Writer: Alison Crowe

Some Reductive Resolutions, Using Essential Oils, and Residual Sugar

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You might want to try gradually introducing a little more oxygen into your winemaking process, especially early on when wines are more resilient to shifts in redox potential. Reductive off-odors may come from many sources, but thanks to new yeast strains available to winemakers, fermentation doesn’t need to be one of them.

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Calculating Residual Sugar

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That’s certainly an interesting question and one for which the short answer is “no such equation exists.” The longer answer attempts to help explain why, even though you think you should have

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Making White Zinfandel

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Funny you ask this question as I’ve just now got three tanks full of 2016 Monterey Pinot Noir rosé fermenting in the winery. White Zinfandel, contrary to what some folks think, is

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Dealing With Volatile Acidity

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Not knowing any more information than you give above, it’s tough to make specific recommendations so I’ll start with the general ones. Whenever you suspect VA (volatile acidity, or the production of

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Testing for MLF Completion

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In the old days we would use paper chromatography to monitor the completion of malolactic fermentation (MLF). We dotted little drips of the sample wine, along with liquid standards of malic and

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Red Wine Stabilization and Making White Zinfandel

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Oxidation, whether microbial (metabolically), chemical (directly reacting with environmental oxygen), or enzymatic can degrade color and cause less than optimal conditions for the survival
of colored compounds.

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Red Wine Stabilization

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Ever open a bottle of red wine you’ve lovingly saved for 20 years only to be disappointed as a brick-orange liquid followed by a brownish sludge falls into your glass? The issue

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Evaporation Clarification

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Thanks for clarifying your question a little bit. I am glad to hear you regularly top off your barrels, it’s a practice all of us need to do. Alcohol and water definitely

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Oak Barrel Seepage

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I’ve certainly had the odd leaker (or three) but I’ve never experienced trans-stave leakage of the scale that you describe. Before I delve any deeper, I first of all would like to

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Allergic To Sulfites

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Certainly you can try to pasteurize (heat at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time) your wine if you like. Many foods and beverages (like milk) are so heat treated

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Can Lysozyme Arrest MLF?

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In my day job in Napa, California (as Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards as well as other consulting projects) I bottle plenty of “partial ML” Chardonnay every year and love the style. In

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Late Malolactic

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To shed light on your query, the Wine Wiz consulted the Winemaking Magic 8 Ball™ and the answer that floated to the top was, “Outlook not good.” If your 2010 Zinfandel still

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Overspiced Wine Situation

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There’s nothing like a wine with what I call “the elbows sticking out” to ruin one’s mood. Especially frustrating is when one has followed a recipe or kit instructions to the letter

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Soapy Taste In Wine

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Though tough to define as it can smell different to everyone, there is unfortunately no wine lab analysis panel you can run that says, “Yessir, you’ve got an over-abundance of Ivory Soap

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Fining Fruit Wines

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The short answer is that yes, I would absolutely cut down on the amount of clarifying agent you use if you don’t have enough wine volume for the recommended 5 gallon (19

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Perfecting Pyment

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Congrats for breaking out of the mold and taking it upon yourself to adapt a recipe to your own preferences! I always love it when readers, and my own winemaking buddies, take

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Making Dry Muscat

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Sounds tasty to me! I love a dry (or even off-dry, maybe with residual sugar of around 5 g/L), crisp Muscat wine. Historically, Muscats have been used in many wine types, from

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Fun With Wine Filtration

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The fun of filtration! I’ll deliver the bad news to you and my readers first by telling you that really no matter how tight of a pore size you use to filter

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Kombucha In My Winery?

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Just like I would not let a buddy of mine do any Brettanomyces beer-brewing experiments in my winery, so should you not do Kombucha and wine together in your kitchen (or garage)

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Stuck Fermentations

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Unfortunately, there are hundreds of possible causes of stuck and sluggish fermentations, and sometimes, even after careful investigation, we still can never understand what the cause may have been. With Mother Nature


“Fruit Floaties” — Strawberry Wine

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I just saw your picture and wow, that does indeed look like a floating brain — or two! Luckily, that is a great shot of what I would call typical “fruit floaties”

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Alternative Sweeteners

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I hear you on the high pH/high TA unbalanced wine issue. I myself have dealt with some vineyards and some wine lots where I have had to add so much tartaric to

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Empty Airlocks

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It sounds to me like some “bad bugs” (ambient bacteria or yeast cells) got into your wine. After four years of aging, having a batch infected due to a bad airlock must

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Softened Water In Wine?

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That is a wonderful question! It’s estimated that it takes anywhere from 2–10 gallons (8–38 L) of water to make a gallon (4 L) of wine. Most of that estimate is for

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Fermentation Troubles

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Hi Lauren, great question. There are so many steps along the way where a fermentation can get into trouble, or “go pear shaped” as my interns from New Zealand used to say.

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