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Stabilizing Wine for Back Sweetening – WMA016

- Jul 17, 2014

Stabilizing Wine for Back Sweetening – WMA016

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma016.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSStabilizing Wine for Back Sweetening Back sweetening can be a tricky process. If the yeast is not either removed or incapacitated in some way they will happily ferment any sugars you add to your wine to back sweeten it. So how do you stabilize a wine so that you can sweeten a wine without risking fermentation, or worse, exploding bottles? That is the main topics for this episode of the Winemaker’s Academy Podcast. During the show I explore the three main ways of stabilizing a wine so you can add sugars and end up with a sweet wine instead of a fermenting wine. Listener & Reader Questions I bottled my wine clear and now there are particles in the bottle. What happened? Do I have to let my winemaking equipment completely dry off after sanitizing it before I use it? My wine has been aging for seven months now but still has carbonation in it. Why is that? Does wine age better in bulk rather than in a 750ml bottles? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned Interview with John Garlich and Holly Wells, Episode 15 Mini Episode with Holly Wells Using Potassium Sorbate Wine Centrifuges Photograph by:...

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Resources for Becoming a Professional Winemaker

- Jul 10, 2014

Resources for Becoming a Professional Winemaker

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/bonus.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSMany home wine makers either start out wanting to go pro or decide to go that way soon after making their first few batches. After recording the last podcast with Holly Wells and John Garlich of BookCliff Vineyards Holly stuck around to share some great resources for those wanting to go down the path of professional winemaking. Holly’s Wine Industry Resources UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Jobs (VENJobs) Winejobs.com WineBusiness.com Walla Walla Enology & Viticulture Program Wine & Spirit Education Trust “If you’re passion is there just follow it and it will take you great places” – Holly Wells Things To Think About Before Going Pro Becoming a professioal winemaker sounds inherently awesome when you first think about it. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to make wines? The upside to professional winemaking could be amazing. Great wines, going to festivals, hosting tastings and club dinners. What’s not to like? Aside from these amazing benefits and the fun you could have as a professional winemaker there are, however, a few things you should think about though before going too far down this rabbit hole. Here are a few truths you’ll have to grapple with: You’re no longer making wine for fun but to put food on the table. Experimenting with your wine all of the sudden becomes very risky. You may have to make wines that sell and not only wines you personally enjoy. Professional quality wines require attention to detail and professional grade equipment. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these. The very definition of a “professional winemaker” is someone who gets paid to make wine. Their livelyhood is dependent producing good wine and being able to sell it. Making wine is one thing. Convincing people to shell out their hard earned pay for your wine is another challenge altogether. Also consider that your table is not the only one you’re putting food on. Most wineries have employees whose income is dependent upon how well your wine is made and how well it sells. If either falls through they will be looking to you. This brings us to the third thing to think about… you may have to make what sells and not necessarilly only what you like to make. Sure, you may have a following of customers that will love a good jalapeno peach chardonnay. But chances are that’s not what the majority of people walking into the tasting room are looking for. You may cater to whomever you please if it’s your winery, however, you do have to undstand the sales potential of different wines before you commit to making hundreds or thousands of gallons of it. As John pointed out during the interview in episode 15, you may have to do a bit of studying or get some training to go from making wine at home to making wine at the scale required for small wineries. It’s also a good idea to brush up on the legal requirements regarding sulfites, sweetening, labeling, etc. None of this is meant to scare or dissuade you from pursuing a career as a professional winemaker. It is, however, designed to make you think about the tougher questions surrounding an otherwise amazing profession. For some...

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Wine Making Chemistry with Bookcliff Vineyards – WMA015

- Jul 2, 2014

Wine Making Chemistry with Bookcliff Vineyards – WMA015

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma015.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS Wine Making Chemistry with BookCliff Vineyards Wine chemistry is a complex subject. There are so many things to measure, balance, and think about that it’s hard to know when to do what and decide what’s really important. To help us navigate this complex subject Holly Wells and John Garlich of BookCliff Vineyards have come on the show to walk us though the entire wine making process… from a chemistry perspective. We start with the grapes on the vine and discuss when to harvest and how to tell if the time is right. From there we cover each and every step along the way up to bottling your wine. Even if you are primarily a kit winemaker you’ll learn a lot from this interview. John was a home winemaker before he started BookCliff Vineyards and he shares a lot of tips that will help winemakers of any scale. To learn more about BookCliff Vineyards please visit: http://bookcliffvineyards.com/ Also, the BookCliff Vineyards’ Facebook page can be found here and here is a link to their Twitter profile.   Resources & Products Mentioned Refractometer pH meter* analytical scale (measures 1/100th of a gram, if you can find it John recommends 1/1000th of a gram accuracy) Holly’s resources available through the Core Enology Group Resource Page   *Digital pH meters require several calibration reagents as well as storage and cleaning solutions. Be sure to read the section on recommended additional products for more...

