Writer: WineMaker Staff

How do you prepare ahead for topping up your barrels with wine? Do you set aside wine in a carboy to use later in the barrels?

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Dear Wine Wizard, 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

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Bulk vs. Bottle Aging: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, What are the advantages and disadvantages of bulk aging in a 6-gallon (23-L) carboy as opposed to in a bottle. Also, is aging in the carboy for a year


I noticed an oily film on top of my Norton before I racked it. What should I be worried about and how do I fix it?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I’ve made Norton for a few years. This year I noticed an oily film on top before I racked. It smelled and tasted decent. What should I be worried

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I think I might have ruined 350 bottles of my Merlot when I stored it in a wine locker and the odor and taste changed. What do you think happened?

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Dear Wine Wizard, One 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

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Topping Up & Oak Cubes: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, 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


Do you know anyone who has used non-fermentable sweeteners like stevia for adjusting a wine post-fermentation?

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Dear Wine Wizard, Our local winemaker (at Galena Cellars) can detect potassium sorbate in wine, after it is used to prevent refermentation in sweetened-back wines. I’d like to substitute a non-fermentable sweetener

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Is there any way to save a flat and watery wine I made?

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Dear Wine Wizard, My pear wine is watery and flat, I have already bottled it. Is there any way to save it? It was my first attempt at winemaking and I don’t

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Dumb Merlot & Filmy Finishes: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, One 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

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I made some wine using coffee as an ingredient and I was wondering what happens to the caffeine during fermentation?

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Dear Wine Wizard, My dad and I made a gallon of coffee wine from a recipe we found on the Internet. It’s going through its second fermentation right now. It said to

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Could you provide me some ideas on an easy and cost effective way to properly frame a stand for my barrels?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I am a novice winemaker who recently purchased a new 15-gallon (57-L) American white oak barrel. While going through the purchasing process, I realized that there are an abundance

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Flat & Sweet: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, My pear wine is watery and flat, I have already bottled it. Is there anyway to save it? It was my first attempt at winemaking and I don’t know

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I made 15 gallons (57 L) of wine in my basement and it won’t finish fermenting. Help!

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Dear Wine Wizard, I made 15 gallons (57 L) of wine in my basement and it won’t finish fermenting. Now I am left with a wine that is carbonated, which I do

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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 rotton sewer smell.

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Dear Wine Wizard, 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

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How do you sterile filter your wine?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I have a 2003 Chardonnay aging in my garage. I have about 65 gallons, which I initially fermented at about 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) for four months


I made a mead that has a sour taste. Will this mellow out with age?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I made my first batch of mead, (actually a braggot) and upon first racking determined the alcohol level to be approximately 10.5% ABV – right where I wanted it.

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Bracing Barrels & Coffee Wine: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, I am a novice winemaker who recently purchased a new 15-gallon (57-L) American white oak barrel. While going through the purchasing process, I realized that there are an abundance

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2004 WineMaker Label Contest Winners!

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The winners of the 2004 WineMaker Label Contest

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Copper Sulfate Solutions: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, 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


Where can an amateur buy a larger sized cork for a 3-liter bottle?

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Dear Wine Wizard, Where can an amateur buy a cork for a 3-liter bottle? The one I have measures 21/8“ by 13/16” (54mm by 30mm). I have several of these bottles and

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Are there basic rules when it comes to choosing bottle color and shape for different styles of wines?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I bottle my wine in recycled bottles and give much of it away. A friend who is on the receiving end is critical of my choice in color type

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Fine Filtering Chardonnay: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, I have a 2003 Chardonnay aging in my garage. I have about 65 gallons, which I initially fermented at about 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) for four months

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Colossal Corking: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, Where can an amateur buy a cork for a 3-liter bottle? The one I have measures 21/8“ by 13/16” (54mm by 30mm). I have several of these bottles and

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I added grape concentrate to boost the sweetness of a dry wine at bottling and added sorbate. The flavor is good, but there is some kind of gas in the wine. Any thoughts on what happened?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I made a Muscadine wine this year that ended up very dry with harsh flavor. I wanted it to have more of a grape flavor so I added some

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Carbs in Wine & Bottle Styles: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, Recently I had an inquiry from a diabetic in regards to the amounts of carbs, sugars and calories in dry white and red wines made from concentrated kits. In

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Is it possible for a plastic fermenter to impact the effectiveness of isinglass as a fining agent?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I used isinglass as a clarifier in my Viognier. I have it in a 55-gallon plastic food-grade barrel. It started to settle out some of the particles but never

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