Home Winemaking For Dummies
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As a home winemaker, you ferment grapes to produce your own wine. Along the way, you use some unique tools and techniques, as well as some words that have distinct meaning for winemakers. Brush up on your wine-speak with these essential terms:

  • Brix: Measure of sugar percentage by weight in a liquid — in this case, grape juice.

  • Carboy: Narrow-mouthed glass or plastic jug used for fermenting and storing home wines for aging.

  • Crush: Frenetic annual season when the grapes come in; also the specific process of cracking grape skins to liberate juice.

  • Fermentation: Process by which yeast turns sugar into alcohol and grape juice into wine.

  • Fining: Removing specific compounds — like excess tannins — from wine with a specialized fining agent.

  • Malolactic fermentation: Optional process in which bacteria turn malic acid into lactic acid, softening wine.

  • Mouthfeel: Texture of a wine in the mouth, different from aroma and flavor, but just as important.

  • Must: Juice, with or without skins, pulp, and seeds, ready for fermentation.

  • pH: Balance of acidic and base properties in a liquid; on a 14-point scale, wine falls between 3.0 and 4.0.

  • Press: Squeezing juice or wine out of grapes; also the machinery performs this task.

  • Racking: Transferring wine from one container to another, leaving dead yeast and other detritus behind.

  • Stuck fermentation: Problem arising when stressed yeast give up, leaving unfermented sugar and producing off odors — not a good thing.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Tim Patterson writes about wine and makes some of his own in Berkeley, California. He contributes the monthly "Inquiring Winemaker" column for the industry trade magazine Wines & Vines, digging into winemaking theories and techniques, and he covered home winemaking for several years in the pages of WineMaker. He has won dozens of Gold medals, Double Golds, and Best of Shows from amateur winemaking competitions in California.

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