Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

rec.crafts.winemaking FAQ

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Forum archive ]
Archive-name: crafts/winemaking-faq
Last modified: April 17, 1999
Posting: Bi-monthly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Changes since last update (March 15, 1999):

- addition of my policy for my recipe archive in G42. DOES ANYBODY HAVE
- slight addition to G43. REMOVING CARBONATION FROM WINE

This is the FAQ for rec.crafts.winemaking. If you have any additions,
deletions, corrections, comments, questions or the like, please direct
them to r.c.w. or Don Buchan at malak& (&=@)

To get the latest version of this file, choose one of the following:

A) anonymous ftp to
B) anonymous ftp to
C) anonymous ftp to
D) anonymous ftp to
E) email to, with the message, without the
quotes, "send usenet/news.answers/crafts/winemaking-faq"
F) gopher to gopher:// (FAQ's via
G) WWW to
H) newsgroup news://rec.crafts.winemaking (posted twice monthly)
I) newsgroup news://rec.answers (posted twice monthly)
J) newsgroup news://news.answers (posted twice monthly)
K) email to malak& (&=@) -- discouraged.

Copyright notice:

Copyright 1995-1999 by Don Buchan, all rights reserved. This FAQ may be
distributed to any USENET newsgroup, on-line service, BBS or any other
means, electronic or physical (such as, but not limited to, floppy
diskettes and printouts) as long as:

A) it is distributed in its entirety,
B) no fee is charged to anyone:
  i) downloading this file beyond nominal online fees, or
 ii) receiving the information beyond nominal format charges,
C) it is not distributed for financial gain. To be included in
commercial collections or compilations (except online services as
allowed above), express permission from Don Buchan (malak&
(&=@) must be obtained.

I have granted permission to Better Winemaking by Cybercom Publications
to print excepts from this document. I only receive a free copy of the
magazine, and have donated the value of the yearly subscription fee to
my church's Minister's Discretionary Fund.

Academic or professional use and accuracy:

In the case of academic use, follow the guidelines set out at your
institution for referencing electronic texts, provided that my name,
Don Buchan, and email ID, malak& (&=@), are referenced as
editor/compilor. I suggest as title "FAQ List for Usenet Usegroup
rec.crafts.winemaking". An essay on suggested referencing guidelines
is available at or by
email from michael& (&=@)

I am not an oenologist, nor is this text guaranteed to be 100%
accurate. No liability or warranty, express or implied, is assumed by
the editor or contributors. If you see an error, please send it to
malak& (&=@)

This text covers the actual procedures of making wine to varying
degrees, as well as various approaches, techniques, and philosophies
about winemaking. These are sometimes going to contradict each other --
remember, different people wrote various sections. While the editor has
made an effort to bring the whole thing together, these contradictions
were left in to allow for the numorous methods of reaching the same
goal: Good to better to even great wine. The caveat to all this? Read
the whole document as much as possible. There are various sections that
contain loads of information that perhaps in and of themselves perhaps
are better contained in other sections but are left where they are.

If you want more information of a basic nature, request the primers
mentioned in the NET RESOURCES posting for wine & winemaking.

Editing & spelling conventions:

The editor has tried to edit for brevity in some cases, therefore
contributions may be shorter than submitted or as originally posted in
the newsgroup. When used, the word "I" is the contributor, not
necessarily the editor. Text in {} is the original question.

British (and Canadian) spelling conventions are used.

Measurement conventions:

An attempt has been made to include imperial, American and metric

When a reference to a gallon is made, it will be identified as an
imperial or American gallon, and its equivalent in the other size is
made as well in litres. In this text, a gallon of wine is usually an
imperial gallon (4.5 L, 1.19 USG) and a gallon jug is usually 1.06 USG
(4 L, 0.89 imp. gal.).

G01. Newsgroup Charter
G02. Definitions
G03. How is wine made?
G04. Yeast
G05. Possible ingredients
G06. BTW, can I use jam?
G07. The recipe calls for tannin. What's the conversion dry to liquid?
G08. What equipment is required?
G09. Sucrose vs. corn sugar
G10. Kits vs. Grapes or Fruit
G11. What are the usual sizes used in home winemaking?
G12. Barrels
G13. Sanitation
G14. Procedure
G15. Why am I adding the bentonite at the beginning? How much do I put
in? Where do I get it?
G16. Egg white clearing
G17. Higher alcohol levels
G18. Sparkling your wine
G19. Ice wine
G20. Different kinds of fermentation used in winemaking
G21. Acid balance
G22. Chillproofing
G23. Do all wines contain sulphites?
G24. How much sulphite is needed?
G25. Topping up your wine
G26. Bulk Aging
G27. Will my wine last?
G28. How to know when a wine is ready to drink
G29. Vinometers
G30. How to measure alcohol levels in your wine
G31. What's the best paper and adhesive to use for labels?
G32. Bottles & Corks
G33. Corkers
G34. How about distilling my wine?
G35. What are good references for winemaking?
G36. What is [insert wine type here] like?
G37. What kind of water should I use?
G38. Are elderberries toxic? How about {insert fruit here}?
G39. Kosher wines/winemaking/beer/beermaking
G40. What amount of grapes should be used?
G41. How can I contact Presque Ile Wine Cellars or anyone else?
G42. Does anybody have a recipe for {insert wine type here}?
G43. Removing carbobation from wine
G44. Cleaning out dirty bottles, carboys and the like
G45. Why am I getting headaches?
G46. I want to make some Sherry. Do I require a special type of yeast?
G47. Sweetening wine
G48. "Strengthening" a wine
G49. Humidity & Storage
G50. Knowing when to pick your grapes
G51. Wild Yeasts
G52. Are any other winemaking topics covered somewhere?
G53. Cold Stabilization
G54. How much pectic enzyme should I use?
G55. Getting rid of excessive pulp
G56. What if I don't have any yeast nutrient?
G57. Arresting fermentation
G58. Removing corks from bottles
G59. Your friendly hydrometer


TROUBLESHOOTING -- Can be found in the seperate posting TROUBLESHOOTING
for wine & winemaking

NET RESOURCES -- Can be found in the seperate posting NET RESOURCES for
wine & winemaking.


Name: rec.crafts.winemaking
Moderation status: unmoderated

Rec.crafts.winemaking will be a news group dedicated to the discussion
of the process, recipes, tips, storage, techniques and general exchange
of lore on the process, methods and history of wine making. The above
list is not considered exhaustive, and if a discussion is of interest
to wine makers it may be deemed as appropriate. This group is to be
general enough to encompass both traditional grape wines as well as
wines which are generally described as country wines, sparkling wines,
and champagnes. In general, the appropriateness of a particular
beverage will be determined by the process involved in its making.
Essentially, if the process used is that of winemaking, then the
discussion is considered appropriate. This may include such beverages
as cider or mead. It is recognized that there are topics which are of
interest to both wine makers and brewers, and posting or cross posting
of such topics is considered both appropriate and desirable. Personal
stories and experiences shall be welcome as long as they pertain to the
craft of wine making.


Not all these terms appear elsewhere in this FAQ; but those that don't
are still useful or at least interesting.

Acid Blend: A blend of (usually) tartaric and malic acids in crystal

Air Lock: see vapour lock.

Astringency: The effect of tannin on the mouth; it causes the mouth to
pucker and leave a "dry" feeling in the mouth.

Basic 10: A term used by F. Stanley Anderson in his books. The basic
equipment needed for winemaking. These are: Long-handled spoon;
fermentation bin (widemouthed bucket); carboy (large bottle with
constricted neck); air lock & bung; sulphite; gallon jug (for sulphite
solution); plastic sheet; racking cane (for transferring wine);
large measuring cup; and hydrometer.

Beer: According to the Bavarian Purity Law, a fermented beverage
containing only water, malt, hops and yeast. Generally, an undistilled
fermented beverage with a water and grain base. Other ingredients may be
added to vary the beverage, as well as the type of malt and hops.

Bentonite: A type of finely ground clay that is used as a clarifying
agent. It is used at varying stages of the process, including at the
beginning to provide something to which yeast can attach themselves to
improve growth and help clear out solids from the primary fermentation.

Bouquet: A wine's aroma. Bouquet evolves over time as the wine ages.

Bracket (braggot): An alcoholic beverage made with malt and honey; thus
it bridges the gap between mead and ale.

Brix: A measurement of sugar content in a must. Degrees Brix, as
measured on your hydrometer, is very close to percent sugar and is most
easily considered as such. Conversion of sugar to alcohol is usually in
the range of 0.52 to 0.59.

Campden Tablets: Tablets of a standard amount of compressed sulphite.
It usually has a mass of about either 0.44g or 0.55g (depending on your
source), roughly equivalent to about 0.28g or 0.35g SO2.

Cap: The vegetable matter and foam layer that forms on the top of the
wine during the first few days of fermentation. Although your
fermenting wine may break it up and absorb it eventually, it is best to
manually break it with your wine stirrer/spoon as often as it forms to
avoid the production of off smells and problems with overflowing as
well as to maximize colour and flavour extraction.

Carboy: A container of five imperial gallons (22.5 litres, 6 USG). It
is the next commonly used size smaller than a demijohn. Carboys are
made from glass or plastic and, like a big bottle, have a constricted
neck. Other sizes also exist.

Carbonic Maceration: It means "carbon dioxide soaking" and it can be
done by using CO2 to displace oxygen from a tank stacked with grape
boxes (N2 does the same but is actually more extensive then CO2) and is
commonly done by duping clusters into vertical tanks in which the juice
from broken berries actually suffocates the berry by submersion. The
main reactions are intracellular ethanol production by glycolytic
enzymes which stop at about 5% ethanol. Hence the practice of then
pressing the berries and completing the fermentation with added or
natural yeast. There are some other phenol conversions of gallic and
caffeic to benzyl derivatives and the development of a "silage" dusty
grain character. The pigmentation is also usually light red with a
distinct purple tone.

Clearing: Causing the wine to go clear by either fining, repeated
racking or both. See fining.

Cider: Fermented apple juice.

Cuvee: French for a batch of wine.

Cyser: A mead with apple juice added (and thus you might consider it
either an apple melomel or a cider with honey).

Demijohn: A container identical in function and similar in shape to a
carboy. They typically hold 25 to 64 litres, about 5 to 14 imp. gal. (6
to 17 USG) though come in various sizes as small as 1 imperial gallon.

Distillation: The process of heating a liquid to separate its various
dissolved components. Our reference would be the separation of alcohol
from water. Home distillation is generally considered at least somewhat
dangerous because it concentrates methanol, an alcohol produced in
minute (and safe) concentrations in fermentation. The problem comes in
keeping track of the proper distillation temperatures. Home distillation
is illegal just about everywhere except New Zealand.

Fermentation: The anaerobic (no oxygen) digestion of various organic
compounds by microflora and microfauna. In our case, yeast are
anaerobically digesting sugar, water and nutrients to produce alcohol.

Fining: The use of some agent that will collect fine particles
(cloudiness) in the wine and cause them to fall to the bottom so that
clear wine can be racked off the top. For technical types, it's called
clarification and flocculation. These substances are usually isinglass
(ground fishbladders) or a gelatin substance, but also include
bentonite and various cationic and anionic polymers.

Hydrometer: A glass bulb with a weight in the bulb, a narrow stick like
end with a scale inside it that is used to measure properties such as
liquid density, and in the case of fermentation, usually other scales
such as Brix, Balling and potential alcohol (based on the liquid

Kit: A package containing juice concentrate and other ingredients used
to make wine. Add water and follow the instructions. Formats will vary:
Some are a can of concentrate (add your own sugar, yeast, some other
ingredients); some are 5kg to 7kg (11 lbs to 15.4 lbs) of concentrate in
a bag, complete with everything needed either in the concentrate or
seperately in the box, except water; others are 15 litres (3.33 imp.
gal.; 4 USG) of concentrated juice you bring up to 23 litres (5 imp.
gal.; 6 USG). There are even packets of dehydrated juice crystals in
which you add all the water and sugar. Often the concentrate is actually
a hybrid containing juices of more than one kind of grape (California
requires at 51% of a given grape to be present to call it that variety,
for instance. Other areas require 75%.) Quality is discussed in section

Lees: The solids that have fallen to the bottom of your fermentation
vessel. Among much else, they contain live and dead yeast.

Mead: An alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of honey and
water. Many ingredients can be added to the basic recipe.

Melomel: A mead with fruit and/or fruit juices added.

Metheglin: A mead with herbs and/or spices added.

Must: Unfermented wine (ie. grape juice).

Pectins: Large protein molecules that don't clear properly. They're
important in jam making, but annoying and undesireable in winemaking.

Pectic Enzyme: Pectic enzymes break up pectin to make smaller molecules
that clear more easily.

Pitching: The act of adding yeast to a must. Often yeast may be added
directly to the must while still dry, but the yeast is more likely to
work if rehydrated in a cup of water first, particularly if the must is
NOT from a concentrate.

Primary Fermentation: The stage during which most fermentation takes
place, usually in a covered widemouthed vessel.

Pyment: Honey and grape juice fermented together. This can be either a
fermented combination (as a melomel) or grape wine to which honey is
added after it is finished.

Racking: Transferring wine by siphoning clear wine from one vessel into
another closed vessel without transferring the lees at the bottom of
the first vessel.