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Natural Cork Closures for Wine

- Jun 26, 2014

Natural Cork Closures for Wine

Natural cork wine have been used to seal and protect wine for the past three hundred years or so. Prior to that more crude methods were employed. Today we are seeing a thriving synthetic closure market crop up and the debate between whether to use natural or synthetic closures is thriving. This article is the first in a serries that will cover each of the different closure types available and what their benefits and drawbacks are. Where Does Cork Come From? Cork closures are made from the bark of the Cork Oak tree. This particular tree is native to Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa. As you can see from the cross section of a cork oak tree the bark grows very thick. Once it has reached an optimum thickness the bark is harvested by stripping it from the tree in large sheets. These sheets are processed and solid corks are drilled from it. The remaining cork is then shredded into small particles and used to create more cork closures or it will go into other cork products such as corkboards for displaying all those reminders we never look at. Unlike other trees the cork oak does not suffer from the removal of its bark. It simply regrows and can be harvested again and again as it reaches the proper thickness. On average it takes between nine and twelve years for the tree to regenerate its bark. The bark is usually harvested from cork oaks that are at least 25 years old. These trees can live to be between 150 to 250 years old even when the bark is harvested on a regular basis. So each tree goes through about twelve harvests in its lifetime. The Benefits of Natural Cork Closures Natural cork closures have been used for so long because there are many benefits to doing so. Previous methods for sealing wine bottles included soaking rags in oil and stuffing them into the neck of the bottle, while other cultures would pour a layer of olive oil over the free surface of the wine. The floating oil would prevent oxidation and microbial spoilage so long as the wine was not infected prior to pouring the oil. One of the main benefits of cork closures is that they are a product of nature. Many synthetic closures are made from petroleum based plastics that, some critics claim, leave petrol flavors behind. By in large natural corks do not impart any noticeable flavor on the wine. Due to the long history of using cork closures we have a much better understanding of how they hold up over time and how well the wine they protect develops. No one knows how well a synthetic closure and the wine it protects will fair after fifty years in the cellar because they just haven’t been around that long. The Drawbacks of Natural Cork Closures There are a few downsides to using cork closures. Because they are derived from a tree they, like any other plant based material, can dry out over time. So care must be taken when purchasing, inserting, and storing wine enclosed with cork to ensure that the integrity of the cork is maintained. The quality of the cork matters. Lower quality, particle based corks shouldn’t be expected to last as long as...

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Interview with Winemaker Jason Phelps – WMA014

- Jun 16, 2014

Interview with Winemaker Jason Phelps – WMA014

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma014.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSInterview with Winemaker Jason Phelps The best way to improve upon a skill, winemaking included, is through personal experience. The second best way is by learning through others experiences. In this episode I’ve got a great interview with winemaker Jason Phelps where he shares many lessons learned through his ten years of wine making experience. You’ll hear about wines that went well and won medals, wines that didn’t go so well and had to be poured out, and what he learned by competing and judging winemaking competitions. So grab a notebook and a glass of wine for this episode. You’ll learn a lot but you’ll also be challenged to consider how you view your wine and how you make it. I know I came away from this interview needing to reflect on some of my own views and reconsider what direction to take my own wines. If you’d like to learn more about Jason check out his website, Ancient Fire Wine. Listener Questions Jason was kind enough to weigh in on several questions that came in from members of the Winemaker’s Academy Facebook group (email me for more information on that). How would you go about doing wine making bench trials? How do you recommend making wine without sulfites? Do you have any methods for reducing sulfur smells in a finished wine? Please let Jason and I know what you thought of the episode in the comments...

