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red wine

Red, Red Wine Infused Cupcakes

Have you ever wanted to drink your wine and eat it too?

Well here’s your chance!

red wine cupcakes

We teamed up with local baker The Mixing Bowl by Jules to create this recipe. These chocolate cupcakes are infused with our homemade red wine, filled with a raspberry and wine chocolate ganache, and topped with cream cheese frosting.

Decadent? Yes! But sometimes you just need to treat yourself!

Here is what you need:

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup chocolate cocoa
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water (boil)

Ganache

  • ½ cup of cream
  • ½ cup of fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • 1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 8 oz of cream cheese
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and yields approx. 24 cupcakes.
  2. Bring one cup of water to a boil on your stove top. Once it starts boiling turn the heat off and let it cool down.
  3. Next you’re going to start making the batter. Pour the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into your mixer and blend.
  4. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add the flour and cocoa, one cup at a time.
  5. Next you’ll add in the vegetable oil and slowly pour in the red wine while mixer is on.
  6. After that, add the salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until everything is blended. Don’t over mix!
  7. Turn the mixer back on and slowly pour the water into the batter. The batter will be thin.
  8. Next place your cupcake liners in your pans. You’ll want to fill each about ½ way full. Tip: If you have a cookie scooper, use that to pour batter otherwise a spoon will work!
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top is domed and sturdy. Once they are done let them cool for at least 30 minutes before filling and frosting.

Raspberry wine ganache

red wine cupcakes

  1. Pour your cream and raspberries into a sauce pan on medium heat. Use a spoon to break down the raspberries while they are heating up.
  2. Pour in the red wine and continue to stir and let mixture come to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Wait at least an hour for the ganache to thicken up or refrigerate overnight.

Cream Cheese frosting

red wine cupcakes

  1. Add both butter and cream cheese to mixer and mix on the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add each cup of powdered sugar one at a time and blend until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Now the fun part…building your cupcake

Once your cupcakes are cool and your ganache is thicker, you can either fill your cupcakes with ganache or dip the top – it’s up to you!

  1. Take a knife and cut out the centers of your cupcake and save the top of it!
  2. Using a spoon or a piping bag if you have one, fill the centers with the chocolate ganache. If you refrigerate it overnight, you’ll want to heat it up for 30 seconds to 1 minute before adding.
  3. Put the top back on and cover the ganache!
  4. Next you can, either frost with a knife or use your favorite piping tip and swirl! For the finishing touch, add a raspberry for garnish!

red wine cupcakes

And finally ENJOY your cupcakes with your home made wine!

The Musto Crush Crew certainly enjoyed these cupcakes! 🙂

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

Ready to make your own Wine? Musto Wine Grape is here to supply you with everything you need to make the wine of your dreams. Email us at sales@juicegrape.com or call (877) 812-1137 to speak with someone who can get you started!

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera) Recipe

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera)

A Piedmont style braised beef recipe cooked in red wine.

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera)

Known as “the people’s wine”, Barbera is an everyday drinking wine from the Piedmont region.

Barbera is a palate pleaser because it is easy to drink, well balanced and affordable.

Our 2017 Barbera has flavors of cherries, strawberries and raspberries, and intense aromas of blackberries. This Barbera is very low in mouth-drying tannins and high in acidity, which makes it the perfect wine to pair with rich foods like cheeses, meats and earthy mushrooms.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 bottles (4 1/2 cups) Barbera
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

 

What to do:

  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper.
  • Add the beef to the pot and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes, to brown on all sides.
  • Once browned, remove the beef from the pan, add the pancetta to the fat in the pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt; cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the beef to the pan and add the wine, 2 cups of the stock, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover tightly and transfer the pot to oven.
  • As it’s cooking, turn the roast every 30 minutes until fully tender and a meat is starting to fall apart when poked with a fork (3 1/2-4 hours). Remove the meat from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Remove the rosemary, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick, and place the pot over high heat. Cook about 10 minutes.
  • Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot sauce into a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the hot sauce then add slurry back into the sauce in the pan and cook another 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste and turn the heat off. Place meat onto a platter. If it has not completely fallen apart, thinly slice the beef across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve the beef ladled with the sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Want to make your own Barbera? Musto Wine Grape Company is New England’s largest supplier for winemaking products and services. From home winemakers to wineries, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call at 877 – 812 – 1137 to speak with someone to get you started.

