Wine aging storage vessels

Bulk Aging (WineMaker)

Aging your wine is not the most exciting winemaking topic, but it is a critical topic. Aging wine is considered from the time after your fermentation is completed through the time spent in the bottle before consumption. The three basic goals of aging your wines are to assure stability, to correct a flaw or fault, and to evolve the wine style by increasing complexity, flavor, and aroma.

Wine bottle and lees

What Are ‘Lees’ in Wine? (Wine Enthusiast)

Lees are like the drunk uncle at a family gathering, it gives a beverage life, but if it overstays its welcome, things could turn left quick. So, what are lees? Where do they come from? As yeast is added to wine, it starts to ferment, converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide as it mixes with the grape juice. Eventually, when the yeast has consumed all of the sugar in the wine, it drops to the bottom of the fermentation vessel.

Racking Wine

How Often Should You Rack Your Wine? (Smart Winemaking)

Racking is simply the process of transferring a wine from one container to another while leaving behind any sediment or “lees”. Why do you rack your wine? Over time fruit particles and dead yeast cells will settle out of the wine and pile up on the bottom of your container. In the first days after pressing a wine, this layer will be very thick and particularly troublesome.


Aging Wine (MoreWine!)

The French use the term élévage to refer to the aging/storage period in a wine’s life. It roughly equates to our term “to raise” in English, as in raising a child. An appropriate term, since our job as winemakers during this stage is to watch over the wine while providing the care and proper environment needed for it to have the best chance of developing positively. Aging/storage is made up of three parts: letting the wine continue to work on its own, monitoring its progress both chemically (by testing) and sensorally (by tasting), and carrying out a series of rackings for clarification as needed.

Racking Wine

Racking Homemade Wine – Do’s and Don’ts (SHredWorld)

Comprehensive five minute video about why and how to rack (or transfer) wine from one container to another for home winemakers. The advantages and disadvantages of different transfer methods are demonstrated. When to rack? 1 To get the wine off the lees (sediment), 2 when you need the container that it is in for something else, or 3 when you are ready to bottle and you use a different container for bottling.

White wine in glasses

Using Fining Agents (WineMaker)

Pesky cloudy wines! Sediments in the bottle! There is nothing more frustrating to home winemakers than a wine that will not clear or that continues to throw sediments in the bottle. Making crystal-clear wine is an important objective in any type of winemaking. Anything less is considered a serious wine fault — a telltale sign of poor winemaking control — and will probably be shunned by serious wine drinkers.


Wine Filtering and Fining (MoreWine!)

Both fining and filtration are treatments that can be done to further polish or finish the wine just before bottling. Fining works by introducing an agent to the wine that physically binds with a targeted element, most commonly tannins or proteins. Once the reaction finishes and the agglomeration precipitates out to the bottom of the vessel, the wine is racked to remove it from the sediment. Filtration works by passing the wine through a material that contains a series of very small holes (or “pores”) similar to a coffee filter.


Solving the Sulfite Puzzle (WineMaker)

When I first started making wine at home, I understood the role and importance of sulfite in preserving wine, but I never could get the same answer twice to my queries on how much sulfite I should add. Sulfite is the most effective and widely used preservative in winemaking. It safeguards musts and wines against premature oxidation and microbes that could otherwise spoil wine.

Wine Faults

When Wines go Bad (WineMaker)

Whether you make wine at home, commercially, or simply enjoy drinking it, it’s likely you have encountered faulted wine; maybe it was the subtle aroma of geranium leaves, an aromatically muted glass pour, the unmistakable odor of barnyard, or perhaps you thought you poured yourself a glass of nail polish remover by mistake.

Oak Chips

To Oak or Not to Oak: the Influence of Oak on Wine (Vincarta)

Oak has a bad rep. I know lots of people who won’t drink chardonnay at all because they had a bad experience with an over-oaked new world example. But the influence of oak on wine is not as simple as that. But oak also contributes many of the flavors we associate with good wine, especially in reds. So, to oak or not to oak: that is the question!

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