Reverse Osmosis: A method of separating various dissolved substances,
similar to what cells do, only backwards. High pressures force a liquid
through a membrane with very fine pores. Typically we are interested in
city water being forced through an RO filter to produce an ulra-pure
water for the purpose of either reconstituting concentrated juice or as
part of a fruit wine recipe so as to avoid off flavours or other
undesired dissolved solids.

Riddler: Two planks with a hinge holding them together end to end, holes
along their length wide enough to hold the necks of champagne bottles,
and a chain or rope on each side that are used to adjust the distance of
the bases of the boards, and therefore the angle at which the boards are
to horizontal. See section G18. SPARKLING YOUR WINE.

Secondary Fermentation: The stage during which fermentation is
completed, usually in a closed vessel such as a carboy. This period
commonly refers to the completion of sugar fermentation by yeast, but
also refers to the time when other fermentations, particularly
malolactic fermentation, take place. See section G20. DIFFERENT KINDS

sg: Specific gravity. The reading taken from your hydrometer that
measures the relative density of your must/wine to water. Rarely should
the reading go above 1.100 as this makes it very difficult for yeast to
work and this will produce a wine with 14% alcohol, getting in the area
that yeast have difficulty tolerating.

Sorbate: Potassium sorbate (also shortened Ksorbate). A substance that
is toxic to yeast and used as a stabilizer. Sorbate's effectiveness
depends on low yeast counts in the wine; if it's high, sorbate will be
inneffective. Clear your wine properly, and ferment out to sg 1.000 or

Sulphite (or sulphate): Referring to sodium metabisulphite or potassium
metabisulphite. A substance that is noxious to many spoilage
microorganisms and wild yeasts and is used as a microbiological and
oxidative inhibitor. Sulphite's effectiveness depends on low organism
counts in the wine; if it's high, the sulphite will be inneffective.
Clear your wine properly and ferment out to sg 1.000 or less.
Chemically, sulphite is S03(-2) while sulphate is SO4(-2); the desired
form in winemaking is sulphite, however, the two words are often used
(or confused) interchangeably. Since sulphate is oxidized sulphite (ie.
sulphite reacts with oxygen in the air), sulphite prevents unwanted
browning in wine, and too much sulphate in a wine will cause
bitterness. Therefore avoid letting your wine contact the air as much
as possible. More in G24. HOW MUCH SULPHITE IS NEEDED?

Sulphite solution: A solution of 1 tablespoon sulphite crystals to one
gallon of water, used to sanitize all surfaces in contact with your
wine. The solution may be reused with care. Usually only one reuse would
be a sure way that the solution remains viable.

TA: titratable acid. It's directly relative to the amount of a base --
such as sodium hydroxide -- required to bring the pH of the liquid to
8.3. This is useful as it is one of many ways of measuring the acidity
of your wine and as such determining whether or not the acidity of your
wine is sufficient. See G21. ACIDE BALANCE

Vapour lock: A simple device that looks like a wide letter 'S' laying
on its side (this is the standard form, there are others). It is filled
with enough water such that air or contaminants cannot flow through it
back into the wine while allowing the pressure from fermentation gases
(primarily CO2) to push out. These are also known as fermentation locks
and air locks.

Wine: The fermented juice of fruits having an alcohol content of 7% to
14% (higher levels are possible).

Wine Thief: A hollow tube similar to a turkey baster that has a hole on
each end, one at the bottom to allow wine in when you put it into your
wine, and the other at the top to cover with your thumb when you take
it out so that the wine in the tube stays there until you put it over a
glass and uncover the hole at top to release the wine. Also, someone
who takes some of your wine without your knowledge; typically the
culprit is a family member or friend. :)

Wort: Unfermented beer.


First, for those who are expecting a quick answer on how to make wine

{how do you make red wine?}

That is a loaded question, but here are the basics which you *can*
follow to make wine.

Real easy way:

First, go to a homebrew shop and have the salesperson sell you a kit and
all the equipment. If they try to sell you anything for any more than
USD $120 then they're either ripping you off or trying to sell you too
much. Ask for a red kit. Follow the instructions in the box. The basic
equipment should cost up to USD $50 and the kit up to USD $70 (probably
a very high end kit and you should probably be looking at a kit that is
a little less expensive, in the USD $60 max range.)

Easy way:

Go to the market and find some fresh juice and add some yeast. Follow
instructions as below.

Involved way:

- Buy some red wine grapes.
- Rent a grape crusher from said homebrew shop, crush said grapes and
collect the juice in the bucket purchased from said homebrew shop.
- Add yeast.
- Using the hydrometer purchased from the shop, transfer to a carboy
when the reading is 1.010.
- When the reading is at about 0.992, wait two weeks.
- Add a clearing agent (homebrew shop)
- After three weeks rack the wine to a clean carboy.
- Either let sit in the carboy or go on to filter if desired and bottle.

A little more involved is as follows:

Wine is the product of fermenting fruit juice, usually grapes.
Generally, it has an alcoholic content of 7% to 14%. Further, this
alcoholic content is only derived by fermentation, ie. no distillation,
nor as a general rule are distilled products added to fortify the wine.

The process of fermenting is basically feeding sugars and nutrients to
yeast, which then produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process goes
on until either all the sugar is gone or the yeast can no longer
tolerate the alcoholic content of the wine. Different yeasts produce
different results, and have different tolerance levels.

- The fruit is crushed to give free-running juice; red wines are
usually fermented with the skins to maximize colour and tannin

- The must is sanitized, usually with sulphite, and is innoculated with
a domesticated yeast; occasionally, the must is allowed to ferment from
the wild yeasts found on grapeskins, though this method can be
unreliable, may allow for the growth of undesireable bacteria and/or
may produce off flavours and/or odours.

- The wine is racked part way through the process to a closed vessel to
complete fermentation. This is done to avoid contamination and
oxidation that would be possible during the slow fermentation of this
period (and therefore low production of a CO2 blanket over the wine to
protect it from such).

- The wine may or may not be stabilized to prevent further fermentation
and contamination. High alcoholic content and a low pH may help in
deciding whether or not to stabilize as these usually present an
environment noxious to many microorganisms; another consideration may
be an allergy to sulphite.

- The wine is allowed to clear either naturally or with the aid of
fining agents, and may be further racked off the lees to avoid foul
smells and tastes developing from the lees when they begin to decompose.

- The wine may be bulk aged before or after filtering and before


Here's a list of different kinds of yeast often used with different
kinds of wine. Ask your dealer for further recommendations, or visit

Epernay 2

Slow fermenter; leaves a delicate, perfumey aroma without tropical
overtones of UCD 594, and a smooth, fruity flavour. Temperature should
be kept cool to preserve fruitiness. Good for whites and fruits. May
have trouble going to dryness if used with too-cold or nutrient poor
wines (like Chardonnay). Sometimes used for Pinot Noir. Foams very

California Champagne, UCD 505

Flocculates superbly, leaving large chunks if left to settle
undisturbed. White wines have a simple, clean, yeasty quality similar
to champagne. Recommended for sparkling wines and very aromatic fruits.


Very fast and vigourous fermenter. Good for stuck fermentations. Never
use if you want to leave some residual sugar. Provides clean, varietal
wines. Often used for Cabernet.


Can produce varied results. When good, it's very, very good. When bad,
it's very, very bad. Never use if fruit has been recently dusted with
sulphur. Has a tendency to product H2S. Starts fast, attaining a very
high temperature, then slows and sometimes sticks if stressed. Very
good for reds and full bodied whites that need a hot fermentation.
Flavours are full and complex and intense in colour.


Intended for carbonic maceration of fresh, fruity red wine. Ferments
strongly but leaves a grapey sort of fruitiness.

Pasteur Champagne

An all purpose white wine yeast sometimes used for reds as well.
Usually a fast, complete fermentation. Do not use for slow
fermentations needing residual sugar. Flavours are clean and pleasant
while body and complexity are not emphasized. Sometimes used for stuck
fermentations. Despite the name, it is not used for sparkling wines.

Prise de Mousse

Ferments evenly and usually goes to completion. Clean, slightly yeasty
aroma does not interfere with varietal flavours. Used for both reds and


Slow fermentation rate with an austere fruitiness. Wines are spicy,
complex, with medium body and dark colour. Often preferred for Pinot
Noir. Sometimes needs balancing with oak ageing.


Used for grapes infected with botrytis. It intensifies the
apricot/honey flavours produced by the mould.


Ferments evenly, low H2S production, floculates well, makes compact
lees. Flavours are refined and elegant with emphasis on varietal fruit.
Often used for Chardonnay. Prone to sticking in nutrient-poor musts.


Usually used as a tirage yeast but could be used for innoculating the
cuvee in sparkling wines as well. Has subdued yeastiness with crispness.

Pasteur Red

Very popular for reds. Fast, strong fermenter used for full bodied
reds. Yields wines that are complex with cabernet style concentration
of fruit and colour.

Pasteur White

Intended for dry, crisp, white wines. The yeast provides complexity
instead of fruitiness emphasizing acidity. Sensitive to sudden
chilling. Foams spectacularly.


Produces a distinctive, flowery, complex combination of scents when
fermented cool. Slows with sudden chilling but usually completes. Good
for riesling and other German style wines.

UCD 594

Starts very slowly and ferments evenly. Fermentation temperature does
not change much nor is activity that apparent. Provides a highly
aromatic character called 'fruit salad' or tropical flavour. Not
generally used in reds. Sensitive to SO2. May produce excess H2S if
sulphur dust is on the fruit.

Lalvin K1-1118

Champagne yeast (Saccharomycetes Bayanus) High alcohol tolerant, clean
fermenting yeast. High sulphite tolerance. Will ferment dry. Good for
champagnes, stuck ferments, particularly in a high alcohol and/or high
sugar wine. A "killer strain", it excretes enzymes which are noxious to
other yeasts. Also typically used to innoculate a still, sulphited,
fined and filtered but unsorbated wine ready for champagning.

Lalvin K1-1116

Saccharomycetes Ceriviceae. General purpose mid to high alcohol tolerant
"killer yeast" good for innoculating fresh juices which may contain wild
strains of yeast, particularly under conditions of sulphite-free
fermentation and/or to innoculate an spontaneously fermenting must.

Some suggestions (depending on styles)

White wines

Chardonnay (regular): Chanson, Prise de Mousse
Chardonnay (heavy): Montrachet
Chenin Blanc: UCD 594, Epernay 2
Gewurztraminer & Riesling (young/fresh): Epernay 2
Gewurztraminer & Riesling (complex): Steinberg
Muscat: UCD 594 or any white wine yeast
Sauvignon Blanc: Chanson, Pasteur White, Prise de Mousse
Semillon: Chanson, Pasteur Champagne

Red Wines

Cabernet (regular): Pasteur Red
Cabernet (other): Pasteur Champagne, Montrachet, Prise de Mousse
Merlot: Pasteur Red, Assmanshausen
Merlot (for blending): Epernay 2, Beaujolais, Assmanshausen
Gamay: Beaujolais
Petit Sirah: Doesn't matter
Pinot Noir (light): Beaujolais
Pinot Noir (regular): Assmanshausen
White Zin: Epernay 2, Prise de Mousse
Zinfandel, claret style: Pasteur Red
Zinfandel, fruity: Prise de Mousse
Zinfandel, heavy: Montrachet
Zinfandel, over 25 brix: Fermivin

French/American hybrids

Aurora: Epernay 2
Cayuga: Chanson, Prise de Mousse
Red fruity (Chelois, Foch, etc): Epernay 2, Beaujolais
Red full bodied (Baco, Chambourcin, etc): Pasteur Red, Fermivin,
Seyval/Vidal Blanc (dry): Chanson, Prise de Mousse
Seyval/Vidal Blanc (sweet): Epernay 2

Special types

Blanc de noirs and Rose: Epernay 2, Prise de Mousse
Carbonic Maceration: Beaujolais
Late Harvest (Botrytis): Beerenauslese, Steinberg
Port: Pasteur Champagne
Sparkling (cuvee): Eperney 2, Prise de Mousse, Pasteur Champagne
Sparkling (tirage): Etoile, Calif Champagne, Prise de Mousse
Stuck fermentations: Fermivin, Pasteur Champagne

Non Grape wines

Apples: Epernay 2, Chanson
Berry, Cherry: Pasteur Red, Beaujolais
Peach, pear, apricot, plum: Epernay 2, C. Champ, Prise de Mousse
Other: Epernay 2


Besides the basic grape juice that most winemakers use, the following
is a non-exhaustive list of possible additives or even bases for your

Honey, Sugar (sucrose -- white table sugar), Corn Syrup (glucose) (most
commercial corn syrup has vanilla added), Corn Sugar (dextrose), Fruit
(dried or fresh), Fruit Juices (can be concentrate, but no
preservatives: Sorbate is often mentioned in small print even in "100%
juice"), Molasses, Maple syrup, Acid blend, Citric acid (Vitamin C, you
can use lemon or orange juice), Tannin (can be purchased), Yeast
Nutrient (you can boil yeast from previous batch for this, but
commercial nutrients work best), Spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger,
etc), Pectic Enzyme (needed for fresh fruit pulp, as some fruit juices
(pear and apple notably) require this to clear).


In principle, you could. Recipes you may come across for jam wines may
call for pectin-free jams -- something rather rare unless you make the
jam yourself and don't add pectin. Fruit jams naturally will contain
pectin from the fruit anyway. Further, the jam need not be pectin-free
to work -- that's what pectic enzyme is used for.