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

Christina has given me a few bottles of wine to stretch my tasting abilities and educate my nose and taste buds. Here’s how it went! My go-to’s have always been a sweet white or rosé, I haven’t really ventured out with reds mostly because the first red I had was gross and I figured all red wines were like that. I was definitely wrong! Note, I am a beginner at tasting red wines so these are very amateur notes.

The first wine Christina gave me to try was a 2018 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ashley: I smell cherry the most, with kind of a plumy smell, and maybe prune; but cherry was the first thing I smelled.

Christina: Great! Next time think about what kind of cherry – Black cherry? Red cherry? Ripe cherry?

Ashley: It has a nice deep purple toned color to it and has no floaters.

Christina: Good, the browner the tinge of the wine the older the wine is.

Ashley: There’s no carbonation or fizz – I’m used to the wines I drink having bubbles or a little fizz to them.

Christina: Good! Fizz really only happens if the wine wasn’t taken care of or if it is a sparkling wine.

Ashley: It makes my mouth pucker at first but doesn’t leave my tongue dry for long, it goes away quickly.

Christina: If you salivate that means the wine is high in acid, if it dries out your mouth that means tannins are present. Sometimes people use the word “pucker” referring to both. Next time try to think about what is causing that feeling? Is it the salivation in your mouth like if you just tasted a bitter lemon, or is it the drying out of your mouth/chalky feeling in your mouth?

Ashley: Alcohol is pretty high!

Christina: Glad you picked up on this! Most Cabernets from Sonoma and Napa California are higher in alcohol.

Ashley: Kind of tastes like a Cigar.

Christina: That usually has to do with barrel aging or growing region; you find this characteristic a lot in red wines from Chile and Argentina. If you find it in a CA wine it’s usually due to barrel aging in a heavy toasted barrel.

Ashley: I pick up black pepper but it’s not strong.

Christina: I’m glad you thought about the type of pepper. That’s great. Try to be as specific as you can be.

Ashley: It’s easy to swallow but gives a hot feeling in my chest, kind of like if you drank something hot with cinnamon.

Christina: That is an indicator of high alcohol. Good job picking up on that!

Ashley: Kind of a charred taste, like eating the black burnt part of a marshmallow or pizza crust.

Christina: This has to do with the aging process of this wine. It sounds to me like it was a little “tight” and could have been laid down for a few more years so the balance of fruit and earth could shine through. Great specific description of what you tasted.

Ashley: It’s not something I would drink on a regular but it wasn’t terrible.

Christina: Great, you are figuring out what you like. Think about what type of food you would have this with and if it would change your perception of the wine.

Next was a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon 169.

Ashley: This one gave a rush of burning through my nose upon first sip and swallo2. It reminds me of the sensation you get when you burp through your nose

Christina: This means it’s got a decent amount of alcohol in it.

Ashley: I definitely taste black pepper with this one; it’s very smooth, smoky and earthy. Kind of when you eat a vegetable right out of the garden without washing it and it has like dirt on it haha!

Christina: Haha those are good descriptors!

Ashley: It doesn’t seem to be too high in tannins, after a few sips my tongue started to dry out, but right off the bat I didn’t feel much dryness.

Christina: This means the tannins were balanced, soft, and supple.  That’s a good thing for red wines.

Ashley: I also got black cherry and plum in this one, though it is dry it kind of gave me the impression that it was going to be slightly sweet, because it smells like it but it definitely was not sweet.

Christina: This happens a lot with dry red wines; you get sweet notes on the nose but not on the palate. Good job picking up on the fruit aromas!