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Kerry’s Magnificent Mango Wine Recipe

- Jun 11, 2014

Kerry’s Magnificent Mango Wine Recipe

This mango wine recipe was contributed by Winemaker’s Academy member Kerry. The recipe, she tells me, was passed to her by an organic mango farmer she knows. Kerry does not use sulfites in her wine so you won’t see any references to potassium metabisulfite or campden tablets. This is part of the reason why she recommends using “cooled boiled water” in several of the steps below. Should you decide to add sulfites to your wine simply follow the instructions included with the potassium metabisulfite or campden tablets of your choice. If you need some guidance on sulfite additions check out the following article which includes a calculator: Adding Potassium Metabisulfite to Wine. However, it would be an interesting experiment to go without sulfites if you’ve never tried it. Kerry’s Magnificent Mango Wine recipe: Ingredients 2kg mango pulp (4.5 lbs) Cooled boiled water (enough to bring total volume of liquids to approximately 1 US gallon) 1 tablespoon pectinase 1 teaspoon Lalvin EC1118 yeast 1 heaped teaspoon Lallemand Fermaid A yeast nutrient 1.5kg sugar added in 500gm portions over time. May not use all of the last portion. *(that’s 3.3 lbs of sugar in 2.5 cup increments) Instructions Peel the mangos and cut all flesh away from the seed. Taking the “meat” of the mango squeeze it through your fingers to make a pulp. Pour boiling water over the mangos in a large pot then cover and allow it to cool. (Note from Matt: I recommend using a nylon mesh bag to contain the fruit). Mix 1 tablespoon pectinase in cooled boiled water and stir into the mango must. Leave covered 24 hrs. *For those of you wishing to use sulfites, now would be a good time for an initial dose. Dissolve 500 grams of sugar (2.5 cups) in a small amount of cooled boiled water and add it to your mango must. Stir in yeast and yeast nutrient mixed with a small amount of cooled boiled water. Cover and set aside. Stir at least once every 24 hrs for 5-7 days. When the frothy activity subsides it’s time to strain. Strain into a demijohn (aka carboy) and seal it with an airlock. When the fermentation activity dies down (could be between several weeks to several months) rack into a clean carboy and add the next 500 gram dose of sugar in a small amount of mango must or in cooled boiled water. Repeat step 10 untill fermentation ceases. After fermentation has stopped completely even after adding more sugar rack and add any remaining sugar required to sweeten it to suit your taste. When the mango wine has cleared and is inactive – taste and bottle. Please let us know if you try this mango wine recipe out down in the comments. Let us know how it goes and if you did anything differently. Update!!! Here is a photograph of Kerry’s Mango Wine as of August 5th, 2014. Looking good! (See the comment section below for the full details on how this wine is progressing) The recipe presented on this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International...

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Winemaking Corkers – WMA013

- Jun 5, 2014

Winemaking Corkers – WMA013

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma013.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSWinemaking Corkers There are many different styles of corkers out there. What differentiates them from one another, beyond price, is how easy it is to insert a cork. Smaller, less expensive corkers are convenient for those reasons, however, they often don’t provide the mechanical advantage needed to make it an “easy to use” corker. In this episode you’ll get introduced to the most popular amateur wine making corkers. I’ve covered how they work, how much they cost, and which ones require the use of a mallet to use. Additionally, you’ll get introduced the both the mechanical and vacuum corkers that small wineries use. Corkers Mentioned During The Main Topic Mini Corker Plunger Corker Dual Lever Corker (Matt’s recommended corker for beginners) Gilda Compression Hand Corker Colonna Capper & Corker Floor Corkers (Matt’s recommended corker for amateur wine maker’s making larger batches) Large Format Corkers Mechanical & Vacuum Corkers Listener & Reader Questions Answered To make a sweet wine do I just add sugar to taste? After two months my banana wine is not clearing. What should I do? Should I put my fruit in a blender to extract more flavor? My wine was clear when I bottled it but now it’s cloudy. What happened? What is the equation for calculating alcohol content? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned How Long Do Primary and Secondary Fermentations Last? Wine Alcohol Content Calculator Specific Gravity Temperature Correction Calculator Photograph by: Jameson...

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How Long Do Primary and Secondary Fermentations Last?

- May 29, 2014

How Long Do Primary and Secondary Fermentations Last?