The big questions is, though, WHY? If you make the jam yourself, why
not just make the wine directly? If it's old jam, it's probably
oxidized and not appropriate for winemaking (and if opened, probably
contaminated too.) It would take about twice as much pectic enzyme to
break down the extra pectin added to the jam.

Expect fair wine only, at best, from this method.


The conversion is 1/4 teaspoon dry tannin equals 0.338140227 fluid
ounces. This is about half a gram dry tannin to 10 millilitres liquid.


Standard Kit (all necessary):

- 6.5 imperial gallon bucket (7.74 USG; 29.25 litres)
- 5 imperial gallon carboy (6 USG; 23 litres)
- plastic spoon
- airlock & bung
- sheet of plastic
- sulphite
- hydrometer
- J-tube and plastic tubing
- J-tube holder for carboy
- basic instructions

- You should also get a 20 litre (5 USG) food grade plastic jug to
carry distilled water if you make kits. It may also be used to carry
juice if you purchase it straight from a market press.

- If you are using fruit and preparing it at home, you may require a
fruit press.

- One 1-gallon (4 litre) glass jug to hold your sulphite solution

- Bottle sanitizer -- used for sanitizing bottles, is pump activated,
as in by hand (put the bottle over the nozzle, and push down.)
 - optional if you use the dishwasher and the water is HOT! (65C (150F)
   or HOTTER!) (use sanitizing cycle)

Needed sooner or later (especially if you make a lot of wine), but

- Wine filter set AND glass carboy
- These can often be rented -- don't buy it until a) You're really
hooked on winemaking (~3 batches) and b) You find you make a lot of
wine and would save money by purchasing the system.

- Floor corker (often can be rented)

Optional, but very strongly recommended:

- Jet spray water bottle washer AND tap adapter -- better than a brush

- J-tube holder for carboys -- makes it easier to siphon off the wine
by making things less awkward and keeping your hands from tiring (may
come with the set)

Optional, but very useful:

- Large plastic box(es) for storage of your equipment.

- Hand held bottle corker. It's mainly useful if you make small bottles
or little wine. It is a pain in the wrist to use for large scale

- Several extra airlocks and bungs, and extra gallon jugs to take up
the wine that the carboy won't take.


Both will ferment equally well in your wine, and usually may be used
interchangeably, though in different amounts.

For those of you with really distinguishing palates, sucrose (table
sugar) will give a beverage a fruity character; corn sugar, a malty

3/4 unit of sucrose equals 1 unit of corn sugar; therefore if your
recipe calls for 1 unit of sugar, you should use 1 1/3 units corn sugar.


Kits vary in quality, usually according to price: The more expensive it
is, the better the quality.

When buying kits, don't buy a cheap one just to minimize your financial
risk. Cheap wine kits might resemble watery grape juice with fire in
them (while some are really good). An expensive kit uses the same
principles, but the product is usually far superior. Experiment; often,
paying a premium pays off. Look for a kit that has a lot of concentrate.
The ideal would be a concentrate that has 16 litres (3.5 imp. gal.; 4.25
USG) of concentrate. The next best would be about 10 kg (22 lbs).

Some people swear by kits, while others by fresh juice. As a steady
rule, high quality wine that lasts for decades is made from high
quality fresh juice from fruit that was grown and picked under optimum

That being said, there are good kits of great quality that can beat
some fresh juice wines, but usually only the more expensive kits vs.
average fruit.

Experiment and decide for yourself what you want. What YOU like as a
final product is the most important factor, as well as the commitment
you wish to make.


The US and Britain (and some of the Commonwealth) use the Imperial
system (though Britain & the Commonwealth also uses the metric system),
but the measurements of each system are not necessarily equal to those
of the other. As a rule, the whole world except the US uses the Metric

Some information found here was found in Alan Marshall's FAQ on sizes,
which can be found at: in /pub/clubs/homebrew/beer/rfdb/beer-capacity.faq

Bottle: 750 mL, 1/5 USG, 1/6 imp. gal.
Barrel: 36 imp. gal. (UK barrel), 30 and 6/11 USG (US barrel)
* note that there are various other standard and non-standard barrel
Carboy: 5 imp. gal., 6.5 USG or occasionally 4.2 imp. gal, 5 USG
Demijohn: 25 to 64 litres, 5.6 to 14.2 imp. gal, 6.6 to 16.9 USG
1 Imp. gal (160 Imp fl oz) = 4.546 litres
1 US gal (128 US fl oz) = 3.785 litres
Magnum: 1.5 litres, 2/5 USG, 1/3 imp. gal.

The usual primary fermentor used by home winemakers holds 6.5 imp. gal.
(7.74 USG; 29.25 litres) and the secondary fermentor is a carboy.
However, there are various other sizes, such as 5 USG, as well as
various other sizes that are convenient to the individual.


[I need proper conversions. Am I right with the imperial?]

Volume Vol.  Vol. Name
       imp.   US
 375ml 13.2 oz. 12.7 oz. fillette
 750ml 26.4 oz. 25.4 oz. bottle (fifth)
1000ml 35.2 oz. 33.8 oz. litre
1500ml 52.8 oz. 50.7 oz. magnum
2250ml 79.2 oz. 76.1 oz. tappit
3000ml 105.6 oz. 101.5 oz. double magnum
4500ml 158.4 oz. 152.2 oz. jeroboam
6000ml 211.2 oz. 202.9 oz. imperial


1 imp. fl. oz = 28.4 ml
  1 imp. pint = 20 imp. fl. oz
 1 imp. quart = 40 imp. fl. oz
1 imp. gallon = 160 imp. fl. oz
 1 US fl. oz. = 29.57 ml
    1 US pint = 16 US fl. oz.
   1 US quart = 32 US fl. oz.
        1 USG = 128 US fl. oz.

Note: The Imp. and US systems use different values for fluid ounces but
in both systems it refers to a VOLUME measurement, not a weight.

Weight Equivalents:

1 oz (avoirdupois) = 28.35 g
1 lb (avoirdupois) = 16 oz = 453.6 g
1 US oz. = 0.0625 lbs = 1 imp. oz
1 lb = 16 US oz. = 16 imp. oz

Note: The Imp. and US systems use the same value for ounces referring to
weight (i.e. avoirdupois).


Why bother with a barrel?

Oak adds a compelling complexity to wine. You should make sure the kind
of wine you want to make is well suited for oak, since it is more
expensive and trouble. For example, just about any high tannin red wine
will benefit. Many whites such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc will
also. However, riesling should be left alone. Oak barrels also have an
aesthetic quality that other materials can't match.

If you wish to oak your wine but can't afford a barrel (or don't have
the space), use oak chips, powder or sticks. Be very careful not to add
too much or leave them in the wine too long as the surface to liquid
ratio is quite high and therefore oaking is very quick. Sometimes this
may only be equal to the time it takes to ferment your wine, depending
on how oaky you like your wine and how much you put in. It is
recommended that you closely follow a wine oaked in this fashion by
tasting often.

An easy way to add oak flavor wine to just the degree that pleases your
taste is to take a regular wine bottle, fill it half full of oak chips
and add Vodka to fill the bottle. Let it set for a month or two. Drain
off the liquid and keep it to flavour your wine. Experiment, using a
tablespoon per gallon; if this is insufficient, keep adding a teaspoon
until you reach the desired result.

New and Used Barrels

Look in a commercial listings phone book for oak barrels, barrel
coopers, wine suppliers or the like. Check a wine trade flyer or
magazine. You can also contact a winery and ask for their source or ask
to purchase one of their used barrels.

A trade advertising flyer may carry advertisements for used barrels.
Often famous wineries will advertise in them. These are generally for
full sized barrels. Purchase only from a reputable source. Some people
have had bad experiences with used barrels; if you purchase one,
"Caveat Emptor -- Buyer Beware".

Oak barrels are generally good for two or three years as a source of
oak in and of itself. At that point, you can either keep it as a
neutral barrel, or you can have a cooper take it apart, scrape it down
to fresh wood, and re-toast the barrel, at which point it's good for

{A friend of mine purchased some old whiskey barrels for his home
winemaking. Unfortunately, the first batch came out tasting more like a
whiskey than a wine. The colour was strange, too. In any case, he's
asked me if I know anything about "getting the whiskey out of the
barrels" so that he can start producing wine in them.}

Unfortunately, even if you shave and retoast the barrel you will ALWAYS
have a whiskey flavour in the wine. If you want this flavour (which is
interesting in a zinfandel) then you SHOULD shave and retoast to avoid
over 'whiskeying' the wine. If you don't want the whiskey flavour then
don't use the barrel. It will never come out.

A good way to help minimize this 'whiskeying' would be to soak the
barrel with fresh water and sulphite a few times.

Barrel Care

Usually empty unused barrels can be stored indefinitely. Once filled
with wine, the barrels must either be always full or specially treated
when emptied. The recipe for storing solution (for a 180 litre; 40; 50-60 USG) is about 100g (1/4 lb) citric acid crystals, 100g
(1/4 lb) sodium or potassium metabisulphite and enough water to fill
the barrel. Then bung it tight.

Considering the possible loss of tannin by leaching to the above
conditioner, others do the following with their barrels when empty:

- wash out the barrel thoroughly
- let it dry for one week without bung stopper
- burn a sulphur stick in barrel with stopper applied

This should take care of the barrel for one year. There is a
possibility that the staves will warp using this method, so be careful.
You should also refill with storage solution several weeks before

A new barrel should be filled with water for a week or so before
filling with wine as a new barrel will often leak. For leaks there are
three things to do:

A) wait a few days. Swelling will stop a lot of leaks.
B) if it still leaks between staves, pound the hoops towards the middle
of the barrel to tighten the pressure.
C) if your leak is from a defect in the wood such as a small hole,
whittle a small plug out of a piece of oak and jam it into the hole.

Bleach and other cleaners not specifically labelled for wood barrel
cleaning shouldn't be used to clean your barrel as it could remain in
the wood and affect the wine you put in it. If the barrel is dirty,
then scrub it with water. One trick is to drop a length of chain inside
and shake the barrel around.

Don't reuse a barrel in which wine has turned to vinegar; it's
impossible to get rid of the vinegar bacteria from the wood. Use the
barrel as a planter in your yard.

It's generally not a good idea to mix wine types in a barrel, or white
and red wine. You'll taste the previous wine in the subsequent wine.

Barrels need regular topping off with wine to keep them full. Since a
barrel is porous, wine evaporates through the wood. Once a week for
topping off works fine; some wineries top off twice a week. Keeping the
humidity up in your winery cuts evaporative loss. Losing half a litre a
month is normal.

The stave with the hole in it ("bung stave") often cracks just at the
hole as this is the weakest part of the barrel. Either replace the
stave or seal the crack with melted wax.

Wipe the area around the bung hole often with a sulphite solution. This
is the area that gets seepage and spills, and the sulphite keeps this
area from being a source of spoilage.

Five gallon barrels are discouraged because of the high surface to
volume ratio. The wine can get too oaky relatively quickly. When using
a five gallon barrel, keep the wine in for a shorter period of time,
then blend it with wine from the same vintage that was not in the
barrel; the key is to not let it sit too long.

Toasting Level in Barrels

The level of toasting appropriate to a wine would be based on what kind
of oak taste you want to impart on your wine. Most reds can take higher
toast levels than whites. If you plan on using the barrel for whites, a
light toast level is appropriate for lighter, earlier maturing whites
and maybe medium toast for any fuller body whites to which you wish to
impart a bolder toasted taste. If you have a lighter bodied or
flavoured red wine, you should go with a lighter toast level to avoid
the toasting overwhelming the other flavours of the wine. The majority
of reds would fall into the medium toast range. Heavily toasted barrels
are rare. It is suggested that you speak with someone from your barrel
supplier who knows about different toast levels and can steer you in
the right direction.

The following information is about different kinds of French oak. It is
taken from a Practical Winery article from May 1987.

What kind of French oak to use depends on what kinds of oak flavours
you wish to impart, what level of charring is needed and, especially
which cooper to use. American oak manufacturers are notorious for
overly charring their barrels. They are used to the very heavy charring
requirements for whiskey, not the subtle needs for wine.)

This latter point was brought out at a class I atttended several years
ago at UC Davis on red wine production. Jill Davis (winemaker at Buena
Vista) brought 8 barrel samples. Each sample (cabernet sauvignon) was
the same vintage and vineyard and same kind of French oak and charring
levels. But each was from a different cooper. The differences were
astounding. (Since then I have only used Nevers from Sequin Moreau).

So please use the following as a guide only, not as dogma. And watch
those charring levels!

(open grain)
Perfumes and colours the wine rapidly with little finesse. It is
aggressive and harsh with a sharp finish in the nose and on the palate.

Very Heavy Charring
Cognac, Brandy, Port, Sherry

Medium to slight heavy charring
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Carignane, Syrah

Medium light charring
Sauvignon Blanc

(average grain)
Gives a vanilla flavor and balance to the wine. It is round on the nose
and on the palate and has a short finish.

Medium to medium heavy charring
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Carignane, Syrah, Pinot
Noir, Gamay

Medium light charring
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

(average grain)
Gives a vanilla flavor and balance to the wine. It is round on the nose
and on the palate and has a short finish.