Ashley: Overall this is the first red wine I didn’t hate and would actually drink again! I definitely see myself enjoying it with a steak for dinner.

Christina: Wow that’s great!

The last wine I tried was a 2018 Chilean Malbec.

Ashley: Very earthy, I got that same dirt taste from the cab but it’s way more prominent with this one.

Christina: Good descriptors!

Ashley: It’s also very dry, significantly drier and higher in tannins than the cab 169. It dried my tongue out on the first sip and kind of made my throat feel dry too.

Christina: Perfect! Now you know the difference between medium/balanced tannins and high tannin wines.

Ashley: I do pick up on a black pepper, and get some licorice, some bitter blackberry as well. But the dirt taste is what my mouth captures first and sticks throughout the whole experience.

Christina: Okay good observations and descriptors!

Ashley: I wasn’t a fan of this one because the dirt taste was all I could focus on.

Christina: Good! You know now that you don’t like high tannin earthy wines.

Reflection

The Cab 169 from Suisun Valley, CA definitely left an impression on me and I am going to explore with other wines from the similar region and see what else I can take a liking to! Overall this was a fun experience and I look forward to experimenting and broadening my wine horizons. A big thanks to Christina for being an awesome teacher, it’s looking like I’ll be a pro at tasting and winemaking in no time!

If you are interested in wine tasting and help with developing your palate, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Sales@JuiceGrape.com, or by calling us at 877-812-1137. At Musto Wine Grape we are always searching for ways connect with you and help you along in your winemaking and wine loving journey.  We offer a wide variety of products, services and classes to help you create a wine you love and assist you in being able to experience the way wine was created to be experienced!

For updates on harvests, educational tutorials and more, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Free SO2: When and How

Protecting your wine with free SO2

Keeping the required amount of free SO2 in your wine is one of the important post-fermentation care steps you’ll need to stay on top of. While some people decide not to add SO2 (which is a personal preference, though we at Musto Wine Grape definitely recommend keeping the proper amount of free SO2 in your wine at all times), others choose to keep their wine protected by using it diligently.

Why we add it

To keep the wine protected. KMS serves as an antimicrobial and antioxidant and as such is a very important part in keeping your wine out of harm’s way. Without it, your wine can go bad very quickly.

How to test free SO2

Aeration oxidation method, manual ripper method, Vinmetrica, Hanna titrator, titrets

Setup for “aerative oxidation” method of checking free SO2. Though time intensive, it yields exact and accurate reuslts.

When to add it

  • During crush (to kill off any unwanted native yeast)
  • When fermentation has completed (be sure that MLF has completed as well, if that’s the goal)
  • During aging. Example: Each month many winemakers will test SO2, make any SO2 adds if needed, and then top it off.

Investing in Vinmetrica SO2 wine analyzer makes testing easy

How to add it

You’ll need to get potassium metabisulfite, if you don’t already have it. You may prefer to use campden tablets, which is fine too. Make sure it says potassium metabisulfite rather than sodium metabisulfite. The easiest way to figure out how much free SO2 you’ll need to add is to know your pH, first of all. Then you’ll need to decide if you’re using .8 or .5/6 molecular SO2. .8 is usually used for white wines, whereas .5 is used for red wines. Measure your free SO2 if you have a way of doing so. Then use the graph below to figure out what the target free SO2 is. From there you will likely choose an easy-to-use online resource such as wineadds.com to find out exactly how many grams of potassium metabisulfite should be added. Mix it with a small amount of water to ensure it can become completely incorporated into the wine.

*Remember: just knowing your target free SO2 in ppm does NOT tell you how many grams you will be adding. You need to figure that out as a second step, with an online SO2 calculator*

Graph indicating required free SO2

Now that you have a solid understanding of why, how, and when you add meta, you may want to delve into some deeper questions, such as…

Why do I need to keep adding meta? If I add a certain amount shouldn’t it stay at that number?

