So, you have decided you would like to have a bash at making your own wine. You also want to do it properly, and turn out some really great tasting quality wine. The first thing you must do, is some research, to learn the basics of the art, as there are a few fundamental tasks you should perform if you want to stand a good chance of ending up with a fine tasting product.
When wine making it is extremely important to ensure that any equipment you use is sanitized, I don’t just mean clean, I mean free of any bacteria whatsoever. To do this you need to obtain some special solutions which are freely available. It is a good idea to become obsessed with cleanliness in your wine making operations, so as not to slow the fermentation process down.
If you are a beginner, make sure you get hold of a good recipe and then follow it religiously. As ever, the internet is a great place to look for recipes, as there are quite a few good sites that are dedicated to the art of wine making.
One piece of equipment you will need is called a hydrometer, and fortunately these are not expensive. You use a hydrometer to measure the progress of the fermentation process. You can also use it to help you find out the alcohol content by taking a reading at the start of fermentation, and then taking another one at the end.
It is absolutely critical that you use a thermometer and maintain the correct temperature in the room where you are fermenting the wine. If the temperature is too high it will ferment too quickly and you will probably end up with the wine not tasting very good, and you will also run the risk of bacteria growth. If, on the other hand the temperature is too low, the wine will take too long to ferment or even not ferment at all. The correct temperature is in the range of seventy to seventy five.
Last but not least, during the wine making process you must ensure your wine is not exposed to too much air, as this will cause oxidization which discolors the wine and gives it an odd flavor.
The Art Of Wine Tasting
Even though many just assume that wine tasting is sipping, swishing, and swallowing – many are amazed to find that it’s actually a bit more. Wine tasting is more of an art, an art that is used to distinguish the taste of fine wines. Wine can be a tasty and refreshing drink – if the bottle was stored correctly and aged properly.
Wine tasting begins with the swishing. The reason why wine tasters swish the wine around in their mouths is to get the taste. Both the front and the back areas of the tongue contain taste buds, although neither one has any distinct sensation in taste. Taste buds can detect food and liquid that is bitter, salty or sweet, without a problem. To get the proper taste from wine however, you need to swish it around in your mouth and allow your taste buds and sense of smell to bring out the unique and fine flavors in the wine.
When you have a cold however, the wine can taste very different. When tasting your wine, your sense of smell has a major impact on the taste. What many fail to realize, is that over 75% of our taste is due to our sense of smell. When we have a cold, our sense of smell is affected. Therefore, when eating or tasting wine with a cold, the taste will appear different. Wine tasters all over the world will tell you that tasting wine is more about a sense of smell than the actual taste buds.
The art of wine tasting is indeed an art. Wine tasters do however, follow some general guidelines and rules that judge how great a wine is. These techniques can help you bring the most out of your wine, providing you follow them and know how to bring out the taste.
The first thing to do with wine is to look. With wine, you can tell quite a bit about it by looking at it. You should always start by pouring the wine into a clear glass, then taking a few minutes to look at the color. As far as the color goes, white whines aren’t white, but actually yellow, green, or brown. Red wines on the other hand are normally a pale red or dark brown color. Red wine gets better with age, while white whines get more stale with age.
Next, is the smell of the wine, which you should do in two steps. You should start with a brief smell to get a general idea of the wine, then take a deep, long smell. This deeper smell should allow you take the flavor of the wine in. The more experienced wine tasters prefer to sit back a bit and think about the smell before they actually taste the wine.
Last but not least, is to taste the wine. To properly taste the wine, you should first take a sip, swish it around in your mouth, and then swallow. Once you swish the wine around in your mouth, you’ll bring out the rich and bold flavors of the wine. After swallowing, you’ll be able to distinguish the after taste of the wine, and the overall flavor.
Once you have looked at the wine, smelled it, and finally tasted it, you’ll be able to evaluate the wine from a taster’s standpoint. This is the easiest way to determine the quality of the wine, and whether or not it has been properly stored and aged. As with all things in life – the more you taste wine – the better you will get at distinguishing the unique flavors.
Should you Stop the Fermentation Process?
In some cases you may find it desirable to stop the fermentation process before it comes to a stop on its own. The most common reason for wishing to stop the fermentation process is that you have found the wine already has the exact amount of sweetness that you prefer and you do not want it to progress any further.
By stopping the fermentation at that point, many winemakers believe that they can preserve the amount of sweetness that the wine has already produced. If you want a really sweet wine, such as a dessert wine, this is certainly understandable. The idea behind stopping the fermentation process is that if you allowed the wine to continue fermenting it would become less sweet as time went on. When the wine became completely dry, the fermentation process would eventually stop on its own without any intervention from you.
As a result, there are several different methods that home winemakers tend to use when attempting to stop the fermentation process in order to preserve the sweetness. None of these methods work very well; however. Let us examine each.
One of those methods is using either Campden Tablets or Sodium Bisulfite. It should be noted that fermentation will not completely stop using these methods. You should also be aware that the chance does exist for some live yeast to be left in the wine, providing the opportunity for the fermentation process to begin again. In fact, it is not unknown for the process to begin again even after you have bottled your wine and stored it. Obviously, that would not be a good situation and would result in some really poor wine.
Another common option used by some winemakers is Potassium Sorbate. Generally, Potassium Sorbate is used for the purpose of sweetening wine. When it is used for the purpose it is commonly after the fermentation process has already been completed and you are ready to bottle your wine. The Potassium Sorbate is then added with sugar. The purpose of the Potassium Sorbate in this instance is to prevent the yeast from fermenting sugar that has just been added. When added prior to the end of the fermentation cycle; however, Potassium Sorbate will not kill the yeast; it only makes it sterile. This means that it stops producing but it doesn’t stop the fermentation. In other words, it does not prevent the yeast from fermenting the sugar and turning it into alcohol.