Medium to medium heavy charring
Pinot Noir, gamay

Medium light charring
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

(Tight grain)
Releases its perfume slowly with finesse. It has a long finish in the
nose and one the palate and is more aggressive than Vosges.

Medium to medium heavy charring
Pinot Noir

Medium to medium light
Chardonnay, Pinot Gris

(Tight grain)
Releases its perfume slowly with finesse. It has a long finish in the
nose and one the palate and is more aggressive than Vosges.

Medium to medium heavy charring
Pinot Noir, gamay

Medium to medium light charring
Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc

(Tight grain)
releases its perfumes slowly with finesse. It has a long and very
delicate finish on the nose and on the palate.

Medium to medium light charring
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc


Yeast tends to beat out most competitors because of its ability to live
in an alcoholic solution, while bacteria and fungi tend to die even at
low alcoholic percentages (though some can live almost as well.) It
also survives well because of its rapid reproduction rate compared to
other microorganisms.

However small infections can occur and spoil the odour and flavour of
wine. You're unlikely to get sick from these infections, since anything
bad will almost always SMELL bad too, and taste worse. To avoid this,
keep everything that comes in contact with your wine very clean. This
is especially critical when cleaning the fermenting vessel. You don't
need to sterilize, as it is impossible to keep things sterile. A
solution of bleach water (one capful per gallon) will kill almost
anything. You'll need to rinse off all the bleach since yeast have
trouble living in the presence of chlorine and even the tiniest amount
can produce awful flavours and odours when it reacts with other things
in your must.

If a fermentor has just been in use and you're rinsing it out to put
more wine in immediately, scalding hot water out of the tap will do
nicely, no need to use bleach. You SHOULD bleach if this last batch had
vinegar in it.

A sulphite sanitizing solution is 1 tablespoon of sulphite crystals per
gallon of water.


Prepare the yeast. You can either start from a package of yeast or the
leftover yeast from a previous batch. If you're using a package of
yeast, it can just be sprinkled on the must, but it works better if you
rehydrate it in a covered, sanitized glass of water. You can also
encourage it by adding a spoon of sugar or by substituting some fruit
juice for water, but this is not necessary. Re-hydrating only takes
about 15 minutes.

Prepare your must. Crush your fruit and, where appropriate, add water,
sugar and other ingredients. An easy way of preparing non-grape fruit
is to put them through a food processor or blender.

Must sanitation.

There are many methods of must sanitation:

A) boil your must -- helps kill infections and blend ingredients, but
can change the character of whatever you're preparing and caramelize
some sugars, producing less desirable results, sweet wine, loss of
aroma, or both.
B) pasteurize your must (heat to 70C for a couple of minutes)
C) 2 campden tablets per gallon
D) freeze you fruit, which helps extract juice and flavours better, and
is usually done in conjunction with a dose of sulphite)
E) don't sanitize at all, but rather allow the wild yeasts to ferment
the must
D) pour boiling water over pieces of fruit to get wild yeast and
bacteria off the surfaces and makes the fruit easier to crush and
extract juices

Most fruit juices, especially apple and grape, will ferment out to 7%
or 8%, possibly up to 11%. Adding sugar or honey will make a more
potent wine or cider.

Mix juices, tannins, acids and nutrients in fermenting vessel.

Add the yeast, and let it ferment the must. This can take anywhere from
2-3 weeks for a kit to several months with some fruit.

Clear the wine. Some people rack the wine from one vessel to another
every three months after fermentation is complete until clear; others
use a fining agent such as bentonite, gelatin or isinglas. Most people
fine and filter their wine before bottling to give the wine a final

Aging. Quality improves a lot with age. It is usually best to wait at
least a month on anything, and the longer you wait, the better it will
be. Most references say wait at least six months or a year but many
wines can be drinkable earlier. Keep the bottles in a cool place out of
direct sunlight. Wines age better if not jarred or disturbed. Kit wines
tend to be best at a year.

To determine the optimum aging time required for a wine, make a lot of
small bottles and open one up every three to six months or so and taste


{As I understand it, bentonite is a clearing agent. However, in the
instructions for my kit it says to add the bentonite at the same time
as the yeast. Why?}

It helps clear off millions of dead yeast cells during the primary
fermentation; doing so optimizes the actual clearing process by taking
care of a lot of it before you even try. It also helps avoid foul
smells from decomposing yeast -- a potential problem when your wine is
in the carboy for several weeks or even months -- when you transfer the
wine into the secondary.

In about 5 gallons, about 25 to 50 grams of bentonite is used.
Bentonite should be easily available from your brewing supply shop.


{How is egg white clearing accomplished?}

The egg whites are raw. Add about 2 whites per barrel, with a pinch of
salt; mix the whole thing to get the salt mixed in -- the salt helps
solubilize some proteins in the whites that aren't water soluble. Don't
whip the whites, though, or it'll just float on the top like a meringue
and require counterfining. Salmonella is a good question, although it
likely can't stand the environment of wine for too long (ethanol and
low pH).

If you're doing very small batches, you don't need to add much at all.
This method should only be used for red wines.


If you wish to increase your alcohol content, such as for ports,
sherries and the like, try syrup feeding and using champagne yeast.
Prepare your must like a regular wine (but keep your initial sg below
1.095) and ferment using a high alcohol tolerant yeast. Rack to
secondary as usual at 1.010. When the sg is at 1.000, bring it up to
1.010 with a 2 to 1 sugar to water syrup. This can be done several
times, but production will usually stop at roughly 18%. Don't worry
about excess sweetness if you're careful as higher alcohol levels tend
to mask sweetness and sweetness tends to smooth out the rough taste
from higher alcohol levels; as well, in order to get the same apparent
sweetness as a wine with a given lower alcohol level, you need more
residual sugar. If you put in too much sugar, A) learn to live with a
slightly sweet wine and B) experiment to see what works best for you in
the future.

Most port is made by stopping the fermentation by adding of high alcohol
brandy. Start your wine in typical fashion (add yeast or spontaneous),
watch your residual sugar closely and add brandy when RS is at desired
level (usually 8 to 10 brix). Add brandy to 19%. Pure brandy is
difficult to obtain for the home winemaker, and some fine ports made
with grain alcohol, while some would disagree.

If brandy is added while skin fermenting, add brandy to 17% (enough to
kill the yeast), press your must, then correct to 19%.

According to "The Lore of Still Building" by Kathleen Howard and Norman
Gibat, you can concentrate the alcohol (and everything in the wine as
well) by putting the wine in a freezer until it turns mushy. It can
then be poured or ladled into a large strainer cloth and squeezed dry.
The liquid squeezed out will be higher in alcololic content than the
residue in the strainer cloth. This method should yield a fortified
wine (20% to 30% alcohol) from ordinary wines. Unfortunately, the book
does not give a good indication of freezer temperature or how long the
wine should be frozen.

Please note that this is effectively the same as distillation and can
be quite dangerous with regards to methanol concentration.

The Pearson Square

Spirit is expensive so you will need to calculate the correct amount to
achieve the desired result.

The Pearson Square is useful if you are using your own wine, plus some
Polish Spirit and some of the excellent flavorings now available on the
market to make liqueurs.


A          B


D          E

A = alcohol content of spirit to be added.
B = present alcohol content of wine.
C = desired alcohol content.
D = difference between B and C.
E = difference between C and A.

The proportion D to E is the proportion spirit to wine to achieve the
desired strength.

If you are blending two wines of known strength and wish to know the
final strength, the formula is:

(A x B) + (C x D)
      A + C

A = No. of parts of 1st wine.
B = Strength of 1st wine.
C = No. of parts of 2nd wine.
D = Strength of 2nd wine.

Thus, if you blend two parts of a wine of 15% with three parts of a
wine of 10% the result will be:

(2 x 15) + (3 x 10)   60
------------------- = -- = 12
       2 + 3           5

or a wine of 12%.


Traditional method:

For 20 litres:

Wine should be fermented to 10% alcohol. When still and clear, but
without any sorbate or further sulphite added, add 1 cup sugar and
champagne yeast to the wine. Bottle the wine in champagne bottles with
crown caps or corks wired down to the bottle neck. Let bottle rest on
its side for one month.

When disgorging and corking, 12oz (360ml) of this wine is to be added
to 8oz (240 ml) of vodka or brandy (preffered) and 12oz (360ml), wine
conditioner and 1/2 tsp sulphite crystals. This is the "dosage".

Over a period of six weeks after the initial one month period,
gradually shift the bottle angle from near horizontal to near vertical
(neck down) using a riddler (see definitions). Then chill the wine to
about -1C (30F) without disturbing the sediment (this can be done in a
large bucket of ice or outside in the winter.) Then place several
alternating layers of crushed ice and salt in a bucket and place the
necks down in the ice. When the sediment has frozen, carefully point
the bottle in a safe direction (such as into a bucket) and uncork. The
sediment should come out cleanly.

To achieve a good riddling rack you need $20 of lumber and hardware for
2X4 hinges and a 3" bell saw for your drill. You will find the plans
for a 200 bottle riddling rack designed for amateur champagne makers in
the magazine Wine East of November-December 1983 issue. If you call
Hudson Cattell the editor at (717) 393 0943.

After the wine is disgorged, the "dosage" is added to the sparkling
wine. The wine is recorked.

Compared to artificial carbonation, there is no need to sterilize your
wine (less chemicals in your product), it takes two minutes to add the
1.5 cup sugar, and the bubbles in your wine will be finer, longer
lasting, and will thread like champagne. The loss of the small amount
of wine is minimal and if you keep the yeast, in the bottle it is good
for you.

Articicial carbonation:

WARNING: This method can be dangerous. IF YOU AREN'T SURE, ASK YOUR

Artificial carbonation avoids the nuisance of sediment. The drawback is
that it is expensive and involved.

A) rent the carbonation equipment from your supplier store.
B) chill your wine to -1C (30F).
C) charge the tank with CO2, shake, charge, shake, charge, shake.
D) each bottle has to be filled under pressure.

Estimates for 23L are in the 2-3 hour range not including chilling
time, extra trips to the store, cleaning time, and so forth.

Some have tried to carbonate with food grade dry ice, using about 10g
per bottle then corking.

Through MLF:

If you intentionally allow MLF to occur in the bottle, you can
carbonate your wine slightly. You will have a sediment in the wine, so
if you wish to get rid of it, after carbonation is complete, proceed as
though you used the champagning method. You should also take all
apropriate precautions due to carbonating your wine.


Use bottles that are designed to be under pressure (such as soda
bottles or champagne bottles) and that the cork is secured to the
bottle with a wire. Alternatively you can use large beer bottles or
other bottles that can use crown caps.


Icewine is basically a very sweet desert wine where the grape juice has
been naturally concentrated by partially freezing the grapes and
pressing, so that the ice will remain with the skins and stems etc.,
resulting in a very concentrated juice.

Home winemakers can produce wonderful icewine style of wines using
concentrates. The only difference is that the juice was concentrated in
a factory as opposed to freezing on the vine.

Several suggestions follow:

In western Canada the Brew Crew and its affiliated stores carry an
icewine kit which is made by R.J. Grape products. One kit makes 11.5
litres, and it costs approximately $70 Can.

Alternatively you can use a regular kit and only bring it up to 11.5
litres instead of 23, or use two kits and bring up to 23 litres or
combine a 15 litre juice kit and a 3kg to 5kg concentrate kit instead
of water to bring the batch to 23 litres.

This method allows you to be very creative. For example you can start
with a riesling as a base, and add a gewurtztraminer concentrate or
several different concentrates, even a small amount of red wine
concentrate. It is possible to create a truly unique and complex
icewine type desert wine using this blending method. Note: you can also
use this method in regular winemaking as well.

Another suggestion is to use a readily available super concentrated
form of grapes: RAISINS. Take 1 pound of raisins, and 1 pound of
seedless dates, put them in the blender with some juice, blend it until
it's a puree and add it to the primary. After fermentation is complete
and the wine is stabilized, add 1/2 pound of raisins and the same
amount of dates, prepared in the blender (at this point extraction of
the sugar and flavour is the goal). Use additional concentrate to raise
the specific gravity to 1.050, and proceed as usual.

In order to make it the traditional way, the grapes must be left on the
vine late in the season until they are partly frozen, usually when the
temperature has reached -7C (19F) for six weeks, and then quickly
harvested and pressed to get only the concentrated juice in the centre
of the grape, while avoiding allowing the ice crystals to melt and/or
directly join the must. Alternatively, you can partially freeze your
grapes in your freezer. Ferment the juice as you would a regular wine.

To use the non-traditional method, adjust the sg by adding honey and
concentrate (usually 3 parts concentrate to 1 part honey) to the
desired alcohol yield. Ferment until dry. Stabilize the wine and
filter. After stabilization, add concentrate & honey to raise the sg to
about 1.050 (THIS IS NOT A TYPO). At this point proceed with normal
winemaking techniques (fining, cold conditioning, and it MUST be

It is important to control the acid levels, especially when using the
concentrate feeding method, as concentrates are already acid balanced
for 23 litres.


Red wine fermentation: the trick with red wine grapes is to hit a peak
temperature near 32C (90F) for at least a short time to optimize colour

Pros naturally achieve temperature -- the large fermentors they use
don't allow the heat of fermentation to escape easily. Some must even
prevent overheating! With our small tubs, we amateurs must use
trickery. The best heating system is a "brewbelt" which should be
available from a local brewing supply store. A simple trick is to wrap
an electric  blanket around the fermentor. A submersible thermometer
will tell you when you've got the right thermostat setting. Other heat
sources are aquarium heaters, space heaters, and waterbed heaters.

