Identifying Faults

“One not only drinks wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it and – one talks about it.” King Edward VII (1841-1910)

Now that you know how to find all of the great things in wine, let’s use these same skills to identify a few of the common flaws that from time to time show up in wine. Once we can identify them we can more easily correct them and make wines that please yourself, impress your friends and maybe even win medals!

Cloudy wine- this will usually result from inadequate clearing. Make sure your wine has properly cleared before bottling. Filtering is a great way to improve the visual aspect of your wine and will prevent drop out that can result from long-term aging.

Fizzy wine- This perception of fizziness is a result of excess CO2. Proper stirring when your wine kit instructions recommend will take care of this problem. The Whip is as handy tool that makes degassing easier.

Oxidation- Oxidation is the browning of the wine with a corresponding degradation of aroma and flavour (think of the flesh of an apple when exposed to air)- this problem can be easily cured by following the instructions that come with your wine kit. Only rack your wine when your instructions tell you to and always keep your carboy topped up when the instructions tell you to. If you are going to store your wine for more than six months, it is recommended that you add a little potassium metabisulphite to your wine. If your instructions recommend this, it is wise to do so. The sulphites will protect your wine from oxygen while aging.

Remember that a wine kit will not last forever. They have a shelf life of about 18 months. At this point, the juices and concentrates will start to oxidize before you even start to make the wine. Once this occurs, the wine has no chance to be good and with your newly acquired tasting skills you will be able to tell.



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