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Winemaking Articles

  • How to Use and Read a Refractometer - Knowing exactly when your grapes (or other fruit) are at the peak of ripeness and ready for harvesting is easy when you have a way to measure the sugar content (Brix) from samples in the field. This article shows you how to use, calibrate and read a small portable device known as a refractometer to help you determine the right time to pick your fruit.
  • How to Measure Acidity in Wine - If you make wine from scratch, you'll definitely need to know how to measure the amount of acid (T.A., or titratable acidity) in your must and make any necessary adjustments. This page shows you two different ways to measure acid.
  • How to Chaptalize Wine - Chaptalizing (adding sugar to) wine is easy to do, and it may mean the difference between a so-so wine and a great wine in lean harvest years. Find out why chaptalization can improve your wine's balance and how to do it using a simple test instrument - the hydrometer.
  • Punch Down That Cap - Learn what a "cap" is, and why it's important to punch it down during fermentation. We'll give you hints on how to do it yourself at home.
  • How Wine Yeast Benefits from Nutrients - Discover how yeast nutrients, when added at the right time and in the proper amounts, can help "feed" your wine yeast and thus increase your chances to attain a successful fermentation.
  • How to Treat Rotten Egg Smell - Hydrogen sulfide can make your wine stink like rotten eggs. How did it happen? Can it be prevented? Better yet, we'll show you some ways to save your wine from being poured down the drain.
  • Which Water Is Best for Winemaking? - If you make wine from kits, you have to add water to reconstitute the water lost during the evaporation process. Discover what kind of water we recommend you use and why.
  • Glass or Plastic Carboys? - Find out which type of carboy we recommend and why it's better for your wine.
  • How to Oak Your Wine - Learn how to add oak flavor to your homemade wine using oak chips and oak powder.
  • Make Your Own Wine Labels - See how easy it is to create, personalize, and apply your own touch of class to your bottles of wine when you learn how to make your own wine labels for little or no cost.
  • How to Rehydrate Yeast - Discover how this easy 5-step process can help ensure successful fermentation. It's easier than you think!
  • Winemaking and Sanitation - Learn how to properly sanitize your winemaking equipment and increase your chances of making a great wine. Methods of sanitation discussed are boiling, chlorine, potassium metabisulfite solution, iodine, and oxygenating cleansers like B-Brite.
  • How to Use a Hydrometer - Find out what a hydrometer does, how it works, and how to use it. It's important for winemakers to know how to use a hydrometer, because it is used to measure the amount of sugar in must or wine.
  • How to Blend Wines - Learn how to blend wines to achieve desired results using the Pearson Square.
  • How to Prevent and Correct a Stuck Fermentation - Learn what a stuck fermentation is, how they can be prevented, and the steps you should take to restart fermentation should your wine ever get "stuck."