A good fermentation regimen is to hold the must at 4C (40F) for 5 days,
innoculate and warm to 32C (90F) for a day, then drop the temperature
down into the 15C to 26C (60F to 80F) range for a long fermentation,
pressing a couple days after cap fall.

Cold fermentation: Some white wines benefit from a cooler fermentation,
producing a clean, fruity wine.

Again, cooler fermentations can be difficult. An old fridge run warm
(about 10C (50F)) is perfect for a carboy at a time. Icebags suspended
in must or placed in a tub in which a fermentation vessel sits can be
effective. You can place carboys in tubs of water on the basement floor
if it's cool. The water draws heat from the carboy to the floor. A good
target temperature for white wines is 10C to 13C (50F to 55F).

Barrel fermentation: It's not hard once you get past the expense of the
barrel. Press the grapes in the usual fashion, settle the juice
overnight. Rack the juice into the barrel (previously swelled to
prevent leaks) to about 80% full. Inoculate with yeast, put an airlock
in the bunghole and wait. After about 2 to 3 weeks, when vigorous
action has slowed, top the barrel off and keep it topped. Leave it in
the barrel for anywhere from 3 weeks to a year, depending on many
factors (age of oak, desired amount of oak flavour, etc.)

Malolactic fermentation: MLF, as it is abbreviated, is a bacterial
fermentation where sharp malic acid in wine is converted by bacteria to
mellower lactic acid. MLF is usually good, especially for high acid
Chardonnays. Pinot Noir, which has a high natural malic acid content,
almost always undergoes MLF and benefits from it. The MLF bacteria
sometimes can be present on either the grapeskins or your facility and
equipment and is available for purchase at most wine supply shops.

If you want MLF to happen, keep sulphite down. MLF is sensitive to
sulphite, low pH's (especially below 3.0), and cool temperatures (below
15C (60F)). If your pH is very low, the wine can be partly neutralized
to raise the pH. Be careful at this point as adding too much chalk can
add a chalky taste to the wine. See section G21. ACID BALANCE. So,
inoculate early -- many do it soon after yeast fermentation has started
(the must is warm and has little sulphite). Doing it early also avoids
the culture being killed off by high alcohol levels during
innoculation. Don't fine the wine until after the MLF is finished as ML
bacteria like the solids, and add a nutrient good for MLF. MLF survives
very well in barrels, so if you are putting your Pinot in a barrel that
has held a wine that has undergone MLF, it will take off on its own.
This has historically been a common occurence in the spring following

The lees in the barrel or carboy harbour the bacteria, so leaving wine
on the lees until late spring can encourage MLF. Some wines, like
Riesling, don't like MLF. A moderate sulphite dose almost always
provides adequate protection against it and other bacterial

You can tell that MLF is happening in 3 ways. One is to use
chromatography to measure relative malic and lactic acid levels.
Another is to notice the onset of renewed CO2 action (bubbles) well
after the yeast fermentation is done. Another is to taste the change in
the wine from sharp to more mellow and buttery.

Lee Stirring

When this is done this in a winery, it's usually in conjunction with
barrel fermentation. Hence, the primary lees are the ones that are
stirred. Having said this, it should be pointed out that the juice has
been racked once before inoculation so the solids are in the lees than
2% range in the juice at inoculation.

Stirring frequency is up to the winemaker but even no stirring will
result in what is described as a greater mouthfeel. This can lead to a
sense of richness, softness and definitely better integration of oak,
malolactic character and fruit. Many wineries start off stirring weekly
(originally the stirring was done to encourage malolactic fermentation)
and then gradually tapering to once every two weeks to once a month
with usually the end being at 6-9 months depending on taste. And that's
the most important indicator. Sometimes, there can be a sulphide
problem, so you have to taste the wine throughout the process. If you
push the wine through MLF you shouldn't have a bacterial problem. Also,
once MLF is complete you should add some sulphite to avoid bacterial


Why is a low pH (3.0 to 3.5) important to winemaking? For three reasons:

1. Chemical Stability: Wines become unstable at pHs above 3.50. One
result of this chemical instability is a severe effect on the wine's

2. Biological Stability: Very few organisms (especially spoilage
organisms) can survive in an acidic environment (pH 2.90 - 3.50).
Because of this, fresh grapes or juices with pHs above 3.50 should be

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Sulphite Additions: The amount of sulphite which
should be added to a must to achieve an aeseptic environment is directly
based on the pH of the must. Aeseptic levels are achieved with SO2
concentrations of .6 ppm in red musts & .8 ppm in white musts. To
achieve these concentrations, varying amounts of free sulphite need to
be added to the musts based on their pH.

Finished wines usually should have the following acid levels (expressed
as tartaric acid):

Fruit wines       0.60%  6.0g/L  6000ppm
Red grape wines   0.65%  6.5g/L  6500ppm
White grape wines 0.75%  7.5g/L  7500ppm
Sherry types      0.50%  5.0g/L  5000ppm

Common fruits will have the following acid levels:

Apple:        1.0%- 6.5%
Apricot:      6.0%-15.0%
Black Cherry: 3.5%- 7.0%
Elderberry:   6.0%-15.0%
Orange:       0.0%-35.0%
Peach:        3.0%-10.0%
Pear:         1.0%- 3.5%

1 ounce of acid blend will raise 5 imp. gal. by 0.13%. 1/4 ounce
calcium carbonate chalk or 1/3 ounce potassium carbonate chalk per
gallon will lower acid by 0.15%. Maximum recommended chalk is 0.5 ounce
calcium chalk per gallon to avoid a faint chalky taste. Potassium
bicarbonate produces better results with less taste then calcium
carbonate, and will work better with cold stabilization.

If your wine is really high in acid (VERY low pH), add some water or
mix with a wine with a VERY high pH. Alternately, add a 0.5%
sugar solution to your carboy about 1-2 days AFTER you have added
potassium sorbate to "stop" the fermentation. (0.5% = about 1 cup of
sugar/5 gal. of wine).

Here is an conversion table with tartaric to sulphuric equivalent:

ACID LEVEL (most useful range)

Tartaric Sulphuric
 (g/L)    (%)
  7.7     0.5
 15.3     1.0
 22.9     1.5
 30.6     2.0
 38.3     2.5
 45.9     3.0
 53.6     3.5
 61.2     4.0
 68.9     4.5
 76.5     5.0
 84.2     5.5
 91.9     6.0
 99.6     6.5
100.7     7.0

{How do I relate grams per litre of acid to pH.}

That is because it doesn't relate. The two are completely different. 
When measuring pH you are looking at how well the acid disassociates in
solution, but grams/liter is a measure of how much acid is actually
present. There is no way to compare the two.

In theory curves could be built to compare g/L to pH, however the
relationship changes from grape to grape, year to year, fruit to fruit
and of course the particular blend of acids that are in the wine. This
constant changing and unpredictability makes it impossible to relate pH
to g/L acid.


Tartaric acid crystals may fall out of solution to form a white,
crystalline sediment after a while, particularly if your wine gets
chilled. They're harmless and do not add any taste to the wine. To
avoid the problem, chillproof your wine for a couple of weeks in the
carboy in a cool to cold place -- an old fridge or a cold cold room is
appropriate. Desired temperature is 4C (36F). Rack off before allowing
the wine to warm up as the crystals may dissolve back into the wine.


All wines do contain sulphur compounds, and almost invariably sulphur
dioxide, a commonly added preservative. Yeast produce sulphur compounds
as a byproduct of metabolism. The level they produce is usually enough
to require the "contains sulphites" addition to labels. Yeast typically
produce around 10 ppm (10mg/L) but may produce more. It is thought not
to be harmful unless one is very allergic to sulphur compounds. There
are varying degrees of sulphite sensitivity, ranging from sinus
inflammation to, in extreme cases, respiratory failure. Many
winemakers, both commercially and at home, are trying to reduce
sulphite levels.

Sulphite is often added to the wine as a microbiological and oxidative
inhibitor in wines, the amount wildly ranging depending on the
producer. Often the value may as well be related to the colour of the
eyes or the height of the chief winemaker. :)

Ways to avoid using sulphite are to increase the amount of vitamin C
(ascorbic acid), the alcohol content of your wine, tannin levels, and
lowering the pH.


Neither SO2 nor sorbate kills yeasts; they inhibit them, and can
prevent microbial activity, but only if cell counts are low. If you
have a mounting problem, they won't do a good job in controlling it.
The amount of sulphite needed depends on the pH of the wine -- the
lower the pH the less you need (at pH 3.2, you need 21ppm (21mg/L) free
SO2; at pH 3.5, you need 50ppm (50mg/L) free SO2.) This has to do with
A) the fact that the active form that inhibits bacteria forms better at
lower pH's and B) the lower the pH, the better the acidity in the wine
is in itself able to protect the wine. The following is the pH
dependant equilibrium. The forms depicted in the left are favoured by
higher pH's; the right by lower pH's.

SO2 + H2O <---> HSO3- + H+ <---> SO3-- + H+

1 ppm = 1 mg/L, therefore for 5 imperial gallons of wine with a pH of
3.2, you need:

5gal*4.5L/gal = 22.5L

21mg/L*22.5L = 472.5mg

Since this is free SO2, we need a conversion for potassium and sodium
metabisulphate, (K2S205 and Na2S205 respectively) which are 1.74 and
1.48 respectively. So we need 0.8g or 1.7g of each respectively -- a
little under an eigth of a teaspoon. Through the same process you need
a quarter teaspoon for 5 gallons of wine with pH 3.5. A campden tablet
has a mass of either 0.44 or 0.55 gram (depending on where you get your
tablets), or about 1/15th or 1/12th of a teaspoon respectively.

It's always important to remember that both of these products work
better with low pH's, so a non-standard wine (i.e. fruit wine) may
require really large amounts due to high pH.

There is unfortunately no handy way to actually kill all the yeast in
your wine at home.

As a general guide, here is how much sulphite is needed as per the pH of
your wine:

the following free sulphite levels are needed:

 pH   Red     White
2.90    7ppm  11ppm
3.00    8     13
3.20   13     21
3.40   20     32
3.60   31     50
3.70   39     63


Topping up your wine is the process of making your carboy as full of
wine as possible to make sure that there is as small a contact with air
as possible, therefore minimizing oxidation risks.

Some suggestions follow:

A) Make more than five gallons, particularly if you're using fresh
fruit; when racking, squeeze the pulp to get the liquid out to maximize
wine volume to begin with. Keep the extra must in the fridge until
B) Add water. This can change the sweetness and acidity of your wine.
C) Add a honey/water mixture.
D) Top off with some commercial wine of the same type as you're making.
This will keep the taste from being watered down.
E) Use an inert gas such as CO2. This can be gotten from a supplier, or
if you have access to it, use food grade dry ice. Some suppliers also
have cans of inert gas used to top up bottles of wine. CO2 can be made
by mixing baking soda and vinegar -- but -- only pour off the CO2 gas
on top, don't actually pour in the liquid!
F) Add clean and sanitized marbles or aquarium gravel to reduce the
amount of room in the carboy so the wine is closer to the neck.

When you do rack and you introduce something to your wine to top it up,
add some sulphite. Sulphite also helps reduce oxidation and will help
inhibit any bacteria introduced when racking.


There are varying opinions on the exact effect of bulk aging on wine;
some wines benefit more than others. It is generally agreed that it is
a good thing.

Some references will say that a wine ages faster in bulk while others
in the bottle. Bottom line is that wines will age differently in the
bottle than in the carboy, and each adds a different aspect.

Bulk aging is not recommended in plastic carboys beyond three to five
months as the plastic is sufficiently porous to allow oxidation.

Using oak barrels is covered above.


{I heard that home-made wine starts going bad after two years. Is that
true it sounds strange? I was planning to age some is there something
special I should be doing?}

What you're asking -- assuming that the question doesn't come from what
are now misconceptions formed up to the late 1960's when "wine death"
may have been somewhat more common due to kits and grapes sent to
market for use by us "commoners" that were of lesser quality than those
available today -- has to do with things like:

A) Sanitation throughout the winemaking process
B) Whether there are enough preservatives (sulphite, sorbate, ascorbic
acid -- vitamin C)
C) Whether there is enough tannin in the wine
D) Whether the pH is low enough
E) Whether the wine is the "type" that won't mature too soon and become
flat and bored too soon.

A) Sanitation is really important. An infection anywhere from before
innoculation of the yeast to after the wine is corked and everywhere
and every way in between can either cause spoilage or change things
that can be detrimental to the wine.
B) Sufficient amounts of sulphite and sorbate can prevent infections
and growth. The longer you plan on keeping the wine, the higher these
sort of need to be, as things like sulphite can deteriorate with time.
Sulphite and ascorbic acid also help avoid oxidation spoilage.
C) Tannin has some antimicrobial effects as well as other preservative
effects, but levels will decline slightly over the years.
D) A low pH will also help avoid spoilage in and of itself, as well as
increase the other preservatives' -- assuming you use any -- abilities
to keep the wine.
E) Usually if the other things exist plentifully, this isn't as much of
a worry, but it can be. Usually the fruit flavours and other compounds
have to be very concentrated in order for the wine to be worth keeping
beyond 10 years.