Nearly every wine kit and wine making recipe has a different recommendation on how long primary and secondary fermentations are supposed to last. It turns out that there are a lot of variables that can affect how long each of these last. This means that there’s a good chance your wine will behave differently than what the instructions or recipe you’re following say should happen. Primary fermentation is the more vigorous portion of the fermentation process during which time approximately 70% of your total amount of alcohol is produced. It will generally go by much more quickly than secondary fermentation. For more information on the differences between these two check out Primary Vs Secondary Fermentation. So how long should each of these take? Let’s find out. Primary Fermentation Primary fermentation usually takes between three to seven days to complete. It goes by much more quickly than secondary fermentation because wine must is a much more fertile environment for the yeast. Sugar and oxygen levels are high during primary fermentation and there are plenty of nutrients. A happy and healthy yeast population can really consume some sugar at a rapid rate in an environment like this. As fermentation progresses though the oxygen runs out, the sugar and nutrient levels drop, and alcohol starts to build up. This slows fermentation down. Listen this for more information on the yeast life cycle. There is no definite sign or event that separates primary and secondary fermentation. So how long primary fermentation lasts has more to do with when you rack to a secondary fermenter than it does with some specific event taking place. In general prmary fermentation is said to be over once your specific gravity has dropped to below 1.030. This is just a rule of thumb though. I consider my wine to be in secondary fermentation when it is ready to be racked to the secondary fermenter. This might be after three days or after two weeks, it depends on how fermentation is going. If you make wine with fresh fruit, be it grapes or something else, you don’t want your wine to sit on that fruit any longer than five to seven days unless you really know what you’re doing with extended macerations. So regardless of where your specific gravity is you want to be off of that fruit lees before your wine begins picking up off flavors. Suppose you’re making wine from a concentrate or from honey and you don’t have that fruit lees to worry about. At this point you can use the general rule of racking into a secondary fermenter when your specific gravity has dropped below 1.030. Secondary Fermentation How long secondary fermentation lasts depends on a handful of things. Not only does it depend on when you rack to a secondary container, it also depends on how agressive your yeast strain is as well as the wine’s temperature. An aggressive yeast will power through a fermentation pretty steadily to the very end. This is especially true if you are making a dry wine. If, on the other hand you are using a yeast strain that has a 13% alcohol tolerance and you started with enough sugar to create a wine that is 13% ABV or higher it may take the yeast a few weeks or...

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How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

- May 23, 2014

How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma012.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSBottling Your Wine Bottling is the final step in the wine making process (aside from aging). If done correctly your wine will be protected from oxygen and spoilage preserving your wine to enjoy for possible years to come. In this episode I will go through the entire bottling process. The first thing covered is determining when to bottle which is equally as important as knowing how to bottle your wine. From there you’ll learn about cleaning and sanitizing bottles, back sweetening, bottle filler options, and much more. Listener & Reader Questions Answered What can I use to degas my wine? Is there a time to just stop degassing and proceed to the next step? Will potassium metabisulfite protect my wine from a fruit fly that landed in my wine? How much dry yeast should I use to make my wine? Why do we put water in the air lock? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned Wine Whip How to Use a Degassing Tool Wine Gas Getter Plastic Bottle Filler Multi-Bottle Filler Vacuum Bottle Filler Zork Closures Winemakers Academy Podcast Episode 11 Matt’s Wine Here are some pictures from the wine I’m making and discussing in the “Matt’s Wine” segment of the show. This is a raisin wine that is currently in secondary fermentation.    As you can see there is some sediment in the bottom of the airlock which was a result of the fermentation foam getting up into the airlock. Not a good situation. The water in this airlock could be contaminated and if it comes into contact with my wine may spoil it...

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How Wine Clarifiers Work – WMA011

- May 7, 2014

How Wine Clarifiers Work – WMA011

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma011.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSHow Wine Clarifiers Work There are a lot of clarifiers out there. But how do they work? Is there one that is better than the rest These questions and more will be addressed in this podcast episode. While not always completely necessary clarifiers have become a key component of the modern wine maker’s repertoire of tools used to craft a quality wine. You do have to be careful with them though because if you over do it you could strip out more than just the cloudiness. The trick is to use just enough to get the job done and no more. Questions Answered What does bentonite really do? How do I dry my racking tubes? What would be the consequences of mixing both French oak and American oak in the secondary? My wine’s titratable acidity dropped. What could cause this? What yeast strain should I use to make dandelion wine? Should I top off my kit wine or not? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned A Guide to Fining – Washington State University A Clearer Understanding of Fining Agents – Winemaker Magazine Interview with Pier Benci – Cellar Dwellers Podcast Understanding Wine Acidity – Winemaker’s Academy Yeast Strains Chart – Winemaker Magazine Winexpert Instructions Memo Private Preserve Inert Gases Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook Stafidine Recipe (Greek Raisin Syrup) Photograph by: Domas...

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