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Kurt’s Fermentation Temperature Control System

- Dec 17, 2014

Kurt’s Fermentation Temperature Control System

Recently a Winemaker’s Academy member shared this amazing system, that he developed, for controlling the temperature of a wine fermentation. In this post Kurt shares all of the equipment necessary to build this system. I (Matt Williams) have done some minor editing to convert it from an email to an article but by in large this entire article is in Kurt’s words. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have in the comments below. Also if you decide to build this system for yourself please share your results in the...

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Interview with Winemaker Paul Bonacquisti – WMA025

- Dec 10, 2014

Interview with Winemaker Paul Bonacquisti – WMA025

Podcast: Play in new window | Download From Hobby Winemaker to Pro with Paul Bonacquisti Paul Bonacquisti, formerly a radio DJ, made the jump from a hobby wine maker to a professional winemaker when he opened Bonacquisti Wine Company, a very popular Colorado winery. Paul joins Matt on the podcast to share his story of how he became a professional wine maker as well as advice on how others can do the same. We also talk about synthetic closures, selling wine in growlers, and even kegging wine. This was a really fun interview to record and...

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How to Back Sweeten a Wine Kit

- Dec 4, 2014

How to Back Sweeten a Wine Kit

So you’ve made a wine kit and it turned out all right but maybe it needs a bit more sugar to suit your palate. Recently Sam wrote in with this exact dilema. He had made a wine kit per the instructions and everything turned out as it should have but the wine just wasn’t sweet enough for him and his wife. Is It Possible to Back Sweeten a Wine Kit? Yes, it is possible and it’s not all that difficult to do either. Some wine kits include an “F-Pack” or unfermented juice with is used as a back sweetener. However, if...

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How Sparkling Wine is Made – WMA024

- Nov 20, 2014

How Sparkling Wine is Made – WMA024

Podcast: Play in new window | Download How Sparkling Wine is Made Sparkling wines are an amazing product of fermentation. They must be made with utmost care not only for the sake of the wine but also for the well being of the wine maker. Taking a still wine in the bottle and then adding sugar, then yeast, and then capping can lead to some significant pressures building up in those glass bottles. Pressurized glass is a recipe for danger if you don’t have the hang of how sparkling winemaking is done. This podcast episode will show you how...

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My Airlock Needs Water?

- Nov 13, 2014

My Airlock Needs Water?

Recently I’ve heard from more than one confused beginning winemaker asking if their wine was ruined because they never put water in their airlock. It’s not all that surprising as a beginner has a lot to figure out with all the steps, additives, and equipment. I’m sure there are wine making shops that forget to mention that the airlock needs water. For a seasoned wine maker it’s just how things work. An Academy member by the name of Robert recently wrote in with just this problem. He purchased everything he needed to...

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Tasting Wine with the Wine Curmudgeon – WMA023

- Nov 5, 2014

Tasting Wine with the Wine Curmudgeon – WMA023

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Tasting Wine with the Wine Curmudgeon As winemaker’s we’re always concerned with how our wines taste and whether or not there was anything we could do to improve upon them. To help us understand how to better taste our wines we have Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon, on the show for this episode. Jeff is a wine writer, wine judge, and has literally written the book on how to purchase cheap wines. His specializes in helping ordinary consumers find wines that are reasonably priced. Jeff has...

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Are Sulfites Necessary in Wine? – WMA022

- Oct 24, 2014

Are Sulfites Necessary in Wine? – WMA022

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Are sulfites really necessary to make wine? The debate over whether or not we really need sulfites has been heated in the last few years. There is a growing population of winemakers that believe you just don’t need them and shouldn’t use them. There are also those who swear by using them in order to make wines that are stable and will stand the test of time. Which answer is right? The only one who can say is you. In this episode you’ll hear what Winemaker’s Academy members have to...

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Wine Grape Chemistry – WMA021

- Oct 9, 2014

Wine Grape Chemistry – WMA021

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Wine Grape Chemistry Grapes are complex little things. If we’re to make great wine from them then we’re going to need to have a good understanding of the chemistry that makes them what they are. That’s the topic for this Winemaker’s Academy episode. This episodes discussion is based on the paper Composition of Grapes by Murli Dharmadhikari (free PDF). I highly recommend reading the entire paper in addition to listening to the show. The paper is five pages long and packed with...

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How and When to Use Sulfites – WMA020

- Sep 17, 2014

How and When to Use Sulfites – WMA020

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Adding Sulfites to Wine Sulfites are a great tool for protecting wines. They can help ensure stability at the start of the wine making process as well as help wines keep for years in the barrel or bottle. The key to sulfites is understanding that it is something to be maintained rather than something you add once and are done. There’s also no simple way to figure out how much you need to add. In this episode we’ll cover when to use sulfites and how best to measure sulfites. Listener &...

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How to Detect a Stuck Fermentation

- Sep 12, 2014

How to Detect a Stuck Fermentation

Recently Barbara wrote in with this question on a possible stuck fermentation: How can I tell if my wine is stuck and not fermenting in the secondary fermenter? Should the airlock be bubbling? -Barbara Matt’s Answer: Hi Barbara, Thank you for reaching out with your question! Being able to identify a stuck fermentation is an important skill to have and can keep you from taking drastic measures when you might not need to. The latter days of a fermentation are going to be much slow.er than primary fermentation. It is certainly possible to...

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