A good homemade wine can last about as long as commercial wines.

The main thing you may want to consider is that whether it's made from
fruit (note that in this use, fresh grapes as well as other fresh
fruits as opposed to concentrates are meant), and made from fruit that
would make it appropriate to last a long time. Wines intended to be
kept for a really long time shouldn't be made from a kit.

Most kits will last a long time, but usually peak at a year to a year
and a half.

I (the editor) once made a fruit wine whose last bottle I opened at age
4 1/2 years. I strongly believe that it would have easily lasted --
nay, peaked (and lasted longer) -- at least till 6 or 7. Probably until
8 or 9 or longer. Other people in this group have made wines that no
doubt have lasted way longer.

Wine from concentrate tends to be light and contain little tannin, so
it is usually best drunk within a few years. Although good concentrate-
made 5-year-old red wine can be made, it had begun to fade. The short
life exceptions are Sherry and (to some extent) Chardonnay. Sherry is
deliberately oxidized and keeps for quite awhile. American style
Chardonnay has components from the decomposing lees and malolactic
bacteria which tend to allow a longer life than other dry white wines,
but most Chardonnay reaches its peak in a few years anyhow and may
begin to fade in 5 years.

Red wine from fresh grapes can be very long-lived if it is made to
last. Just remember that many styles of red wine and most styles of
white wine, commercial or home-made, are intended to be drunk fresh or
within a few years.


The first thing to remember is that wine-tasting (and therefore when a
wine is "ready") is a subjective exercise and your favourite wine is
someone else's least favourite some of the time. Everyone has a
different palate. Some like oak, some acid, some fragrance, some body.

Kit wines tend to peak at 1 year. Check that the acid balance and
tannin level are high if you want it to last longer. Many other fruit
wines peak at 3 to 5 years. Most fine wines that take time will still
usually peak long before 25 years unless tannins, acids and fruit
flavours are unusually concentrated. Red wines as a group will last much
longer than whites, of course with exceptions on either side.

Two of the easiest ways of assessing a wine's maturity are tasting the
wine at intervals and holding a bottle up to the light to assess the
wine's colour. Reds will shift from deeper reds and even purples to
orange and brick; whites will shift from straw colours to darker golds.
Acidity and astringency (the latter from tannins) will gradually
diminish with age, while fruitiness will typically diminish and give
way to more subtle and developed aromas with age, so look for
smoothness and complexity. But watch out! After a certain time, the
wine can actually get tired and move past its peak. Watch out for wines
that have a tired, thin, flabby taste. A practical way to taste over
time is to make a lot of small bottles.

You should also be careful: In the reductive environment of the bottle,
many wines develop hydrogen sulfide smells, and if it smells bad
initially, swirl the wine around in a glass. Decanting can help, but
it's tricky because you can overdo it with a delicately-balanced wine.

You should also be inspecting the corks for A) leakage B) rot, and C)
dryness. Outside development of mould is not bad, but escape of some
wine through the cork is bad.

Also, when examining the bottles in the light, check for clarity --
haziness can indicate A) protein haze B) metals casse (haze) C)
microbiological activity, or D) pectin haze. The worst of these is
microbiological activity. You should also check the ullage (fill level)
-- if that has decreased, it could indicate excessive evaporation or
leakage, which could oxidatively deteriorate the wine or indicate the
possibility of microbial infection.

Now for some tips on wine tasting, which might help you determine what
you like, and therefore impact how you make and age your wine. Deciding
what was liked about his wines was what caused the editor (and no doubt
others) to determine how he went about making his wines.

Don't mix sweet wines with dry wines unless you drink the sweet wines

Taste the wines twice or even three times and rescore them. They change
flavour on exposure to air or if they warm up.

Drink white wines cool; let red wines air out.

Find out what styles you personally like and what your friends like and

See if you can find wines that everyone likes. These are the hardest to
make and usually the best buys.

Try to agree on the cause of wines' mousy smell (bad filtration, mould
or bad corks), oxidation etc. The main thing is to not be too serious
and not to talk too much while you're tasting e.g. "Oh ... this is just
great!" Save comments till later and don't force your tastebuds on your

Have lots of chlorine free water and bits of bread or unsalted crackers
to clean your mouth between wines.

Put the bottles in brown bags until everyone has tasted. This is a lot
of fun and removes a lot of personal bias related to the label, which
has nothing to do with tasting (don't confuse this with the fact that
the label actually does contain valuable information.)


{Could someone tell me the principle of how a vinometer works?}

Water's structure causes it to have a very high surface tension and
exhibit marked capillary action. In other words if you stick a narrow
tube in the water the water is pulled up the column.

The more alcohol present the more the capillary action is affected thus
the height of the column changes. Add graduations based on standard
solutions of water and alcohol and you have a reasonably accurate
method of determining the concentration of a water alcohol solution.

Problem is that wine has lots of other things that can affect capillary
action and surface tension. The most prominent of these are residual
sugars. That's why the instructions that come with the device probably
say to only use it on dry wines (wines with minimal residual sugar).


To calculate Alcohol by Volume: Subtract the last reading from the
initial gravity and divide the result by 0.0074. This gives the
approximate alcohol content in %.

S.G. = 1.070 F.G. = 0.995
1.070 - 0.995 = 0.075
0.075 / 0.0074 = 10.15%

It does not matter what the first or last reading is, both mean little
alone. The difference between the two does!

Usually there is also an alcohol scale marked directly on a hydrometer;
subtract initial potential alcohol reading from final, and the
difference is the approximate alcohol content.

Using the Brix scale, 1 degree Bx = 1 g/100 ml, or 10 g/liter. When you
read a Bx of say 22, divide the 22 by 2 to get 11, and add 1, for a
final alcohol of 12%. It is an extremely good rule of thumb.

Another method is the boiling method:

- take 250 ml of wine
- measure specific weight and temperature
- boil the wine down to 125 ml
- bring up to 250 ml using boiled water
- cool to the same temperature as above
- measure specific weight
- the difference between the two is related to the alcohol level; use
the following table:

diff. alcohol
 s/w volume %
  8  5,63
  9  6,40
 10  7,18
 11  7.98
 12  8,80
 14  10,51
 16  12,30
 18  14,10
 20  16,00
 22  18,00

spec. weight is in gram/litre


Fist it is important to remember that the label A) only identifies the
wine and B) can be very important to the aesthetic (but NOT tasting)
experience of wine tasting and therefore should receive an appropriate
yet not undue amount of care and consideration.


Any paper will do -- printer paper, copy paper, whatever. Envelope
labels (such as Avery, etc.) are more difficult to take off.

Inkjet printouts may run if exposed to the slightest moisture; try


Typically, you should use a water soluble adhesive that is easy to
apply and allows for quick, easy removal of labels.

Milk: Use a small brush and lightly coat the back of the label, then
press it onto the bottle.

Stick glue (UHU or Pritt or the like).

Water/sugar/flour: The old kid-paste trick.

Diluted wallpaper paste.

Making the labels:

Varying software will make your labels. Projexis Inc. has a shareware
program that will make labels. Check the NET RESOURCES posting to get
the address, as well as other locations for software, clipart, and so

A good word processor that will support graphics will do the job (if
you want to insert graphics, of course.)

There are also a number of good graphics and presentation programs that
will do the job, and there are many good graphics/clip art libraries
available that will certainly contain something that you like.

Make four (or however many -- up to six if you want a decent sized
label) labels per 8 1/2 X 11 page.


Any glass bottle without defect that will hold a cork firmly in its
neck will do. However, bottles that used to contain wine are
recommended. Sources are home use, friends, relatives, restaurants and
recycling bins.

Use one style of bottle for your wine, or at least one style per batch
of wine. That way the "whole experience" is more visually appealling,
and it may help you when storing & handling the bottles (uniformity =

There is a multitude of methods and general procedures for preparing
bottles for bottling; basically, they involve washing the bottle and
sanitizing them. To wash, soak the bottles in soapy hot water (which
incidentally will remove most labels without any labour) for half an
hour, rinse the outside, rinse the interior with a jet-spary bottle
washer, sanitize with a sulphite solution, and bottle your wine.
Dishwashers with HOT water can replace the rinsing of the outside of
the bottle (but NOT the inside) and sanitizing with sulphite.

Using soap to wash and/or chlorine bleach to sterilize the bottles is
not a concern as long as you rinse the bottles thoroughly on the inside
to remove any residue.

Corks should not be reused. When preparing, soak the corks in just
boiled water with sulphite in it for at least half an hour before
bottling. This will soften the corks and the sulphite will avoid
contamination from the corks and their handling. Steaming also works.
Another method is to rinse corks in a sulphite solution, about 500 ppm,
then shake off the excess solution and place them in a bag for a week
before use. This allows the moisture to get absorbed into the corks
which softens them and makes it easier to insert.

Short corks are for short term storage, long corks are for long term
storage. Composite corks are for short term storage. The editor has had
more corked bottles from composite corks than whole ones.

Short corks are easier to pull, and often have fewer defects than
longer ones. End bevelling is only important for hammer corkers. The
narrower corks (and silicone lubricated ones) are easier for hand
corking, and the wide ones are more secure and allow slightly
carbonated wines to be made without too many corks popping. Pure corks
are a little easier to put in and take out, but they have a lot more
defects than composite corks.

Plastic corks appear to be mildly inadequate, although useable for
short term storage. Problems include difficulty in retraction and
leakage. Some people have found that they work well and that they are
less expensive.

{I just bottled last year's wine and I noticed a tea like colour
resulting from soaking the corks in a sulphite solution. If this
discolouration can come off in the sanitizing solution then it can come
off in the wine after corking. Does anybody know if this residue can
have a detrimental effect on the wine?}

The colouring caused by soaking the corks won't harm your wine. Corks
are made of the bast of the cork-oak, and good wine is layed in oak
vessel. The substance that causes this colouring is a tannic acid
which will improve your wine (can be stored for a longer period).

However, you have to remember when you are soaking them, the whole
surface area of the cork is exposed to the solution, while only the
bottom is exposed to the wine. You would have to have very sensitive
taste buds to notice a difference. This should not be confused with
poor quality corks that were not properly handled when made and lead to
"corked" wine, which is the result of a virus in the cork. To minimise
this treat the corks as above


Many styles of corkers exist and each can have advantages and

Hand corkers: "Hammer" style corkers are the type in which you put the
cork into a constricted neck and using a plunger and mallet, you force
the cork through. Usually this is the cheapest style and may have
wildly varying results. "Plunger" style corkers are better and use the
principle of a lever to compress the cork using wrist action. A plunger
operated by your free hand pushes the cork into the bottle. Very
reliable but only recommended if you're making little wine or need it
for small bottles.

Table corkers: The corker is attached to a table and compresses the
cork either similar in style to the "plunger" style or differently and
uses a lever to force the cork into the bottle.

Floor corkers: Identical to table corkers, but whose base is on the


Distillation is basically heating an alcoholic beverage to the boiling
point and cooling its steam, with the intention of concentrating the

Though at perfectly safe levels when you ferment your wine,
distillation will concentrate the methanol content in your beverage to
levels that may be dangerous.

Because of the potential dangers of not properly removing the minute
amounts of methanol present found in most fermented products, home
distillation is illegal in most Western countries, and likely most
others. There is a remote possibility that it may also invite the
government to your house for an unwelcome visit.



For the beginner:

Modern Winemaking by Jackisch

Grapes into Wine by Philip Wagner

"The Roots of Health" by Gypsy Petulegro

Better Winemaking Magazine, which is published by Ben Harrison at
Cybercom Marketing, 416 483 8660, fax 416 483 7937.

Getting Started in Winemaking, by Paul Jean. More information is
available by contacting Paul at jeanpaul& (&=@)

"Making Wine" -- a 45 minute video by Bacchus Productions. More
information is available through

For the more advanced:

Winemaking Basics by C.S. Ough. Don't let the title fool you, although
there are basics in there, some areas look like a chemistry course.

Wine Analysis and Production, Zoecklein et al., Chapman & Hall, and is
available through the magazine PWV (Practical Winery and Vineyard) for
$79.95 + shipping.

The Mid-Atlantic Winegrape Grower's Guide, Publication number AG-535
Publisher: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
North Carolina State University
Department of Agricultural Communications
Box 7603, North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7603
Price: $20 (includes tax and shipping)

For both:

Winemaking: Recipes, equipment, and techniques for making wine at
home. Stanley F. Anderson and Dorothy Anderson. A Harvest/HBJ
Original. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. San Diego, New York, London.

You Made This? A Guide to Making Wine No One Knows is Homemade.
Thomas Bachelder. Kylix Media Inc. Montreal, Canada. 1992.

GETTING STARTED WINEMAKING, Paul Jean Jr. Published by JE Underhill,
1993. Covers all aspects of winemaking from kits, introduces
winemaking from juice and grapes and gives recipes for wines from 48
non-grape fruits. Instructions on the use of a hydrometer, acid
testing (6 easy steps) calculating parts per million (ppm) and proper
use of sorbate to stabilize wines. Also are items on how to fix
problem wines. $5.00 by mail. Write to Paul Jean at jeanpaul&
(&=@) for further information.

First Steps in WineMaking by C.J.J. Berry ISBN 0-900841-83-4

WINES FROM A SMALL GARDEN, planting to bottling, James Page-Roberts,
Abbeville Press

FROM WINES TO VINES, The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes & Making your
own Wines, Jeff Cox, A Garden Way Publishing Book.