This is a great question. There are a lot of variables that go into answering this in as cohesive a way possible, and this could really be a topic in and of itself. Let’s keep it simple here: there are two measurements of SO2 in wine: free and bound. The free SO2 is what is actively protecting the wine, whereas bound SO2 is what has already tacked on to other compounds within the wine and as such is no longer able to actively protect it in the same way. Both are important numbers, but if a winemaker is only checking one, it’s going to be free. Over time free SO2 can become bound to various acids, solids, sugars, bacteria, yeasts, etc., that are present in the wine, which is why this number will not necessarily stay constant, especially immediately.

Why does pH affect how much SO2 I need to add?

A rule of thumb to remember is that higher pH = higher free SO2 requirement. Lower pH = lower free SO2 requirement. The chart below demonstrates the amount of free SO2 required base don the pH of the wine. This is just one of the many reasons that checking and knowing your wine’s pH is critical.

Do I need to measure total SO2 as well?

Knowing this number is important, but not as crucial as knowing your free SO2. It’s also a little less accessible of a test to run, which is why most home winemakers don’t choose to pursue knowing the total SO2 of their wines. It is possible to overadd SO2 and have the total SO2 be higher than desirable which can be problematic, so be sure to keep a running log and closely track how much you have added from the beginning of the wine’s life onward.

Teroldego: Adding Old World Style to New World Wines

Teroldego grape_Musto Wine Grape_Winemaking_Winemaker_Home Winemaking_How to Make Wine

 Teroldego is an ancient varietal from the northern mountains of Italy. Originating from Trentino, a mountainous region on the Austrian border, this incredibly dark skinned grape is the genetic parent of Lagrein and Syrah. The grape is a prolific grower, bearing heavy yields while maintaining quality. The thicker skin makes for a more stable grape on the vine and allows for a longer hang time, generating a higher Brix level and more complex phenolics. They often use pergolas to help control the vigor of the vine itself.

The thicker skin of the Teroldego grape lends tremendous tannin content to the finished wine. Upon vinification of the grape, flavors of baking spices, red fruits, and pine are generated. Hints of tar and leather come most directly from the grape skin. This grape will add a tannic punch to any blend and can help to add mouthfeel to a thinner red variety. Some yeasts that will help to amplify the fruit notes and mouthfeel of the Teroldego are D254 and D80. This grape can also help add color and can be integrated at crush in a varietal with color securing problems. While Teroldego can be drunk early, it really starts to shine after 5 years of aging. In the aging process, the tannins will link up and form longer chains that will be perceived as a smoother mouthfeel. If the consumer doesn’t mind a more aggressive, bold wine, it can be enjoyed early, a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats.

Teroldego is an ancient variety with a traditional, earthy old-world style. While we may not be able to travel to Italy to create an old-world style wine, we now can bring Italy to us, in the form of this beautiful grape.

 

Numbers collected on 9/14/18 –

Brix=24.2
pH=3.62
TA=4.26g/L
YAN=276.8

by the Winemakers at Musto Wine Grape

12 Steps to Making Wine from White Grapes

 

sauvignon blanc_chile_musto wine grape_winemaker_winemaking

Making Wine from White Grapes

1. Sanitize and Crush and Destem – Inspect your grapes and remove any moldy clusters. Crush and destem into clean and sanitized food grade plastic tubs. Always rinse your receiving vessel with a sanitizing strength potassium metabisulfite solution (2oz/gallon or 3tbsp/gallon). Make sure that the sanitizing solution touches all the surfaces of the vessel and that the vessel is completely emptied out of all sanitizing solution after. Shake free any drops as best you can from the vessel. Having remaining sulfite liquid in the vessel will prohibit fermentation. Do not rinse the sanitizer off with water after sanitizing as that will reintroduce bacteria to the environment.

2. Once all of the grapes are crushed, try to accurately measure your quantity of must. Add ¼ tsp of potassium metabisulfite for every 5 gallons of must that you have. Mix up the must thoroughly.

