Thirty-Eight Wine Kits and Counting – WMA033

Thirty-Eight Wine Kits and Counting – WMA033

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma033.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSAbout two and a half years ago Winemaker’s Academy members Dennis and Cathy decided to give winemaking a try. They started with one kit but their new hobby soon blossomed into thirty-eight wine kits! Dennis and I decided to get the three of us on the phone and talk about how they got into winemaking and what lessons they’ve learned along the way. So grab a glass of wine and listen in as Dennis and Cathy share their experience diving into making wine head first. If you’d like to connect with Dennis you can find him in the Winemaker’s Academy Community forum as well as in our Facebook Group. Featured Community Discussion: Glass vs. Plastic vs. Steel vs. Oak Secondary...

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Racking Wine For Clarity

Racking Wine For Clarity

Clearing a wine in preparation for bottling can be tricky. There are many different clarifiers on the market and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. An alternative to using clarifiers is to rack your wine strategically over time to help clear the wine. But how are you supposed to know when to rack your wine? Recently I discovered a recommended racking schedule while reading From Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox and expanded upon it to give you a complete schedule from start to finish. This schedule assumes that you are not using a fining agent to clarify your wine. 1st Racking: 5-7 days after pitching the yeast if making a fruit wine, otherwise once the specific gravity is between 1.030 and 1.010 2nd Racking: 1 to 2 months after alcoholic fermentation is over 3rd Racking: 2 to 3 months after second racking 4th Racking: 3 months after third racking Your wine can then sit in the carboy, barrel, or tank as long as you want after that fourth racking to let you wine mature. The longer it sits in a bulk container the more uniform your wine will be from one bottle to the next after it has been bottled. The timing of your first racking can change depending upon whether you’re fermenting on the fruit or working with just the juice. Wines should not sit on the fruit any longer than 5-7 days. Any more than that and you risk picking up decaying fruit flavors. That being said, if you’re making a red wine you may opt to do an extended maceration in which case you’ll have to time your racking based on the flavor profile of the wine. If you’re making wine from just the juice (without the skins or solid fruit) then the specific gravity will dictate when you rack. The idea is to get off of the sediment and reduce the air space above the wine once fermentation has slowed to the point where the carbon dioxide produced is no longer enough to protect your wine from oxidation. How long it takes your wine to reach the specific gravity range mentioned earlier depends on many factors not limited to amount of sugar, yeast strain, fermentation temperature, and the abundance of yeast nutrients. After this first racking you’ll notice that you settle into a two to three month racking rhythm. This is done to prevent picking up off flavors from decaying yeast, which it turns out takes two to three months before decay sets in. Presumably after the fourth racking, if you’ve followed the schedule, there will be little to no yeast settling out and so you’re free to let the wine sit as long as you...

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Bulk Aging, Corks, and Specific Gravity – WMA032

Bulk Aging, Corks, and Specific Gravity – WMA032

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma032.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSIn this Question and Answer podcast episode Matt addresses the following questions: Is it okay to leave red muscadine wine in the carboy for several months under the protection of airlock? Do you do anything with your corks before bottling? My kit wine specific gravity is supposed to be between 1.090 and 1.110, but my hydrometer reads 1.070. What’s the reason for this? Do you have questions you’d like to hear answered on the podcast? If so Contact Matt and let him know. Adams County Wine Competition Call for Entries Entry...

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Why Synthetic Corks Are Worth Using

Why Synthetic Corks Are Worth Using

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma031.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSSince I started making my own wines I’ve been a bit of a purist when it comes to closures. Like most home winemakers I started out with the cheap agglomerated corks that came with my equipment kit. From there I moved on to the premium #9 corks and started looking at buying solid natural cork. I didn’t give much thought to synthetic corks because they were not natural. They weren’t the closures that wineries have been trusting for hundreds of years. They weren’t “authentic”. One day I volunteered to bottle at a local winery (more about that here). They were using Nomacorcs and were quite happy with them. As I continued to volunteer at this winery I got more and more interested in the closures, how long they last, and what the benefits of using them are. Then, when my last wine was ready to bottle, I went out and purchased some #9 Nomacorcs to try for myself. The were comparably priced to my beloved #9 natural corks so I took the plunge. My First Experience with Synthetic Corks Like natural corks synthetic corks come in a sealed bag and you don’t need to worry about soaking or sanitizing the closures. I picked up 30 closures for about $10 US. When it came time to bottle I pulled one out, inspected it, and proceeded to use my dual lever corker (affiliate link) to insert it into the bottle. One down. My first impression was that the cork was not as easy to insert as the natural cork because the plunger on the dual lever corker is not as big around as the Nomacorc. This cause the sides of the cork to get caught up in the corker itself and while the center of the cork was perfectly even with the top of the bottle the sides were sticking up. [insert pic here]. Now to be fair I’ve never had great luck getting even the #9 premium corks to sit quite right either. The difference was that the synthetic corks were still caught up in the corker after inserting the cork so you have to be careful how you pull the corker away from the bottle so you don’t cause it to fall over and potentially break open. I made some adjustments to the corker and proceeded to finish up the bottling process. After a while I got the feel of inserting the corks and the bottles started to look better. The Benefits of Synthetic Closures There are many benefits to using synthetic closures. First, they don’t ever dry out. This means that if you pick some up at the local winemaking shop it doesn’t matter if they’ve been on the shelf for six months or a year. They’re going to be in perfect condition to use. It also doesn’t matter if you keep a stash of synthetics around the house for a couple years. Natural corks, on the other hand, do dry out. I’ve purchased “new” bags of corks from wine making supply shops that were already past their prime and...

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Inert Gases, Racking, and Preserving Fruit Wine Flavor

Inert Gases, Racking, and Preserving Fruit Wine Flavor

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/WMA030.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSWinemaker’s Academy Podcast Episode 30 In this question & answer episode of the podcast we cover the following questions: At what point in the winemaking process will I benefit the most from using inert gases? I racked all the sediment after primary fermentation. Was this a mistake? My pear wine lacks actual pear flavor. What can I do to bring it back out? Resources & Products Mentioned Beginner’s Guide for Email Subscribers Winemaker’s Log The Ultimate Guide to Kit Winemaking VineyardFresh Wine Preserver – argon in a can Photograph by: Tim Patterson –...

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