Evaluating Your Own Wines – WMA026

Evaluating Your Own Wines – WMA026

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma026.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSEvaluating Your Own Wines In this podcast you’ll discover why it is so important to take a systematic approach to evaluating your own wines. This is, I believe, an essential part of learning to make a better bottle of wine. Whether you’re an amateur winemaker or professional you will benefit from this as will your wines. Here are just a few of the different systems used by wine professionals to evaluate wines. Take a look at each and see which one feels right to you. If these are too involved you could always write out a list of questions to answer when tasting your own wines to see where you can improve. UC Davis 20 Point Wine Scoring System Guild of Sommeliers Tasting Grid Wine and Spirits Education Trust Tasting Grid As I mentioned in the podcast the point of evaluating your wine is not to assign it a numeric score. The point is to take a structured approach to tasting and evaluating your wine. Questions Answered How long can you age kit wines? Can I add extra tannins to my kit wine? How does that affect aging? Can I age my kit wine in a 5 liter barrel? Resources & Products Mentioned Winemaker’s Academy Podcast Episode 23: Tasting Wine with the Wine Curmudgeon Matt’s Strawberry Melomel Nomacorc #9 Premium Corks Private Preserve Solid Cork Closures Overrun corks from wineries If you enjoy the podcast and would like to become a supporter click here to learn...

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Kurt’s Fermentation Temperature Control System

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 comments. The original email included links to equipment available on ebay, however, given the frequency at which items turn over on that site maintaining those links proved to be too difficult. So you’ll have to do some hunting for these components but they should be easy enough to find given the amount of information Kurt has provided. And now for Kurt’s Temperature Control System: I have been using this system over a year now and have found it to be exceptionally effective in controlling the temperature. I tried a brew belt, but found it impossible to reliably control the temperature (probably because I was using it in an extremely cold winter [for us in England] in an unheated building, and then in a building that was unheated overnight in winter). Of course this only works if the ambient temperature is less than 25° C (77° F), which is not a problem for us in England almost every day of the year (or century). I remember reading in C.J.J. Berry’s book, First Steps in Winemaking, that the yeast likes a very stable temperature. With this system, there is still a small fluctuation in temperature, because the fermenter is not completely submersed, but it is typically very small, within a degree or so. (I have my tubs in a building that is not heated overnight, so there is often a very considerable drop in ambient temperature overnight in the winter, so I have given it a very good test.) Here is a description of the components and comments about the various equipment and prices. I have only included them to complete the list of potential equipment. Many of these items are not strictly necessary, but are nice to have. See the discussion for each item. Aquarium Fish Tank 2 Way Air Flow Distributor Splitter Control Lever Pump Valve These are simply more sophisticated versions of a cheaper plastic T valve. Often individual air-stones have different air resistance, so these allow you to easily adjust the air pressure for each stone, so that they produce an even amount of bubbles on each side of the tub. I only use these. PVC Tube Clear Flexible Plastic Hose Pipe – Fish, Pond, Car, Aquariums, Air Line I ordered a 10cm sample size (cut it to 2.5cm length) and found that it fitted perfectly around the thermometer to then fit in the airlock grommet with an airtight seal. Silverline Flat Bit 13mm 128573 Hand Tools Drill Power Holes Wood Drilling Brace Essential for drilling gromet holes in the lids of 23L fermentation buckets....

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Interview with Winemaker Paul Bonacquisti – WMA025

Interview with Winemaker Paul Bonacquisti – WMA025

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma025.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSFrom 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 there’s also a lot to learn. If you’re interested in learning more about Paul and to see what he’s up to check out his website: Bonacquisti Wine Company Resources & Products Mentioned International Wine Guild Nomacorc Wine Closures DOW...

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How to Back Sweeten a Wine Kit

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 your kit did not include this you can still sweeten things up a bit. Before any sweetener is added you’re going to need to stabilize your wine, otherwise you risk starting a second fermentation. This can be quite dangerous if said fermentation takes place after the wine has been bottled (boom). To stabilize your wine you’ll need either potassium sorbate or a sterile filtration system. Sorbate is the lease expensive way to go but it is another additive and, in some wines after a couple years in the bottle, it can result in off flavors. However, if you plan on consuming this wine within two years or so it probably won’t make a huge difference. Sterile filtration systems are what the pros use and even though there are amateur units available they can be quite pricey when new. However, if you happen to have access to one you’ll want to filter the finished wine with a 0.45 micron filter pad. This is what’s known as a sterile filter pad because it is fine enough to remove single celled organisms such as yeast and spoilage micro-organisms. You should only ever run a wine through a sterile filter pad after it is perfectly clear. Otherwise your pads will clog immediately. Commercial wineries often filter their wines once or twice with coarser pads before passing it through a sterile filter. Now that we’ve covered that here’s… How to Back Sweeten a Wine Kit Step 1: Ferment your wine all the way to completion. It should be ready to bottle before back sweetening. This means it is still, degassed, and clear. Step 2: Clean and sanitize your primary fermenter or another carboy. Step 3: Measure out the required amount of potassium sorbate and toss it into the clean container from step 2. I use L.D. Carlson Potassium Sorbate (affiliate link) and it calls for 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine. Be sure to check what your bottle says in case different manufacturers sell different sorbate concentrations. To ensure that we don’t add too much or too little sorbate I would leave out any sorbate that the wine kit comes with and instead use only a sorbate that you purchase. Because we can’t be sure what the concentration of sorbate is and how much is included in the packet it is best to use a measured amount that has the correct dosage information printed on it. By adding the sorbate before racking you are letting the flow of the wine mix it in. You’ll...

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How Sparkling Wine is Made – WMA024

How Sparkling Wine is Made – WMA024

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma024.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSHow 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 sparkling wines are made and we’ll also discuss how to stay safe should you decide to give it a try. Questions Answered I was supposed to have racked already. Should I wait until fermentation is over? My watermelon wines smell like rotting watermelon fields. What’s going on? Should I not have degassed my right before bottling? Resources & Products Mentioned Wikipedia Article on Sparkling Wine Production Montrachet Yeast Champagne Bottles (by the case) Sparkling Wine Corks Plastic Sparkling Wine Stoppers Winemaker’s Answer Book by Alison Crowe Photo of riddling rack by Manikom (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Photo of sparkling wine by Andrea Parrish – Geyer...

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