3. Wait for 2 hours after the sulfite addition and then add pectic enzyme to the must. Musto Wine Grape offers generic pectic enzyme or Cinn Free pectic enzyme that is specifically designed for white wine grapes. Follow the directions for the individual type of enzyme. Always mix it with water to create a 10% solution (if you use 5mls of enzyme, mix it with 45mls of water). The water allows it to better circulate throughout the must. Allow the pectic enzyme to work for 6 hours before pressing.

4. Press the Must – Wash the press and sanitize using potassium metabisulfite. Again, make sure the press does not have an excessive puddles or lingering amounts of sanitizing solution remaining. Sanitize the receiving container for fermentation (carboy, tank, demijohn, barrel) and any pumps or tubing that you may use. Anything that comes in contact with the wine should be rinsed with sulfite sanitizing solution. Place a screen or mesh (also sanitized) inside of the press to hold back any extra skins or seeds from getting through. Start by scooping up the must and placing it in the press. Some of the liquid will immediately flow through; this is the “free run”. When the press is full, slowly begin pressing. Do not try and press every last drop out of the must as this can lead to seed cracking and bitterness in the wine. Fill each container to within 6 inches of the top, to allow room for fermentation. This process will cause the juice to foam up and generate gas, therefore volume.

5. After pressing the grapes, mix the container thoroughly and take and record your measurements. Measure Brix, pH, and TA. If you need to adjust your juice at all, this is the time to do it. Ideally your Brix should be between 21-26 degrees, the pH between 3.2-3.5, and the TA between 6.5-8.5g/L. Your initial Brix reading, multiplied by .55, will give you a close estimate of your ending alcohol by volume percentage.

6. If you would like to use fermentation tannins (FT Blanc) or fermentation nutrients such as Opti-White, add them after measurements and adjustments have been made. Musto Wine Grape packages FT Blanc and Opti-White in small packs for 5 gallon batches. Mix any of these ingredients in thoroughly.

7. After measurements have been taken and any adjustments have been made, it is time to set yeast if you are using a cultured yeast strain. Use 1gram/gallon of wine must. Follow the yeast set directions on the packet explicitly and/or see the separate “Yeast Set” instructions.

8. After you atemperate and add your yeast, cover your tank with a floating lid or your carboy or demijohn with an airlock. An air lock will allow the carbon dioxide to escape the container without additional air getting in to oxidize the wine.

9. Stir the juice every other day to re-suspend the yeast and nutrients. Keeping the yeast in suspension is important to give it access to sugar and nutrients and to avoid the production of H₂S.

10. If you are using additional yeast nutrients to assist in fermentation you will add them after fermentation has started. Fermaid O is added at the beginning of fermentation (1 day after yeast set) and all others (BSG yeast nutrient, Fermaid K, AnchorFerm) will be added at 1/3 depletion of the Brix (2/3 of the beginning amount of Brix). Follow the directions for the individual yeast nutrient, hydrating with water and mixing thoroughly.

11. If you are adding malolactic cultures to your wine (Chardonnay), you may also chose to do this at 1/3 Brix depletion. If using a malolactic nutrient (Opti-Malo Plus) with the bacterial culture, hydrate the nutrient in a separate container from the bacteria and add to the must directly before the addition of the bacteria. Follow all directions on the bacteria and nutrient packets explicitly.

12. Monitor the progression of the juice by taking daily hydrometer readings. Using a sanitized wine thief or syringe, pull a sample of fermenting wine that is large enough to fill the hydrometer cylinder. Always sanitize the hydrometer and the cylinder before taking a reading. Look to the meniscus of the wine surface in relation to the hydrometer for the most accurate reading. When the wine is fermented to dryness (0.90 Specific Gravity), is has completed its primary fermentation. Allow the lees particles to settle, and then rack the wine into a sanitized container. Be sure that the container is filled within ½” of the top to prevent air exposure. At this point, it is imperative to add ¼ tsp of potassium metabisulfite per 5 gallons of wine. The sulfites will kill off any harmful microbes and prevent the wine from oxidizing.

13 Steps to Making Red Wine from Grapes

13 Steps to Making Red Wine from Grapes 

SONY DSC

1. Sanitize and Crush and Destem – Inspect your grapes and remove any moldy clusters. Crush and destem into clean and sanitized food grade plastic tubs, stainless steel tanks, or glass carboys or demijohns. Always allow an extra 20% of volume for fermentation purposes as the wine will “expand” throughout fermentation. Always rinse your fermentation vessel with a sanitizing strength potassium metabisulfite solution (2oz/gallon or 3tbsp/gallon). Make sure that the sanitizing solution touches all the surfaces of the fermentation vessel and that the vessel is completely emptied out of all sanitizing solution after. Shake free any drops as best you can from the fermentation vessel. Having remaining sulfite liquid in the vessel will prohibit fermentation. Do not rinse the sanitizer off with water after sanitizing as that will reintroduce bacteria to the environment.

2. Once all of the grapes are crushed, try to accurately measure your quantity of must. Add ¼ tsp of potassium metabisulfite for every 5 gallons of must that you have. Mix up the must thoroughly.

3. Wait for 6-8 hours after the sulfite addition and then add pectic enzyme to the must. Musto Wine Grape offers generic pectic enzyme or Color Pro pectic enzyme that is specifically designed for red wine grapes. Follow the directions for the individual type of enzyme. Always mix it with water to create a 10% solution (if you use 5mls of enzyme, mix it with 45mls of water). The water allows it to better circulate throughout the must. Allow the pectic enzyme to work for 12 hours before yeast set.

4. Twenty four hours after crushing the grapes, mix the container thoroughly and take and record your measurements. Measure Brix, pH, and TA. If you need to adjust your must at all, this is the time to do it. Ideally your Brix should be between 23-28 degrees, the pH between 3.4-3.7, and the TA between 6-7g/L. Your initial Brix reading, multiplied by .55, will give you a close estimate of your ending alcohol by volume percentage.

5. If you would like to use fermentation tannins (FT Rouge, oak dust) or fermentation nutrients such as Opti-Red, add them after measurements and adjustments have been made. Musto Wine Grape packages FT Rouge and Opti Red in small packs for 5 gallon batches. If using oak dust, use 1/4cup for every 5 gallons of must. Mix any of these ingredients in thoroughly.

6. After measurements have been taken and any adjustments have been made, it is time to set yeast if you are using a cultured yeast strain. Use 1gram/gallon of wine must. Follow the yeast set directions on the packet explicitly and/or see the separate “Yeast Set” instructions.

7. After you atemperate and add your yeast, you may cover the vessel lightly with an old sheet or towel or place the lid gently on top of the bucket, if an airlock is in place. An air lock will allow the carbon dioxide to escape the pail without additional air getting in to oxidize the wine.

8. Obtain a must punch tool, a long stainless steel spoon, or your bare hands, and sanitize your tool or hands with sulfite sanitizer. This is what you will use to “punch down” or mix up the must three times a day. Try to mix everything very well, pushing all of the skins back down to the bottom, getting them very wet, and bringing up the piqued from the bottom. This should be done as often as possible, preferably three times a day. [Before work (7am), after work(5pm), and before bed (10pm)] When punching down every evening, take a sample of the liquid and using your hydrometer, track the Brix depletion. You should notice a drop in Brix daily.

9. If you are using additional yeast nutrients to assist in fermentation you will add them after fermentation has started. Fermaid O is added at the beginning of fermentation (1 day after yeast set) and all others (BSG yeast nutrient, Fermaid K, AnchorFerm) will be added at 1/3 depletion of the Brix (2/3 of the beginning amount of Brix). Follow the directions for the individual yeast nutrient, hydrating with water and mixing thoroughly.

10. If you are adding malolactic cultures to your wine, you may also chose to do this at 1/3 Brix depletion. If using a malolactic nutrient (Opti-Malo Plus) with the bacterial culture, hydrate the nutrient in a separate container from the bacteria and add to the must directly before the addition of the bacteria. Follow all directions on the bacteria and nutrient packets explicitly.

11. Punch down and take Brix measurements daily. When your hydrometer reads 0.90, you have fermented to dryness. At this point your malolactic fermentation may still continue, but the primary alcoholic fermentation is complete. You may now press the wine. Wash the press and sanitize using potassium metabisulfite. Again, make sure the press does not have an excessive puddles or lingering amounts of sanitizing solution remaining. Sanitize the receiving container (carboy, tank, demijohn, barrel) and any pumps or tubing that you may use. Anything that comes in contact with the wine should be rinsed with sulfite sanitizing solution. Place a screen or mesh (also sanitized) inside of the press to hold back any extra skins or seeds from getting through. Start scooping up the must and placing it in the press. Some of the liquid will immediately flow through, this is the “free run”. When the press is full, slowly begin pressing. Do not try and press every last drop out of the must as this can lead to seed cracking and bitterness in the wine. Fill each container to within ½” of the top and secure a bung and airlock in place. Malolactic fermentation will exude a small amount of carbon dioxide and there will be trapped gas within the wine that will need to escape the container.

12. Allow the wine to sit for 2-3 weeks. You can conduct malolactic chromatography or bring a sample to a winemaker at Musto Wine Grape for analysis to ensure that your secondary fermentation is finished. At this point you should see a nice thick layer of lees in the bottom of the carboy or demijohn. You will want to place the full vessel onto an elevated surface such as a table and place the new, sanitized, empty vessel on the floor below. Using a sanitized siphon, rack the wine into the new carboy. You may have space at the top which will need to be “topped off” with more wine. You can either use wine from another container, or finished wine to do this. It is very important that there is less than a 1/2” of headspace in each container. At this point you should also add 1/4tsp of potassium metabisulfite per 5 gallons of wine.

13. Now it is time to let your wine age. You will need to rack it and add additional SO₂ every 3 months. Make sure you sanitize all equipment and containers when racking and keep them topped off within ½”. Come visit Musto Wine Grape for bottling advice and supplies.

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 8 – Grape Yield

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! 🙂

When should I bottle?

The answer to this question can have many directions. The simple answer is: when the wine is ready. On average, white wines may be bottled 6-12 months after fermentation. Red wines benefit more from bulk aging, that is, aging all of that varietal together in a large vessel such as a tank or barrel or carboy, rather than in individual bottles. A red wine should bulk age for at least a year before bottling. Premium red wines age for at least 3 years in large vessels before bottling.

Bottling Equipment

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

Red Wine Essence Aroma Kit

red wine_essences

Every “Wine Wednesday” we have decided to work on some type of wine education. This Wednesday we decided to focus on the aromas in Red Wine.

So the first question is – Where do wine aromas come from? Well they initially come from the grape and the terrior. Have you ever heard the quote “you can’t make great wine from bad grapes, but you can make bad wine from great grapes”? This couldn’t be more true. The grape is the starting point for the wine and its aromas. That being said, different grape varieties have different aromas associated with them. For example, most red wines have notes of dark berries and other plants. Specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon usually has aromas of black currant, mint, and violet. Each wine grape has a different aroma starting point which is impacted by where the grapes is grown, the yeast that is inoculated, oak, and any other additives that are introduced into the wine during the fermentation and aging process. Red wine aromas are complicated but pleasing representations of the vineyard & winemaker’s work.

When tasting wines many people have difficulty describing the different aromas they smell. The kit that we used challenged us to identity specific aromas and describe them. First, we smelled each essence and guessed what it was. We had some interesting descriptors…bubblegum, salt water, and aftershave just to name a few. When the actual aromas were revealed sometimes we were right and sometimes we were way off. But being challenged to describe what we smelled and training our sense of smell will only help us when making our own wines. This will also help us at wine judging events, winemaking events, and even when identifying faults.

All in all it was a great learning experience.

Stay tuned for more updates about our wine education courses (we will be adding a new aromas/faults class soon) and Spring Harvest Updates! Cheers!