'The Pan Book of Wine and Beer Making' by Ben Turner ISBN 0 330 28245 X,

On cellars:

"How and Why To Build a Wine Cellar" by Richard M. Gold, Ph.D.

For Winery startup:

Practical Winery and Vineyard
15 Grande Paseo
San Rafael, CA 94903-1534
(415) 479-5819
Subcription is $30US/year for 6 issues (1995)


The first and best piece of advice is to try a bottle of that wine
yourself. What someone else likes may be what you dislike, and vice
versa. Their descriptions may prove hard for some people to recognize
in the glass in front of them, and irrelevant.

Next is to take the plunge and make that kind of wine yourself. In the
process, refer to section G27. HOW TO KNOW WHEN A WINE IS READY TO

There is also an FAQ on the topic of wine itself, which may be useful
in determining the answer to your question, which is available at:

You can also ask Peter Granoff of Virtual Vineyards, "The Cork Dork",
who's a sommelier. His address is pgranoff& (&=@), and
his page is at:

Such questions are not unwelcome in the group; you may get an answer
that you want, or you may get answers along the lines of the above.


When making wine that calls for water, care should be taken not to use
any kind of water from any source.

One rule that is generally agreed upon is that chlorinated water,
particularly during the summer when levels are usually higher, is not
good for winemaking. While it will work, the chlorine in the water may
react with the ingredients and produce a slight off flavour. It is
also bad for yeast and therefore could slow down the yeast's ability to
ignite in the wine.

Generally you can use either distilled (or reverse osmosis) water or
spring water. Distilled and reverse osmosis water are ultra-pure waters
that have next to no dissolved solids and therefore no tastes. All
tastes will therefore develop from your fruit and/or concentrates and
fermentation. Spring water may add a slight taste to your wine, though
usually not a significant taste.

The editor frequently uses water from various surface and artesian
wells with great success. Generally they should be regularly tested to
be free from infections and should be low in dissolved solids. Artesian
wells are usually sterile, but may be high or low in dissolved solids
depending on the well. Care should be taken that the water be suitable
as it may contain, depending on your area, agricultural wastes or
fertilizers or pesticide that may be detrimental to your wine and
fermentation. If you're not sure, either use distilled water or bottled
spring water.


Debate has come about with respect to whether or not making wine from
elderberries can be toxic.

The short answer is NO. People have been making and drinking it for a
long time without adverse effects -- at least, not beyond the expected
ones from overconsumption. :)

If I remember correctly, you must be careful about which parts of the
plant you may use in order to avoid using the toxic parts. Use the
berries only.

Elderberry wine recipes can be found, among other places, at:

Rhubarb is safe for winemaking as well, though care must be taken to
cut off and dispose of the leaves as the leaves only contain oxalic
acid which is toxic; as a sidebar, the leaves may be boiled up in water
and used as an ecofriendly pesticide.


I (Don Buchan) contacted Rabbi Jaffe at the Jewish Community Council in
Montreal and asked him about making kosher wines and beers.

Rabbi Jaffe told me that as long as the wine or beer is made by a Jew
with no non-Jewish contact it is considered to be kosher. Nothing
special needs to be added or done.

As a non-Jew, I would surmise that any cleanliness practices that may
exist in Kosher law would also have be to be practiced, though Rabbi
Jaffe did not mention this nor do I know for certain.

If you (as a Jew) follow all the cleanliness suggestions in this FAQ,
you should be able to consider your wine or beer to be kosher.

Rabbi Jaffe also told me that all domestic (Canadian, and presumably
American) beers are considered to be kosher.

Note that this all sounds contradicting since the lines are not drawn
as to where
begin with the growing of the ingredients or only with the actual
production of the wine, etc., as well as not defining where it has to
stop. I (Don again) have been told that it starts at the growing of
the ingredients and continues to even the serving of the wine.

The following is a synopsis of an article from the March 24, 1991 Los
Angeles Times by Dan Berger about Kosher wines.

1. Standard kosher wine: Standard kosher wine has to be produced in its
entirety by observant Jews. Even the spigot has to be turned by an
observant Jew to draw a tasting sample. Standard kosher wine may be
consumed by any (Sabbath) observant (orthodox) Jewish person, but it
loses its kosher certification if it is opened and served by a non-
observant Jew.

2. Mevushal wine. Mevushal wine has to be heated to a specified
temperature. It remains kosher no matter who serves it. Weinstock
Cellars heats the grape juice prior to fermentation to 170F and then
chills it again instantly.

I would recommend that if you need to absolutely certain that your wine
or beer is kosher, consult your Rabbi before starting your batch.


{Someone is being generous enough to give me some wine grapes and I
need to know what amount I need to make five gallons.}

It is suggested that 100 lbs. (45.36 kg) of red grapes (ie., grapes to
be pressed after fermentation) and 125 lbs. (56.70 kg) of white grapes
(pressing at or near time of crush) for 5 gallons of finished wine in
the bottle. These quantities usually produce two or three bottles more
than five gallons, but you then will be sure to have enough to stay in
a five gallon carboy throughout the process even with a bit of spillage
and sloppy racking. These recommendations assume that you are using a
conventional stemmer-crusher and something like a basket press.

It depends upon the kind of grape, the vintage (annual variance in
cluster size and juiciness), how hard you press the must, if you barrel
or not (if so for how long), etc.

A rough number is 32 pounds of red wine grapes per 12 bottle case of
finished wine.

* with red wines, you can figure that 1 Ton (2000 lbs.) produces 200
gallons of crush for primary fermentation.
* 200 gallons of crush presses out to be about 160 to 170 gallons of
raw wine.
* 1 year's worth of barreling, racking, and evaporative losses (through
barrel staves) results in about 90% of this making it to the bottling
line (i.e., about 150 gallons per ton).
* there are 5 X 750 ml bottles per gallon, or 2.4 gallons per 12 bottle
* so, 62.5 cases per ton of red wine grapes is the planning figure I
* 2000 pounds divided by 62.5 cases = 32 pounds per case of red.

White wines will require more pounds of grapes per case of wine, about
42 pounds per case.

* with white wines, you can figure that 1 Ton (2000 lbs.) produces 125
gallons of crush for primary fermentation (if you avoid pressing too
hard -- i.e. over 1 atm of pressure).
* all else is roughly the same (racking, barreling, evap. loss, etc.)
ending with about 112 gallons at the bottling line, or about 47 cases.
* so, 47 cases per ton of white wine grapes is the planning figure I
* 2000 pounds divided by 47 cases = 42 pounds per case of white wine.


This is not a commercial endorsement by the editor/compilor or most (if
not all) of the contributors.

Presque Isle Wine Cellars
9440 Buffalo Rd
North East PA 16428 USA
Voice 1 814 725 1314
Fax 1 814 725 2092
prwc& (&=@)
Orders can be called in at 1 800 488 7492.

For other suppliers, check:



I've been archiving virtually all the recipes posted in r.c.w. since
about September '95.

Archive policy:

>the files contain many many recipes, some of which are problem postings
>asking for help. I was looking more for a recipe which someone has
>perfected and is really happy about and wouldn't mind sharing.

Many of the recipes that end up in the archive present themselves in the
form of "Here's what I did, do you think I did it right?" or "What did I
do wrong?"

While in the 00INDEX.TXT file there is an explicit disclaimer on the
fitness of the recipes in the archive, by virtue of their being there
there is an implicit "nod of Don's head" that they should work, without
even attempting to guess at what may be wrong; a good part of that
implicit nod further implies a degree of understanding of winemaking,
this required level occasionally varying greatly from one recipe to the

Which is why there are sometimes a dozen or more recipes of each kind;
by reading through each you start getting a feel for how to go about
things and see the basic trends required for each kind of wine. When
things contradict, you can always ask the originator of the recipe, if
their email address hasn't changed, or ask the group, or check in this

Other places to check:
(gopher) | Wiretap Online Library/Articles | Food and
Drink | Mead Recipes


The easiest way to remove carbonation is to filter your wine using a
vacuum pump to force the wine through your filter pads. This is done by
means of attaching the pump to a glass carboy with an adapted bung that
has an in and out tube -- one which leads to the vacuum pump and one
that comes from the filter. The filter system then has tubing that
connects to the carboy and another leading into it to which you attach
your J-tube that you place in your wine.

The pump creates a relative vacuum that creates the necessary pressure
differences to force the wine through the filters and, since the lower
pressure is subatmospheric, any carbonation in solution comes out in
the process.

You can also attach a vacuum pump directly to the carboy of wine but
this may create the possibility of overfoaming.

If you don't have access to this system, vigourously stir your wine for
5 minutes a day after fermentation but before clearing for three days.
You can also attach a carboy cleaning brush to a drill and, putting the
brush into the wine, turn the drill on low for a few seconds at a time.

Bulk aging and a couple of rackings will also get rid of almost all

{I transferred it to the secondary and by day 12 the bubbling has
pretty well stopped and the SG is just above 0.990. My question is
whether or not I should stabilize and de-gas it now or wait 10 days or
so like the instuctions suggest?}

This is a great question because it illustrates how winemaking is a
complex psychological process as well as a fermentative one. There is a
lot of activity at the start of making wine, all the more so in seasons
when grapes have to be crushed under threatening skies. Even in a kit,
wine fermentation is rapid at first and requires close attention. We
all tend to get a bit caught up in the process at that stage, but with
experience we learn that it slows down all by itself, that there is a
natural progression to things that starts with a dizzying rush of
alcohol and carbon dioxide and then leads to settled torpor. You learn
that a few days more or less on the lees is usually no great matter,
that air contact is both good and bad, that kit wines are fairly
insensitive but by the same token somewhat indistinct, especially as
compared to fruit wines.

In general, time is one of the greatest resources available to the
winemaker. It could even be said that most winemaking techniques exist
to create more time for the wine to develop its potential. Otherwise,
we'd just let the grapes ferment, wait a couple of days, and then
yahoo! What is sulphite except a way to buy time against oxidation and
bacterial instability? Time spent in maceration extracts tannins that
take increasing time to age. We allow time for clearing and
stabilization, perhaps we allow extended time for lees contact, or time
in barrel to pick up oak flavors, time to recover from bottling, and
time in bottle to age.

To answer the question as stated, it's probably best to just stay with
the program. Things are going fine, so why make short of a good thing?
It's going to taste better after a few months anyway.


After a while, it is quite possible that your glass carboys in
particular, your plastic containers and other pieces of equipment have
a light, white coating. This is typically scale. While completely
harmless in and of itself to your wine, what it can do is harbour dirt
and/or spoilage organisms that may be hard to remove by usual rinsing
and cleaning techniques, including the use of chlorine bleach.

To get rid of this, you can do any of the following:

A) Use vinegar. This may only be partially effective as your wine is
already an acidic environment, and you may need to use a lot of vinegar
for it to be effective.
B) Ask your supplier for a food grade phosphate based cleaner
specifically designed for this, and let it sit in your container for a
few days, then rinse it thoroughly several times before putting wine in
C) Go to a hardware store and get some tri-sodium phospate. Use
according to the instructions and let soak for a few days.
D) Put some small pebbles or white sand sold for aquaria along with soap 
and shake it vigourously.

G45. Why am I getting headaches?

It has to do with histamines and NOT with sulphite. This of course
assumes that you aren't referring to a headache from overconsumption. :)

G46. I want to make some Sherry. Do I require a special type of yeast?

In 'fino' sherry Flor Yeast forms a floating film on the surface of the
wine. It protects the wine from oxidation, as well as imparting special
flavours. Alcohol levels, though, must be 14 to 16%. Below 14% vinegar
bacteria can take over. Above 16% yeast cells will die and this would
then become 'oloroso' style sherry.

Because the yeast uses a lot of alcohol, the produced water would
acetify in contact with stainless steel tanks. In wooden barrels, there
is enough evaporation that counters the drop in alcohol, therefore
producing the Sherry flavour.


There are many ways of sweetening your wine.

A) When your wine has reached about 1.000, put in your sulphite,
sorbate and clearing agent. This will usually give you only a slightly
sweet wine.
B) Ferment your wine dry, then stabilize it with your sulphite and
sorbate, and add your clearing agent. Filter the wine. Then add a 2:1
sugar/water (or wine) syrup that contains sulphite and sorbate.
C) Add some glycerine. This technically won't sweeten the wine but it
will add to your perception of sweetness.
D) Blend the stabilized wine with a stable over sweet wine.
E) Add sugar to the wine just before serving. Two teaspoons per bottle
will increase the sugar content by 1%, and 4% will approximate port.

As far as what degree of sweetness you want, add a little bit at a time,
and stop when it tastes like it could use just a bit more.


< 0.5%; <1.000 SG; 1 = dry
< 3%;   <1.010 SG; 2 = medium dry
< 5.5%; <1.020 SG; 3 = medium sweet
< 8%;   <1.030 SG; 4 = sweet
<10.5%; <1.040 SG; 5 = dessert

1.23oz of sugar/gallon raises your brix One point.