If your goal is to preserve the amount of sweetness that is already in the wine, the best way to do this is to actually go ahead and let the fermentation continue on its own until it is completely finished. After the yeast has had an opportunity to settle over a couple of weeks, you will then be able to siphon the wine off and then add some Potassium Sorbate with some sugar.
Keep in mind that it is really imperative to allow the fermentation process to finish before you add anything like Potassium Sorbate or more sugar. If you are not sure whether the fermentation process has finished, you can check it using a hydrometer. Remember that this is the tool that you use to check the alcohol content of the wine. If the process has completed, there should be a reading of no more than 1.000 on the hydrometer.
Testing and Adjusting your Wine
Two of the keys to making a great batch of wine are testing and making adjustments based on those tests. There are two critical areas where you will need to perform tests and possibly make adjustments. Those are sugar and acid levels.
As you are already aware, the sugar level of your wine is incredibly important as it is the sugar that the yeast feeds off of in order to produce the alcohol. The amount of sugar that you start your batch with will ultimately determine the level of alcohol that is present in the final batch. In order to run these tests you will need to have a wine making hydrometer. This is not an area where you want to try and guess at how much alcohol and sugar is present.
The hydrometer gives you the ability to accurately test and measure the amount of sugar that is present in the juice and consequently the amount of alcohol that can be produced from the sugar. As a result, you will also be able to measure how much additional sugar you may need to add to the juice.
You can purchase a hydrometer online as well as in any winemaking store. It looks quite simple. It is comprised of a glass tube with a weight on one end that will float. Sugar levels are tested by reading how low or high it ultimately floats. Almost all hydrometers also have a scale on them. This is the Potential Alcohol scale. You can read this scale when you first start the fermentation process to determine whether you need to add additional sugar based on the amount of alcohol that you want to be present in the final wine.
If you determine that you need to adjust the sugar level in order to increase the alcohol level, you may wonder what type of sugar is the best type to use. There are many different types of options available. It is important to remember that each type of sugar will offer different characteristics. The different options include brown sugar, cane sugar, fructose, beet sugar, rice sugar, etc. Corn sugar and cane sugar are usually the cheapest and the most widely available; however, there is certainly nothing stopping you from experimenting with other sugar options if you have them available. Be sure to take notes so that you will know whether you want to use whichever type you decide upon again for future batches.
You will also need to test and possibly adjust the acid level of your wine. Remember that maintaining the right acid level in your wine will provide your wine with balance and character as well as assist in the fermentation process.
When testing acidity, it is important to keep in mind that it typically varies from one fruit to another. This is why it is so critical to test the acidity level and then make adjustments as necessary.
The best way to test the acidity level of your juice is to use a titration kit. You can find these at any winemaking store as well as online. This kit will help you to measure how acidic the wine will actually taste. For example, if there is too much acid in the wine then it will taste bitter or sour. If; however, it does not have enough acid then it will have a flat taste. Based on those readings, you will know whether or not you need to adjust the acidity level of your wine. If you find that you do need to make adjustments you can do so using one of three different fruit acids. They are citric, tartaric and malic fruit acids.
Once you are ready to bottle your wine, it is time to make any final adjustments that may be necessary. There are many ways in which you can adjust your wine in order to improve the flavor. Perhaps the easiest way to go about this is to simply experiment and find out what works well for you personally. By keeping notes, you will quickly discover what works and what you like and what should be avoided in the future.
Just a few ways you can adjust the flavor of the wine when bottling it includes blending it with other fruit based wines, adding spices or oak chips, body enhances or flavor enhances. You can even fortify your wine with something such as grain alcohol. The most critical rule that should be followed when making final flavor adjustments is to make sure that you adjust in small amounts. In other words, always experiment with small amounts rather than a full batch.
The Advantages Of Organic Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage that is made up from water and grape juice. It goes through a fermenting process that increases it flavor. Because of the high demand of wines, many vintners have developed ways to protect their vineyards from pests and other insects that love to eat the grapes and the plants. They have also developed way to make their yield more by adding chemical fertilizers to the soil and the plants.
The most common and logical way to protect the fruits from an attack of insects is to spray the fruit itself with insecticide. Other pests are weeds which also need to be sprayed with herbicide. Just within a few decades, people have started to realize the dangers of insecticide and are now demanding more and more organic products. Organic wine have already reached stores and other suppliers and is making a big bang on an otherwise traditional industry.
Advantages of Organic Wine
There are several advantages to buying and drinking organic wine. One of the advantages of organic wine is the safety of the earth where the plants are planted on. Chemical residue from insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals sprayed on the fruits and plants usually get absorbed by the soil and are absorb in turn by the plants via their roots. Organic wine makes for cleaner and safer environment for the flora and fauna of the vineyards.
Another advantage is for the consumers who buy organic wine. They are guaranteed chemical free beverages to drink. This means less risk of sickness and diseases induced by chemicals we ingest through the wines. Although, organic wine may cost more due to the time and effort that staff and vineyard personnel spend maintaining the vineyard. The long term effect of a safe and environmentally secure earth is greater picture.
Some people also claim that organic wine tastes better than those grown the conventional way. This is probably true because without the use of chemicals the organic wine vineyard may have lesser yield. This means their fruits have more concentrated flavor in the grapes they produce. Thus organic wine may have flavor advantage over the conventionally prepared wines.
Protecting the earth and the environment should be reason enough for us to patronize organic wine. We only have one earth and it’s not like we could go to another planet and live there comfortably when we have used up and abused all the resources in this one.