Fermentation in process

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Air Lock – A plastic “U” shaped trap that has water in it and allows gas to safely pass through the water as bubbles to the outside but keeps air from coming back into wine.

Bottle Shock Bottle shock is a condition after bottling that can exist after bottling for about 2 to 4 weeks. The wine can taste great during bottling but if you open a new bottle too soon it can smell and taste very bad. The good news is this condition is temporary and will go away on its own.

 Bottling – You can bottle by pouring wine from a jug into each bottle with a funnel. I find this to be messy and the ullage (space between bottom of cork and wine) is different in each bottle. There are wine bottlers for around $ 340 that will quickly fill a bottle and stop with the correct amount of ullage.

 Bung – A rubber stopper that fits the tops of a Carboy or Demijohn with a hole in it to fit an air lock. This allows the fermenting wine to safely give off gasses while protecting it from outside air.

 Capping – A cap is the plastic or foil seal that fits over the top of a wine bottle hiding the cork.

 Carboy – A glass container that holds the fermenting wines. These containers can be purchased in various sizes from 3 gallons to 15 gallons but is usually found in 6 gallon size. Most wine Must and kits are sold as 6 gallons (producing about 30 bottles of wine). Ports are usually sold as 3 gallons (producing 15 normal bottles or 30 half bottles of port).

 Cold Fermentation – This is doing the stage 1 fermentation at 65 degrees F or slightly lower. It causes a slower fermentation since yeast is not as active. Some people (I am one) believe it produces a better wine.

 CorkingCorks can be purchased in bags from small quantities to over 1,000. They come as plastic or real cork. I am a traditionalist and prefer the real cork. I believe for aging it allows better control of the small amount of air that travels through it to wine inside. The slight amount of air ages the wine. Corks do breathe.

Dry Cork – Dry Cork is a condition caused by low humidity (under around 60%). It will tend to dry the corks which allow more air to get into wine and destroy it. It also causes the corks to break and be difficult to remove. This is the opposite of “Wet Moldy Cork”.

Fermentation – This is the process of adding yeast to Must. The yeast eats the sugars in the Must and produce gas and alcohol. There are two stages of fermentation:

  1. Phase 1 – Is when yeast is added to Must. It takes 6-10 days to complete when most of the gas has stopped.
  2. Phase 2 – Is when young wine is placed in a fermenting vessel like a 6 gallon glass jar with an air lock on it. The air lock allows gas to escape (you don’t want a wine explosion) and air to be kept out.

Demijohn – Demijohns are similar to carboys but the glass is thinner and it comes in a plastic wrapper with handles. The pros are you can lift them easier. The cons are they will break easier. They come in similar sizes to carboys and are slightly cheaper.

Leaky Corks – After bottling allow your bottles to sit upright for 4 to 6 days to allow corks to dry. Then you can lay them on their sides or store them in wine boxes upside down.

Light – Light can destroy your wine. Store wine in a clean, draft free room with no light and air controlled temperature and humidity.

 Metabisulfite Solution – This is the sulfite solution used to both sanitize the equipment and to add preservatives to the wine to reduce oxidation.

 RackingRacking is the process of siphoning off the wine into another bucket leaving the residue (sediment) behind. The original container can be cleaned and wine re-siphoned back into it. This process clarifies the wine. All wines must be clarified (no one wants to drink wine with stuff floating in it) but whites can be seen easier and must be carefully racked. I rack 3-4 times before bottling depending on how much sediment was in last racking.

 Siphon – See Racking

Sterilization of Equipment – All equipment that touches the wine MUST be sterilized each time you use them. This includes siphon hoses, glass fermentation jars, buckets you siphon into, stirring sticks, meters you use to measure wine attributes. You sterilize with Potassium metabisulfite solution.

Storage I like a long-term storage area at 55 degrees F to keep my wine. It is an investment especially if you have over 1,000 bottles from years ago. You cannot replace the wine. Temperature, light and air are the three big enemies of wine.

Temperature Control – White wines should be drunk at around 55 degrees F and reds at 65 degrees F. Long term storage (more than 2 years) should be 55 degrees F for all wines. Refrigerator temperatures are too cold for any wine. It causes loss of taste of the wine.

Ullage – Is the air gap between the bottom of a cork in a wine bottle and the wine.

Vibration – Vibration can shake and destroy your wine. Store wine in a clean, draft free room with no light and air controlled temperature and humidity.

Wet Moldy Cork – Wet Moldy Cork is caused by too high a humidity (over 70%). It is the opposite of “Dry Cork”.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wine Making
    Feb 19, 2013 @ 18:50:43

    Has anybody tried this home wine making? Looks interesting to me.


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  3. air gap in wine bottles « Cloninger Wine Cloninger Wine
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 16:43:40

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