic equipment required for a winemaker making the jump from kits to fresh grapes, and preparing oak for wine.
I’ll assume you’re going to do red (not rosé) — that’s the easiest for small-volume winemaking. I’ll also assume you’ll hand-destem, so you really don’t need a de-stemmer. Just get out as
Good for you for investing in a way to track your free SO2 (FSO2) levels. It’s one of the most important ways we can keep our wines safe. You can buy something
Q Though most of us think “grapes” when we think wine, I live in Michigan and can’t help but notice that wineries out here make wine out of a lot of other
Goodness, I’ve never answered two questions at the same time before! I decided to put the two of you together since your questions were so similar. There are some things that apply
Yes, sluggish and stuck fermentations are one of the most common, persistent, and frustrating issues that winemakers encounter. They happen for so many reasons, and possibly for a combination of so many
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.
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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.