877.812.1137

winemaking

2020 Lodi Wine Grape Harvest Update {7/9/20}

The 2020 Lodi Wine Grape harvest is starting to take shape. Crop timing is about 5 to 7 days ahead of last year, making it more of a “normal” crop year. The fruit set is looking average to light, but mostly average in size. This should produce good, well balanced berries for winemaking. Lodi has had ideal wine growing weather and is expected to have a great harvest this year.

Mettler Ranch_Grenache_Musto Wine Grape_Winemaking Instructions_How to make wine

Here’s a quick look at some of Lodi’s more popular varieties and when they might start to harvest:

Chardonnay

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/25/20

Pinot Grigio

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/21/20

Pinot Noir

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/28/20

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/5/20

Sauvignon Blanc

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/26/20

Merlot

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/4/20

Zinfandel

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/4/20

Mettler Ranch_Grenache_Musto Wine Grape_Winemaking Instructions_How to make wine

If you are interested in purchasing wine grapes or winemaking juices this fall please email sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137 for pricing and information. We are looking forward to speaking with you about your 2020 vintage!

A note about Covid-19 precautions: Delta packing continues to be extra vigilant when it comes to the safety of their employees and customer to ensure that the grapes are harvested and shipped safely this year. In the vineyards and main facility, temperature checks are taken daily for everyone, hand washing and sanitation stations are in every work area, and social distancing is required.

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.

Milk Loaf Recipe Using 71B Yeast

milk loaf recipe yeast 71B scott labratories

 

Have you run out of ideas for what to keep yourself busy with during quarantine? We’ve decided to experiment and the results were delicious. Using 71B yeast and Scott Lab’s recipe for milk loaf, we put our baking skills to the test and had a whole bunch of fun doing it!

Prep time runs just about two and a half hours, and bake time is about 25 minutes so this will surely keep you busy!

Here’s what you’ll need (for a yield of 2 loaves. If you’d like more increase ingredients as needed):

  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 sachets (9 grams) of Lalvin 71B Yeast (Don’t have this on hand? No worries! We have it in stock. Give us a call/visit and we’ll get you what you need!)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 1 cup tap water

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then, add butter, milk and water. Mix everything together with a spatula.
  • Once the wet ingredients have been absorbed, remove dough from bowl and transfer to a counter or workspace.
  • Extensively knead the dough by stretching and folding it repeatedly. Once the dough is smooth and slightly shiny, divide it into two pieces. Cover each with plastic and let rise for 40 minutes.
  • Flatten each piece of dough and roll into the shape of a football. Let the dough rise again for another 40 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a bread pan (about 6”-7” long, 3.5” deep) and cover with plastic and allow to rise for another 60 minutes.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 420 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Show us your finished loaves on Instagram and Facebook by commenting or tagging us @mustowinegrapeco and using the hashtag #mustocrushcrew

Winemaking Spotlight: Chilean Carmenere

It’s been a rough week to say the least…. So I opened one of the special bottles I brought back from my trip to Chile to help me relax. Which of course got me thinking about the wine I want to make this year. After drinking the Envero Gran Reserva Carmenere I think I have found my blend – 90% Carmenere and 10% Cabernet.

chilean carmenere-winemaking-musto wine grape

Wine Tasting Notes:

“Red-violet in color, brilliant and vivid, our Apaltagua Gran Reserva Envero shows ripe blackberries, tobacco, and spices. It possesses a remarkable combination of ripe fruit notes and oak mixed with vanilla. Its flavor is juicy, full, and concentrated, highlighting the softness in the mouth and the raspberry and plum tannins with a touch of tobacco. It has a long and lingering finish.”

chilean carmenere-winemaking-musto wine grape

After enjoying this wine with my husband, he is totally on board with making it this spring season. So we discussed different ways to make Carmenere – things to consider, things to watch out for, and how to create the wine vibe we want. Below are some notes from our discussion on how we are going to attempt to re-create this bottle, as well as some information about where our Carmenere grapes come from.