{I have about 240 litres of a light red which saw insufficent skin
contact coupled with a wet summer which lead to large berries. The wine
has no major fault apart from the fact that it is weak.}

A good way of "strengthening" the wine would be to do the following:

1. You don't say how 'weak' is weak, but it may not matter to the
procedure other than adjusting the sugar level. Get 70-80 lbs of dark
raisins and start fermenting in a primary with as little water as
possible (no more than 10 litres). It's better if you can crush the
raisins. Don't worry about the seeds because you haven't much tannin in
your original wine. Use a Prise de Mousse (Premier Cuvee) or Lalvin EC-
1118 yeast.

2. After a couple of days following the start of fermentation,
introduce your wine into the ferment, 10-15 litres at a time. Twice a

3. Depending on the alcohol level you want to achieve, you can feed the
yeast by adding some sugar. Probably 30 to 40 lbs in total, at regular
intervals during fermentation.

4. You can make any acidity adjustments at the end, but if you know
your original acidity, it would be preferrable to adjust prior to
fermenting the raisins.

5. When ferment reaches SG 1.000 or lower, rack into secondary, attach
airlock, and rest 4-6 weeks.

If you are referring to body, not alcohol, then you could approach the
problem by bulk ageing the wine with elderberries, raisins or other
dried fruit with strong flavours and deep red colour. These should be
dipped in a sulphite solution prior to use to avoid spoilage, and can
be added to the wine in a nylon straining bag to make removal easier.
The wine should subsequently be allowed to ferment the added sugars if
you wish a dry wine and fined to remove any cloudiness.

G49. Humidity & Storage

Some debate exists about proper humidity levels required in storage.
Excessively humid conditions may bring about problems with mouldiness
on the corks and help to deteriorate the label, while excessive dryness
may lead to a dry, rotten cork. Whether or not humidity actually
affects the wine may be dubious.

Temperature of the storage area is important, however. Wines are more
susceptible to oxidation above temperatures of 75F (24C); they are also
adversely affected by conditions in which the temperature fluctuates
quickly over time.

Bottles should be kept on their sides to keep the cork moistened; by
drying out the corks may become more susceptible to leakage and allow
for the incursion of too much oxygen that may spoil the wine, as well
as, in very extreme situations, allow for some wine loss (and as such
oxygen incursion into the bottle) through evaporation.

The advice of keeping the labels up is primarily useful for identifying
the kind of wine you have in a given bottle -- ie the upwards-facing
label is easier to read. Also, if there is sediment in your bottles,
you can carefully handle the bottle such as to avoid mixing it into
your wine.

Keeping your wine in a north facing room against the north wall (or
south in the southern hemisphere) generally is a myth. It is useful if
your southern-exposed room becomes excessively warm from the sun (see
above regarding storage temperature).

Light may also contribute to the premature ageing and deterioration of
the wine, and prolonged direct sunlight may cause undue temperature

For your convenience, your labels should also either clearly indicate
the wine type, its age, and any other information you decide is
relevant, or at least an identification code which is clearly explained
in a handy log book.


{Is there any way of determining the right time to harvest grapes save
purchasing the commerical product telling the sugar content? I don't
have that many vines to warrant the expense.}

A couple of interesting suggestions have been made by Cox in 'From
Vines to Wines.'

One is to measure the ratio of Brix to TA. Harvest when the ratio is
between 30:1 and 35:1, and don't go beyond 35:1 unless you're making
botrytized or sweet dessert wine. His caveat: if you are living in a
cold region where high acidity is a problem, you may not get to 30:1.
For example, the grapes may only get to 25:1 and stay there. He
suggests suggests to check the pH. If it's approaching 3.2 to 3.3 for
whites and 3.4 to 3.5 for reds, harvest, no matter what the Brix and TA
are doing. The pH gives a check against total reliance on the Brix:TA

The other, and Cox says this is more accurate, is to multiply pH by
itself, and then multiply that by Brix. Harvest whites when the number
gets as close as possible to 200, and reds when the number approaches
260. And try to keep pH below 3.3 for whites and 3.5 for reds. If it
goes higher than those, harvest.

He summarizes: "Keep measuring. Don't let the pH go above 3.3 with
whites or 3.5 with reds. Harvest when the Brix:TA ratio is as close as
posible to 30:1-35:1, and when Brix times pH squared is as close as
possible to 200 for whites and 260 for reds."

One other suggestion is that the winemaker can consider the prospective
alcohol content of the finished product. If he decides, for example,
that his white table wine tastes best with an alcohol content of 11.2%,
he would pick at 20 Brix, because he knows that the finished product
will have approximately 56 percent by volume alcohol to the original
sugars (i.e., 20 Brix times 56% equals 11.2%).

A theoretical "ideal" red grape: 22.5 Brix, .7 TA and pH 3.4. Ratio is
32.14; Brix(pH2) is 260.1.


Some people try to use the yeasts/bacteria that come on the grapeskins
as the primary fermentation organisms. The most important thing to
realize is that with the "natural" method you're not fermenting the
sugars and digestable acids with monocultures but with a broad
polyculture of various yeasts and bacteria. It seems that this
polyculture is as much a part of the "terroir" of the site as the soil,
exposure, etc.

It is suggested that you do the following:

1. Use grapes that are in good condition (little mould.)
2. Make sure pH is correct to avoid over population of bacteria.
3. Cap the must with CO2 after crush until the ferment is producing
enough CO2 on its own to protect from oxygen contact.
4. Monitor ferment closely.
5. I like to ferment reds hot (85 - 90 F).
5. Cap with CO2 at the end of ferment until you press.

Many find that the polyculture and the longer, drawn out ferment will
yield a more complex wine. A good experiment would be to split your
grapes and ferment each half with each method and see what you like
best. You may or may not enjoy the "complexity" that results from the
"natural" method. Practical Vineyard and Winery has a bunch of detailed
articles about this subject.

Others feel that the low cost of a packet of yeast -- about USD$1.00 at
most -- and some sulphite at the beginning is a good investment in
making sure that you avoid potential problems in lost wines to
unpredictable polycultures. A good yeast to use is a "Killer Yeast"
such as Lalvin K1-1117.


Go to Don has been privately
answering all sorts of winemaking questions by email over the years and
has compiled almost all of them since sometime in 1995. (British Columbia Amateur Winemaking
Association, which has some pages covering all sorts of topics,
including sulphite.


{I am making a wine from a kit - Pinot Noir from Cuvee Vendage
(Vinotheque). I have read about the benefits of cold stabilization, so
I want to cold stabilize my wine. (The kit instructions, or any kit
instructions I have read do not mention cold stabilization).}

You shouldn't need to cold stabilize kits.

{Should I do my cold stabilization before or after adding the

After, though if you want to minimize such additions then waiting
around an extra two weeks won't hurt the wine.

{I still need all of these clarifiers. If I am letting my wine age
longer then the 45 days the kit calls for and am cold stabilizing? I
just started a Chardonnay kit. Is anything any different for white

45 is too long for cold stabilization; you only need 14. However the
wine will benefit from the ageing.

{I am doing my cold stabilization in the unheated back porch of my
house. Should I wrap the carboy in a blanket to protect it from
draughts and to help insulate from temperature swings? What is the
minimum temperature wine should cold stabilize at? If we get a really
cold snap and my porch goes down below 32F (or 0c) is this a problem?}

No wrapping is needed as the thermal buffering you will need for the
wine will be somewhat taken care of by the fact that the porch is
protected from sudden temperature changes and wine.

It should go down to 28F (-2C). It shouldn't freeze unless it really
gets cold (-10C for long periods of time) at which point the wine might
begin to slush up.


1/2 teaspoon per gallon of pectic enzyme (powder form) is an acceptable
general rule of thumb for all fruit wines.


{I made the mistake of not racking off the fruit pulp before I went to
my primary fermenter. I've tried to clear it since but the pulp is so
thick that it almost immediately clogs my racking cane. Any ideas about
how I can rack off the pulp?}

One way to eliminate the larger portions of pulp would be to pour the
must through a plastic window screen. You can rapidly clean the screen
each time it becomes clogged. Further filtering can be accomplished by
sending the wine through a mesh pulp bag, but this mesh does clog very
fast and is harder to clean. The finer pulp will settle out quite
rapidly after fermentation seizes. The ultra fine particles require bulk
storage for a few months.

The best way is to use the mesh pulp bag and using it to scoop the pulp
out of the wine, then squeezing the liquid out by hand; this therefore
will require the immersion of WELL SCRUBBED and sanitized forearms
directly into the wine and squeezing by hand.


{Does anyone know what I can add to my musts so that I can avoid having
to use yeast nutrient?}

You could add extra fruit, but you'll only get so far with it. After a
while there will be limits to what the yeast can do without the proper

You could add grape concentrate, which will help out a lot since it's
the most balanced of all fruits for winemaking.

You could also try adding a bit of a "fruit punch puree" you make in
your blender by taking a large variety of fruit and making a puree,
separating it into cup portions & freezing it all. There should
particularly be lemons, for the ascorbic acid which will avoid browning
and whose peels will add the glycerine and other oils, as well as
bananas, which will provide a relatively neutral rounding out of the
body for the wine. Each batch of a particular fruit wine you make can
have a cup of this puree added; it will have quite the variety of
nutrients in it for fermenting without overwhelming the dominant fruit
if you make a couple of gallons or more at a time.


In order to stop a fermentation while a wine is still sweet,

A) Place the batch in a refrigerator set VERY cold, or;
B) Place it outside in the winter;
C) Add a clearing agent, sulphite and sorbate and;
D) Filter when clear.


E) Add a spirit (brandy, vodka, etc) to increase the alcohol content to
18% - 21% alcohol. This creates an environment in which the yeast can no
longer survive; or
F) Use a sterile filter to remove all yeast from the wine.

{Is there an alternative to adding sorbate to prevent wine from
refermenting after sweetening?}

Several alternatives are available.

A) Increase alcohol content to 19% or higher. (Not satisfactory for
table wine).
B) Pasteurize the wine to 180 F at bottling time. (Wine quality
C) Deliberately stop fermentation by chilling the wine and remove the
yeast. Restart fermentation and repeat process several times. Each new
generation of yeast consumes micro nutrients until the yeast cannot
reproduce. (Long, tricky proceedure.)
D) Use a sterile bottles and corks and a sterile rated (less than 0.45
micron) filter at bottling time. (Sterile filtration is easy with proper
equipment. Keeping bottles and corks sterile is not).

You may also consider fermenting dry, and adding the sweetener (sugar)
when served. For the home winemaker, this creates a stable bottle which
will store without danger or refermentation and can avoid all chemical


{Do you know how to get corks out without breaking the bottle?}

A) Straighten a metal coat hanger, and put a sharp bend (150 degrees) in
the last 1/2 inch. Just push it into the bottle, tip the bottle up so
the cork falls into the neck, and then gently pull the coat hanger out.
B) Get a piece of cloth, something like a hankerchief, or a lightweight
napkin. Stick a corner of it into the bottle, so it forms a 'V' like
cup. Move the bottle around until the cork is sitting inside the Vee of
the napkin. Start easing the napkin out, it should wrap around the cork
and start pulling it out. Now comes the fun (hard) part. You have to
pull really hard to get the cork out. As long as you don't have too much
napkin around the cork, it will come out, without breaking the bottle.
C) Tie a large knot at the end of the string and drop it into the
bottle; add water until the cork floats up to the neck and 'self
rightens' - then pull the string. The knot catches the bottom of the
cork and out it comes.

G59. Your friendly hydrometer

Hydrometers are calibrated to read pure water at 1.000 at typically 60F
or 67F. Typically you can take any tap water and expect to reasonably
find 1.000; if your tap water reads significantly from this -- but the
distilled water from your supplier still reads 1.000 -- it probably
wouldn't be a good idea to use your tap water (but that's another

This is taken from the instructions sold with a hydrometer:

"This hydrometer gives an accurate reading when the temperature of the
liquid is 60 deg. F. The following tables show how to correct for
temperature difference.

 F     SG Correction
50.....Subtract 1/2
60.....Subtract 0
70.....Add 1
77.....Add 2
84.....Add 3
95.....Add 5
105....Add 7

Temp of must = 84 deg F
SG is 1.100
Correction figure is 3
Corrected SG is 1.103"


Don Buchan (editor), Tony DeVito, Eric Garrison, Brian Carty, Peter
Rosback, Rick Regan, David B. Gibson, Don Schiller, Dave Kehlet, Paul
Jean, Scott Arighi, Tamiko Toland, Victor Reijs, Philip DiFalco,
Richard Castle, Jack Ziebart, Morley, Christopher Sawtell, Brian
Hiebert, Greg Owen, K.D. Colagio, Mark Levesque, Anthony Hawkins,
Patrick J. Tierney, Bob Konigsberg, Tim Hodkinson, Michael Arthurs, Bob
Konigsberg, Klaus Oehr, Art Turner, Gary, Jacques Recht, Ronald
Elshaug, Bryan Johnson, Ronald Elshaug, Geza T Szenes, John Katchmer,
Warren Vidrine, Joseph Delaney, Dan Razzell, G. Trend, Matt Marshall,
John D. Trites, Tom Barnhart, Tom How, Giovanni Alfieri, Scott E.
Shull, Graham Skerrett, Harry A. Demidavicius, Roger Boulton, Andrew
Bennett, Jens P. Jaeger, N. Lalu, Dan Lutley, Charles Plant, Ed Goist,
John Dent, Lum, Frank Wetzel and many others on whose posts some
sections were based.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
malak@CAM.ORG (Don Buchan)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM