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Commonly Used Winemaking Additives
This is a list of some of the common additives used in winemaking and how they are used. There are countless others, but this list is a good start for any beginner.
Acid Blend: A combination of the three acids naturally found in fruit: Citric, Malic & Tartaric. Our Acid Blend contains 50% Malic, 40% Citric & 10% Tartaric. It is used to increase the acidity of wine that is made from fruit or grapes that do not contain enough acid. Citric Acid is a natural product found in, and derived from any citrus fruit. Malic Acid is naturally present in many fruits especially apples. Tartaric Acid is found predominantly in grapes. An Acid Test Kit may be used to determine the acidity and usage. ¾ Tsp. per gallon increases the acidity by .1%.
Anti Oxidant: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) has anti-oxidant properties, acting as preservative it helps preserve color in white wines. Use 2 crushed tablets or ½ teaspoon of powder per gallon of wine to prevent “Oxidizing” or browning. Dissolve in a little cold water before adding to the Wine.
Campden Tablet: Used to kill wild molds, bacteria and yeasts in the must. 1 Tablet contains .5 grams of Potassium Metabisulfite. Use 1 crushed tablet per gallon at the start. Do not add yeast until 24 hours after adding Campden.
Energizer: Vitamin mixture, almost pure vitamin B, which is also found in yeast nutrients To give the yeast a faster start, or for a slow or “stuck” fermentation’s add ½ teaspoon of Energizer powder per gallon of wine. (Sometimes called Yeast Energizer)
Nutrient: Yeast needs nutrients to stay active in many fruit, and all “Tea Wines”, (wines made from leafs or flower petals). Nutrient contains essential nutrients and vitamins to optimize yeast activity, promote rapid onset of fermentation and restart stuck fermentations. (Sometimes called Yeast Nutrient) Use 1 Tsp. per gallon.
Pectic Enzyme: Pectic enzyme aids in juice, color and flavor extraction. Acting together with the tannin it also helps to clear the wine. Use ½ teaspoon of the powder for each gallon of wine. If using liquid Pectic enzyme, use 10 to 15 Drops for fruit wine and 3 to 4 Drops for grape wines.
Stabilizer: Potassium Sorbate is used to stabilize wine before sweetening or when bottling a wine with residual sugar to prevent refermentation. Dissolve ½ teaspoon per gallon of wine in cold water. When dissolved add to the wine. Shelf life for stabilizer is 6 to 12 month, depending on storage conditions.
Sulfites: Potassium Metabisulfite or Sodium Metabisulfite is used for sanitation of equipment and sterilization of the must and to eliminate wild yeasts and bacteria from fresh fruit prior to fermentation with known yeast strains, and added after fermentation as anti-oxidant and preservative.
When adding to the wine:
Potassium Metabisulfite is preferred over Sodium Metabisulfite. It is believed to be better tasting with a longer shelf life, and is healthier, notably for diabetics (1/8 Tsp. per gal. yields 150 ppm; ¼ Tsp. per 5 gal. yields 40-50 ppm free SO2)
Campden is a small premeasured amount of Potassium Metabisulfite –use 1 Campden tablet per gallon.
To Sanitize Equipment:
Dissolve 2 oz. (3 Tablespoons) of Sulfite Crystals in 1 gallon of warm water. Crystals will dissolve completely in about 1 hour. This “Sterilizing Solution” is used as a final rinse in wine equipment. Remember everything that touches the wine, first needs to be sanitized. The mixed solution can be kept 4 months or more if the gallon Jug is kept tightly capped, and the characteristic odor remains.
WARNING: Some people may have a (allergic) reaction to sulfite, care should be taken when using it.
Tannin: Adds astringency or zest to wine, and aids in clearing. Occurs naturally in red wines fermented on the skins, but must be added to whites. Tannic acid is usually derived from the grape skin and stems. It also may be added by the use of oak barrels, or oak chips. Use only when required in the recipe and only in the amount specified.
Yeast: Yeast is the key ingredient in winemaking; it influences the flavor of wine as well as the amounts of alcohol produced. When selecting yeast also consider the temperature you plan to ferment at. Yeast intended for baking is not suitable for winemaking; use only yeast intended for winemaking.
Most wines will clear naturally over time, up to a year in some cases. Patience is the best clearing agent available since it doesn’t affect the balance of the wine so always give your wine a chance to clear naturally before trying a fining agent. There are 3 reasons wine fail to clear.
Pectin – Pectin is found in fruits including grapes. Pectin haze is more easily prevented than corrected. Using a pectic enzyme in the primary fermentation whether the recipe calls for it or not will greatly reduce or eliminate pectin haze.
Protein – If you used Pectic enzyme in the primary fermentation and a haze still persists it could be caused by protein. In this case fining is recommended. We recommend using a product like Super Kleerâ Finings to eliminate protein haze.
Starch - Starch haze is primarily found in wines made from grains and roots but may also result from using starchy fruits such as bananas. To help prevent starch haze strain must through a straining bag, allow to drip or press very lightly. To clear starch haze use Amylase Enzyme.
Amylase Enzyme: An Enzyme that helps to reduce starch haze by converting it into dextrins, maltose and glucose. Use 1 tsp. per gallon. Dissolve in 1 Cup of wine.
Bentonite: Naturally occurring mineral fining agent which drops through wine, absorbing haze forming proteins and other suspended matter. Mix 2 ½ Tsp. Per 5-6 gallons in one cup of boiling water until thoroughly dissolved. Prepare the solution 24 hours in advance for better effectiveness. Mixed Bentonite has a very long shelf life; several batches can be made at once and stored in a closed jar until ready to use.
Sparkolloid: Fining agent containing diatomaceous earth and alginates (dried egg whites. Used primarily for red wines. Sparkolloid is a very useful clarifying agent if it is properly used. Use 1 teaspoon of powder per gallon if the wine is hazy. Double the amount if the Wine is Cloudy. The powder is added to 1 cup of water and boiled for 30-45 minutes with frequent stirring. As the volume boils down, more water must be added back to the original amount. A double boiler makes the task easier but it takes at least the full 45 minutes of boiling time. A quicker way to prepare Sparkolloid is to boil it in a ¼ cup of water (per gallon) for ten minutes in a microwave oven. In any case it is important to adhere to the long boiling time. While still hot, add it carefully to the wine, using a funnel and stir. In about three days it should begin to clear at the top and slowly settle to the bottom. The sediment is somewhat mobile and tends to settle into the bottom edges of the carboy. If that happens, carefully rock the carboy gently. This will help to settle the sediment into a more manageable thickness.
Super Kleer Finings: Promotes flocculation of suspended proteins & other matter, producing a clearer wine. Kiesosol & Chitosan formulations. Use according to package instructions.