FYI I have an alert on from Wine.com for when this wine becomes available to purchase in the US. If anyone is interested email me (cmusto@juicegrape.com) and I will share when I get the alert that it’s back in stock.

Winemaking Ideas:

Yeast: CSM

Why did we decide on CSM? This yeast was derived from Bordeaux and helps create intense aromatic profiles of berries, spice, and licorice. It also helps counteract and reduce vegetal aromas and flavors. CSM aids in adding complexity to the palate and pairs well with malolactic fermentation.

Malo: VP41

We have decided to use VP41 as our malolactic bacteria because it is known for steady fermentations and helps with wine structure. We will most likely co-inoculate in order to ensure that our malo completes sooner than later.

For more information about Timing your Malolactic Fermentation click here.

TA and pH levels in Chilean Carmenere

Personally adjusting TA and pH always makes me a little nervous. Who else is with me? Acidity can be a tough stylistic balance between sweetness and astringency. It is also essential in preserving and keeping your wine safe and age worthy. You want your must to be around 6-8 grams per liter for red wines. The pH is next in the balancing act which should be around 3.3 – 3.6 in red wines. Keep in mind if you have to do adjustments, like add acid, your pH will decrease. You want to make sure your pH is in the above range. It is more important for your pH to be within the right range than your TA. This is because your pH is critical to a good fermentation and avoiding bacteria and spoilage during aging. Below are a few articles you can check out to read up on pH and TA if you need a refresher. Also, we sell the best home winemaking book in my opinion called “Techniques in Home Winemaking” by Daniel Pambiachi. If you don’t already have it I would suggest ordering it. For more information on pH and TA I’ve referenced some articles below.

How do I test for pH?

How do I test for Acid?

The Carmenere came in at a TA of .64 g/l and a pH of 3.84. So we adjusted the TA to 0.8 g/l and the pH to 3.56. This way our pH was in a stable range. Since we made adjustments last year, we are expecting to do a few adjustments to the must up front this season.

Watch Fermentation Temperatures

Our CSM yeast has great temperature range of 57F to 90F. Since we don’t have the best temperature control, I like the flexibility it offers. However, we will need to keep track of our temperatures every day and try to make sure that the must never goes over 85F because we do not want to burn off any positive aromas.

No Cold Soak

We aren’t going to do a cold soak because we don’t want to extract any extra pyrazines in the wine. Pyrazines are an organic compound in wine grapes that gives off flavors and aromas similar to green peppers.

Brix Levels in Previous Carmenere

The Brix levels are very important when working with wine grapes. You want to make sure that your yeast can handle the amount of sugar in the grapes. The Carmenere grapes from Chile are picked off of 18 year old vines. So there is always a range of Brix levels, and the age of these vines help create a lot of complexity and intensity in the wines. Old vines are my favorite! The CSM yeast can take up to 14% ABV so we are usually in the right range with how the grapes have arrived in the past; which is a maximum of 25 degrees Brix. In 2019 our Brix were 25.5.

Blend Decision

90% of Carmenere and 10% of Cabernet or make it 100% Carmenere. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not sure why this blend works so well but it does and I’m looking forward to duplicating it. However, there is a lot to consider here. We don’t have an aging vessel for 10% Cabernet, so we won’t be able to do a separate fermentation. We will have to do a field blend of all the grapes at once. If our cellar was bigger and we had more storage options, I would ferment the Carmenere and Cabernet separately, age them separately, and then blend before bottling.

Possibly do a little French oak

The winemaker who made this Carmenere aged it in 60% American and French oak barrels and 40% in stainless steel tanks. Considering we don’t have a large set up and multiple storage vessels we’ve decided to use French oak chips. This is because we enjoy the notes that French oak gives to the wine – vanilla, cedar, butter, cream soda, toasted bread, graham cracker, and marshmallow. Also, the wine we enjoyed had very silky tannins; usually attributed to French oak additions. Silky tannins are also attributed to micro-oxidation from aging in a barrel. If that doesn’t work we might utilize some Noblesse to help soften the tannins in the future.

Racking and Filtering Thoughts

We talked about racking the wine 3-4 times and to splash rack when we do for at least the first 2 rackings, if we are getting a rotten egg smell. We will most likely use a course filter 4 months after malo has completed and a medium (polish) filter week before bottling. Many people are nervous about filtering red wines, thinking it will strip wine of color. Don’t be concerned, it only takes out sediment and it really cleans up the wine.

Cellar bottles for 6 months

This is what the winemaker did with his wines, so we are going to try to do this with ours. Although the wine geek in me wants to drink it right away and maybe drink one bottle a month for “research purposes” (of course) to see the change and differences time in the bottle makes. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it. As for the types of bottles we will most likely use the CWA-018. I like the antique green color and the height gives more of a reserve style feel to the wine in my opinion. Also, we will use colmated corks as we will want to try to do some aging trials.

Viticulture Information:

Chile’s wine growing success is due to the cooling influences they receive from the Pacific Ocean, the Andes Mountains, and the warm and plentiful sunshine. Their warm Mediterranean climate allows for grapes to fully ripen and avoid fungal diseases. There is a current called the Humboldt Current that flows up from Antarctica, along the Chilean coast, and the cool air is pushed inland by the wind patterns. This cooling effect helps cool off the grapes during those sunny days. Colchagua and Curico Valley both benefit from this ocean influence; which allows these regions to produce grapes from fertile soil for wines that are gaining premium reputations.

Arrival Estimates:

The Chilean grapes and juices should start arriving in late April, early May. Once the grapes are harvested we will have more details.

Grapes Available from Chile:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.

Juice Available from Chile:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Muscat.

For more information on how to make Chilean Carmenere check out my 2019 vintage recipe here. For more information on how to order your grapes and juices please email cmusto@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137.

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy during these challenging times!

Sincerely,

Christina Musto

 

7 Wine Making Activities to help you get through the Quarantine

 

winemaking-home winemaking-how to make wine

  1. Clean out your winemaking cellar/area. As we all know, you can never be too clean in your wine making area. This may be the perfect time for a little spring cleaning. Sweep, mop, and disinfect the floor of your winemaking area. Never use bleach! You can use Mr. Clean cleaner, as it is bleach free and a good disinfectant. In a pinch, you can also mop with some B-Brite and then rinse it off very well (possibly even twice) to clear off any residue.
  2. Clean out your winemaking “pantry”. Go through all of your packages of additives such as nutrients, potassium metabisulfite, and tannins, and discard things that are over a year old. Many additives can absorb moisture and lose their effectiveness, so it is imperative to store them in sealed plastic bags, sealed plastic containers, or mason jars. Try to get rid of anything very old and make a list of items you have on hand for your next winemaking session. It will make buying new ingredients so much easier.
  3. Rack….. When wines sit and age for a bit of time, acids and tannins can fall out in precipitate, forming a layer of sludge on the bottom of your vessel. Rack your wine off of this sludge to keep it clean and delicious.
  4. Check sulfite levels and make additions. While racking the wine, it’s the ideal time to check your sulfite level and add some. If you do not have the ability to test sulfites, drop off a 200ml sample at Musto Wine Grape, and we can test it for you and let you know how much to add. If you can’t leave home, use the general rule of adding ¼ tsp of Potassium Metabisulfite per 5 gallons of wine, every 2 months. This will keep your wine fresh and tasty.
  5. Bench Trials! There is room for improvement in every wine. With all of this extra time on our hands, it may be the ideal time to try some experimental bench trials with new products. Would your wine benefit from a fining agent such as Noblesse or Gelatin? Would a little flashgum or glycerin smooth out the finish? This is the time to see if any subtle additions to your wine may take it to the next level.
  6. Taste Test! Now is a great time to give your wines a taste and think about them critically. Try to get as many opinions as possible. Got a wine loving neighbor or friend? Give them a small sample and ask their opinion. Their feedback may lead to you improving your wine in a new way. At the very least, you can have a nice time enjoying the fruits of your labor and deciding on how to improve it, or how much to make next vintage!
  7.  Re-read old Winemaker Magazines or Winemaker Bootcamp Notes to get some winemaking inspiration and brush up on your winemaking skills. You never know what new tips and tricks you’ll learn by re-reading your favorite winemaking materials.

For more information about how MWG is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, please click HERE. During these challenging times we hope you and your family stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

The Musto Wine Grape Company

 

Top 7 Do’s and Don’ts for Winemaking in Your Home Winery

Let’s face it. There are A LOT of things that can go wrong during the winemaking process. Here are 7 tips for your home winery to help ensure your wine is as tasty as ever.

winemaking do's and don'ts

  • Don’t use bleach!

    • While bleach is a great way to clean your bathroom, it is very hazardous to your winery.
    • Chlorine bleach is toxic to humans and should never be used to clean any vessels that are used for food purposes.
    • Bleach molecules also are prone to lodging themselves in cellulose material. They quickly attach to wood, cardboard, and cork, even through airborne transmission. This is the cause of cork taint, an irreparable wine fault. When the corks have been contaminated with chlorine bleach, they will contaminate the wine they come in contact with, causing a musty, stale aroma.
  • Do a weekly check of airlocks, tank seals, and barrel bungs.

    • Accidents happen, and sadly, many accidents can be avoided. Make a good habit of doing a weekly walk through of your home winery.
    • Check that your airlocks have the appropriate amount of water.
    • Check the gaskets on any tank lids are inflated and on correctly.
    • Check that barrel bungs are securely in place and barrels are completely filled up. These small steps can prevent oxidation before it starts.
  • Do rinse off soda ash and B-Brite, Don’t wash off sulfite solution or 1-Step sanitizer.

    • Soda Ash and B-Brite are excellent cleaners in the winery. They can help remove the toughest wine stains and wine debris from tanks and carboys.
    • They should always be treated like soap and be rinsed off thoroughly.
    • A wise additional step is to neutralize any remaining soap with a citric acid rinse. Sulfite solution or 1-step sanitizer can then be applied to sanitize any vessels or equipment. This should not be rinsed off but the equipment should be allowed to drain or remove any bulk remaining pools of sanitizer.
  • Do add sulfites when you rack (every 8 weeks).

    • As wine ages, sediment will fall out in precipitate.
    • Wine should be siphoned off of the precipitate every few months to maintain clarity and “cleanliness”.
    • This is an ideal time to add sulfites. Add 1/4tsp of sulfite powder per 5 gallons of wine. Sulfite powder should always be dissolved in warm water before being stirred into the wine.
  • Don’t reuse store bought bottles.

    • While it may seem like a very cost effective step, reusing old bottles can lead to many problems further down the road.
    • Never try to put a cork on a screw top bottle! The glass is thinner where the threads are and when trying to remove the cork using a wine opener, the glass is highly prone to cracking.
    • All bottles are made differently and can have different diameter necks. It is very important to have the same size corks and bottles to prevent leaks later on. Conversely, if the corks are too large for the bottle, it will be very hard to insert them and this can damage the cork.
  • Don’t soak or boil the corks!

    • Soaking or boiling the corks prior to inserting them will actually degrade their quality.
    • They will absorb too much liquid and can become brittle or leach the liquid into the bottled wine.
    • Instead, lightly mist the corks with sulfite spray prior to bottling.
    • Always keep leftover corks in a sealed container.
  • Do Mop up Spills!

    • Spills are inevitable in a winery. Be careful to mop up any spills that occur and clean well with a non-bleach cleaner.
    • Wipe the exterior of carboys and tanks to be sure there isn’t any wine residue.
    • Wipe lids of tanks often if there is any leaking from the airlock or seal.
    • If wine spills or leaks are left to sit, it can easily turn acetic, which is an easy source of contamination to the wine. Fruit flies can land on the spill and transfer acetic bacteria into your wine if they happen to land in it.
Interested in making your own wine? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! We are New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We can get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing for next fall! Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

How much wine will a case of grapes make from Chile or South Africa?

Each case of wine grapes from Chile and South Africa is 18lbs. Depending on the grape variety, you should yield about 1.5-2 gallons of must per case.

south african shiraz- wine- winemaking - how to make wine

Certain wine grapes are “juicier” than others. For example, Syrah is considered a “juicer” grape than a Cabernet. If you look closely, you can see the difference in the shape of the berries. The Syrah grape has more of an “egg” shaped berry to it. The Cabernet is more of a circle shaped berry. The berry size, climate, soil, and vineyard practices will all help determine how much juice is produced in each berry, and the berry intensity.
Syrah - wine - winemaking - how to make wine

Syrah

Cabernet Sauvignon - wine - winemaking - how to make wine

Cabernet Sauvignon

Usually each case of 18lb wine grapes will yield about 1.25-1.50 gallons of finished wine.
That equates to about 7 bottles of wine.

Other factors that influence how much must and/or juice you yield per case:

  • How your rollers are positioned in your crusher destemmer

  • How much you press after fermentation is completed

  • How much wine you loose during racking

  • If you barrel age your wine

  • If drink a lot of wine during bottling 😉

Keep these topics in mind when you are deciding on how many cases of grapes you want purchase versus how much wine you want to make.

Interested in making wine from Chilean grapes? Check out this POST

Interested in making wine from South African grapes? Check out this POST

We hope this information helps! If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out via sales@juicegrape.com or 877-812-1137. Cheers!

 

What’s Going in the Winery? – December Wine Racking

December is all about Racking, Racking, Racking!

Tis the season for holiday gatherings and fun, but don’t neglect your wine. Your wine should be pressed (if necessary) and racked a minimum of two times at this point.

winter in the winery-racking wine

Racking is the process of transferring the wine to a fresh, sanitized container, to remove it from the sediment that has fallen out of suspension. This a natural way to clarify your wine.

A few racking tips:

  • Make sure you sanitize the siphon tubing, pumps, and new vessel thoroughly with sulfites
  • Always top up the new container as much as possible up to 1” of the top
  • Try not to disturb the layer of sediment on the bottom of the original vessel by keeping the siphon tip close to the surface of the wine.
  • To read more information about how to rack you wine click here
Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! We are New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We can get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing for next fall! Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Pick a Press

How to Pick a Press

Which kind is right for you?

One of the most visually iconic and useful tools in winemaking is the wine press. It is the device that will separate the solids and skins from the precious juice or fermented wine. There are a couple different kinds you have to choose from, though they are at their core the same in that they use pressure to push hard against the skins to extract the remaining juice or wine that has not already become separated from the skins.
But upon investing in a wine press, how does one select a size and style? Here are some tips on selecting your first wine press:

Picking a Style

There is more than one way to press a grape! For home winemakers, there are two main styles of wine press that you can choose from: ratchet press or a bladder press.

  • A ratchet press often has wooden sides and lid that hold in the grape must with a steel center rod and bottom juice tray. The grapes are loaded into the center of the press and large blocks are stacked on top of make up any lost volume. Then the lid is ratcheted down, applying vertical pressure from the top down upon the grapes. This style of press does an excellent job with extraction. The user must be careful not to exert too much pressure on the must as they are liable to crack seeds, which can release bitterness into the wine.

The ancient and traditional ratchet press

  • A bladder press is similar in shape to a ratchet press but operates differently. Bladder presses have metal sides and lids to hold in the grape must along with the traditional metal bottom. They work via water pressure. Simply attach a garden hose to the inlet valve and the water will inflate a center bladder which exerts horizontal pressure against the grape must. This style of press exerts more gentle and even pressure to the grape must. The press must be filled up to the top to avoid “mushrooming” and bursting the center bladder.

Pressing red using a bladder press. Note the stainless steel exterior.

Considerations

Choosing a reasonable size

When selecting a new press, the size options can be overwhelming. There are many different sizes of press, often measured in liters. Always take into account the must volume versus your end produced volume. If you anticipate to make 10 gallons of finished wine, you should anticipate on having 12-13 gallons of must, as the skins take up an additional 20% of the volume. You can always fill the press multiple times, but you should average at least an hour per press fill. Rather than do a huge load and then a much smaller one, it is preferable to split up each load so they will be pressed in roughly equal amounts. This will aid in giving the pressed juices/wines more uniformity.

Will your production size increase over time?

Also factor in the possibility of growth when selecting a press size. Winemaking is contagious and you may want to increase your batch size when you begin to drink your delicious results! It’s often wise to purchase a slightly larger ratchet press to accommodate for growth. If you purchase a slightly larger bladder press than what you may currently have for must, you can add rice hulls to the must to increase volume to properly inflate your bladder.

Other considerations

If you’re not a “sanitation is key” winemaker (and hopefully you are!) then a ratchet press may not necessarily be the best of these two choices. Since wood is porous, if you don’t remain cleanly every step of the way, then you may find yourself dealing with some very unwanted spoilage bacteria down the road. Getting a stainless steel bladder press will make it easier for you to be certain that every surface is completely cleaned and sanitized both pre- and post- use.

A “cake” is the press aftermath when using a ratchet press.

A wine press is a fundamental tool in home winemaking. It can dramatically increase your yield and quality. Knowledgeable staff at Musto Wine Grape can help you pick out the press that is the right fit for you!

How to Improve Color and Mouthfeel When Making Red Wine

No Wimpy Wines!

How to Improve Color and Mouthfeel when Making Red Wine

red wine-making red wine-how to make red wine-musto wine grape

A more common complaint amongst home winemakers is that their red wine lacks the depth of color and full body and mouthfeel that they would prefer. Everyone loves a wine that has a heavier mouthfeel, giving the sensation of whole milk or cream on the palette. While it is not always an indicator of quality, many folks associate deeply pigmented red wines with being higher quality. Both color and mouthfeel can be easily managed or enhanced at fermentation through the following factors:

Physical Manipulation:

wine press-winemaking-how to make wine

When selecting the grapes for your batch of wine, it is important to know what kind of wine characteristics that they generate naturally and how that matches up with your personal indicators of quality. If you favor very deeply pigmented wines, perhaps the integration of a very dark grape into your blend will help to boost color, right from the crush. Even a 10% addition of a deeply colored grape such as Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, or Chambourcin can enhance the overall color of your batch and not detract from the primary varietal’s unique flavor character.

Cold soaking the grapes is another way to physically manipulate the grapes to achieve better color extraction. After crush, grapes can be lightly sulfited, and then allowed to cold soak, provided that they are kept around 40°F. Keeping the must around 40°F is important to inhibit yeast or bacterial growth in the must. There are many ways to keep the grapes this cold, including putting them in a refrigerator, using dry ice, using frozen sanitized jugs of water, or creating a small chilling closet with air conditioning and temporary walls. The extended cold soak will allow the condensed grape skin tannins to leach out and help lock in color by binding to color pigment molecules (anthocyanins). The addition of pectic enzymes during the cold soak will also aid in the color securing process.

Nutrient Additions:

wine yeast-wine nutrients-wine fermentation

The additions of various supplemental nutrients will affect the color and mouthfeel positively. Booster Rouge and Opti-Red are supplemental nutrients for red wine fermentation that help to increase mid palette mouthfeel and enhance color stability. Opti-Red is high in polysaccharides that will help to lock in color pigments and create a more intense color. Booster Rouge is a yeast derivative nutrient that helps to contribute mid-palette volume and firmer structure to wines. Both of these nutrients also help with creating a smoother tannic profile to red wines.

Tannin Additions:

oak chips-winemaking

The addition of tannins at crush to the grape must will help to contribute to the overall mouthfeel of red wines, but more specifically to the mid-palette volume of the wine. Products such as FT Rouge or Oak Dust can be added to the must at the beginning of fermentation to act as sacrificial tannins for the yeast to consume throughout their metabolic process. Rather than have the yeast consume the grape tannins, they will consume the oak tannins, leaving the preferred grape skin tannins. This will help to increase the overall preferred tannin content of the wine, increasing the overall mouthfeel and perceived palette volume. FT Rouge is also very effective at locking in color pigments, working synergistically with the previously listed nutrients.

Every wine we make has the opportunity to be the best vintage yet. Following these tips may help you to improve your wines potential for greatness!