WINE MAKING TECHNIQUES
WINE MAKING TECHNIQUES
Many winemakers will make a wine kit just the way it is, which is perfectly fine.
A better quality wine kit will make better quality wine.
With little effort, simple common adjustments can be made to tweak the levels of flavour, complexity, smoothness and sweetness. Wine making adjustments can be made to your wine kit on Day 1 and Day 14. Be conservative, do less rather than too much.
Day 1: Add fruits, dry tannins, dry oak and save some initial wine kit juice which is referred to as a sweet reserve, added back on Day 14.
Day 14: We can make minor final adjustments by adding additional liquid oak, liquid tannin, sweet reserve, glycerine and wine conditioner.
ENHANCING NATURAL FLAVOURS
FRUITS: Day 1
Wines and wine kits are described as having fruit flavours.
This is the key reference in the selection of what type of fruit you may like to add to enhance the flavour and freshness, while still maintaining your wines original integrity.
Day 1: Blend 1 -2 cups or more of fresh or frozen fruits such as berries, pitted and destemmed cherries, pineapple etc. Blend the fruit with some water to produce a liquid puree juice and run it all through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter to produce a pulp less, seedless juice. 1 or 2 hard fruits, such as apples or pears, depending on their flavour intensity, can be added. Peel hard fruits, quarter, and remove hard seeds before blending and straining.
Microwave for 20 seconds to sanitize and warm.
Most fruits have pectins which may cause a pectin haze. The addition of 1 teaspoon of pectic enzyme per 23L (5-6 gallons) will cut the added fruit pectins into smaller pieces that yeast can consume during the fermentation. This will eliminate pectin haze and maintain a crystal clear finish.
OAK: Day 1 & 14
Day 1: Oak is found in red wines and in some whites, such as Chardonnay. Oak adds complexity by giving the wine a richer texture. Fuller bodied red wines tend to be more oaky, while lighter body wines tend to have more of a fresh fruit flavour. In lieu of oak wine barrels, varieties of American, French, and Hungarian oak with various toasting’s in powder, chip, cube, stick, spiral and liquid form can be used. Most red wine kits come with some dry oak but you can add more to your liking. Powder oak is poured in, solid dry oak is contained in mesh bags so not to conflict with the bottling tap. The powder and bags are placed into the wine on Day 1 to extract flavours during the wine making process.
Day 14: Liquid oak can be easily added teaspoon by teaspoon to taste during minor final adjustments. Be aware that liquid oak will add colour to white wine.
TANNIN: Day 1 & 14
Day 1: Tannin, found in red wines, elicits a dry mouth-puckering sensation, also known as astringency. Tannin is contained in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes and is part of the wine kit juice. It can be purchased in both dry and liquid form. The dry form has twice the intensity per teaspoon when compared to the liquid and has a more velvety sensation. Dry Tannin is added into the wine on Day 1 to extract flavours during the wine making process.
Day 14: Liquid tannin is added teaspoon by teaspoon to taste during minor final adjustments.
Tip: Day 1: Reds – dry tannin 1-3 teaspoons, Whites – no tannin.
BALANCING ACIDITY AND SWEETNESS
DAY 1: SWEET RESERVE IS TAKEN OUT, DAY 14: ADD IT BACK
Day 1: One of the most common adjustments that should not be overlooked is saving and freezing 2 to 4 ounces of the initial juice from the kit. Although called sweet reserve, it is primarily used to enhance the natural flavours and balance acidity. The amount saved depends on the end result you are looking for and how concentrated the juice is (i.e. 12L kits are more concentrated than a 18L kits).
Day 14: The amount of sweet reserve added back is determined by taste during minor final adjustments.
Tip: Day 1: Save: Reds 1 oz /12L kit, 2 oz /18L kit – Whites 2 oz /12L kit, 3 oz /18 L kit
WINE CONDITIONER: Day 14
Day 14: Wine conditioner is a simple liquid sugar sweetener used to balance acidity and sweetness. Beyond balancing acidity, wine conditioner is added to make a sweeter wine. Adding wine conditioner to a very dry wine may expose a lot of hidden flavours. Add wine conditioner tablespoon by tablespoon to taste during minor final adjustments.
GLYCERINE: Day 14
Day 14: Glycerine, added teaspoon by teaspoon during minor final adjustments will smooth out harsh characteristics in a wine without offering sweetness. Use a maximum of 6 teaspoons for 23L (6 US gallons), any more will developing a metallic taste.
Tip: Adding 1 or 2 teaspoons is common to smooth a harsh wine.
MINOR FINAL ADJUSTMENTS: DAY 14
Take your wine making one step farther by tweaking the wine to your taste.
If you are not familiar with this, sampling a couple days earlier will acquaint you with the flavours and intensity of each. Adjustments can be made propr to the addition of stabilizers and clearing agents.
Day 14: Liquid oak and liquid tannin increase flavour and complexity. Use a sampler tube remove wine through the bung opening and place it into a sample glass. To achieve your desired taste, use a toothpick to individually add your liquid oak and/or tannin, drop by drop, into the sampling glass of wine. Then, simulate the flavour of the wine in the sampling glass in the UWinemaker. Add the liquid oak and/or tannin to the UWinemaker through the bung hole, rock and roll it and taste. You will have to overlook the mixed sediment and focus on taste.
Sweet reserve, glycerine and wine conditioner, balance sweetness and acidity. Usually only apply 1 or 2. Sweet reserve, wine conditioner, and glycerine must be added conservatively, the acidity of a young wine will smooth out on its own over time.
Sample white wine chilled. Return it to room temperature and simulate that taste. A chilled heavy glass works well.
All wines improve with time.
Whites smooth off with 1-2 months of ageing.
Reds smooth off with 6 months or more of ageing, bolder reds and red wines with grape skins take longer.
Tip: Wine can be drank as soon as it is bottled; however, wine improves with age so you may prefer to start with wines that require less aging, such as whites and softer reds.