WINE MAKING GLOSSARY

1118 – Champagne yeast strain Lavlin – EC1118. Many believe this can be used with anything to make wine, grapes, tomato leaves, dead budgies, shoes…

1.08 / 1.09 – Generally the starting gravity of most wines creating a 13% ABV. If a recipe states higher than that a dipso’ wrote it and you are making moonshine that will blind you and your loved ones.

 

ACID – One oft he three basic flavors of wine. See SWEETNESS and TANNIN

AIR LOCK – Allows gas out but no bacteria in so basically like the wine makers doorman.

AUTOLYSIS – The breakdown of dead yeasts creating certain flavors in sparking wines and some other white wines.

 

BACK SWEETEN – After a wine has aged it needs to be stabilized to neutralize the yeast. After this sugar can be added to your taste preference.

BALANCE – The holy grail of the three wine tastes – sweetness/tannin/acidity

BENTONITE – A clay added to settle particles in wine. Also gives Benton the dog his name on the famous McNally’s wine label.

BULK AGING – Did you forget to bottle your wine or pretend the demijohn was a barrel and you had a wine cave and chateau and a French wife called Amelie? Congratulations you bulk aged!

BUNG – Not the football manager type but the rubber or silicone stopper than holds the air lock.

BRIX – Sugar measurement and friend of Gok Wan.

 

CALCIUM CARBONATE/PRECIPITATED CHALK – Chalk that is added to neutralise high acid content of fruit

CARBOY/CARBOUY – There will probably be some complex definition but its the American name for a Demijohn

CAMPDEN TABLET – Often mispronounced sanitizing and inoculation tablet.

CAP – The floating raft of fruit pulp raised during fermentation.

CAP – A stretching “bung” on wide necked demijohns

CARBON DIOXIDE/CO2 – waste gas from fermentation that needs to escape. If too much is left at bottling the wine will taste more acidic than it actually is! The only time you want some is for a sparkling wine.

CARBONIC MACERATION – If you cover grapes in inert gas rather than oxygen and leave it natural fermentation will start inside the grape with unique taste properties created. Forget it – you cant recreate it!

CHIPPING – throwing in some manky old wood chips (probably MDF from Honest Dave) to simulate the surface area of a wine barrel. Creates a more aged taste for a red wine, virtually un-tastable in a white.

COLD CRASH – Pop your must in the fridge. Bingo you’ve cold crashed! Over a number of days it cools the wine settling some particles and crystallizes some compounds

COLD SOAK/MACERATION – Soaking some fruits in cold water 7 to 15 degrees C can help extract colour and flavor from skins. Elderberry, gooseberry and black currant wines can all benefit from this.

COLD STABALISATION – Using almost freezing temperatures to settle POTASSIUM BITARTRATE crystals.

COUNTRY WINE – Fruit wine other than grapes. The only wine British people can make as climate, soil and farming ability mean grapes are illegal to grow.

CONCENTRATE – Either red or white grape juice in concentrated form to give body to other ingredients. I consider it cheating for absolutely no reason at all.

CROWN – beer making term for the cap. The horrific scab of fruit pulp lifted during primary fermentation. If left floating it can oxidize and flavor the wine.

CUVEE – posh french word for wine vessel or sample.

 

DE-GAS – The process of carbon dioxide escaping your wine. It can be natural through time or done artificially with a vacuum or wine whip

DEMIJOHN – Your nice big glass fermentation vessel 4.5 litres and up. 2 litre ones can be found that are ‘semi-demijohns’ rumours of ‘hemi-semi-demijohns’ exist but have not been observed in the wild

DRY – the opposite of sweet but still wet oddly. A dry wine has all the sugar fermented to alcohol.

 

(YEAST) ENERGISER – See YEAST NUTRIENT

ENZYMES – Various types digests certain compounds like pectin or starch to remove them from wine

ESTERS – Mystical space things that people pretend to know about. Complex tasting compounds.

 

FERMENTATION – Yeast turning sugar to alcohol, the byproduct is carbon dioxide bubbling off.

FININGS – settling agents.

FLOCULATION – Yeast that clumps together.

FLOR/FLOR YEAST – The yeast that gives sherry its unique taste, starts late in production as a second fermentation.

FOAM OVER – Some yeasts create bubbles and these can bubble out your airlock creating a risk of infection. Making Strawberry wine? Prepare for a foam over!

FREE SO2 – short hand for FREE SUPHUR DIOXIDE that needs to escape during degassing.

GRAVITY – The density of your wine. High densities have a lot of dissolved sugar as this ferments it turns to less dense alcohol.

GROSS LEES – French for the ‘big lees’ of fruit pulp and yeast during primary fermentation. Sounds better than wine muck.

HYDROMETER – The third piece of kit any home wine maker should buy. A little buoy that measures how dense the wine must is. The more sugar the denser and higher it floats. As fermentation happens dissolved sugar turns to alcohol making it float lower.

 

INOCULATE – Using campden to kill bacteria and yeast in a must or cold soak.

 

LEES – french term for the sediment that gets removed from wine.

 

MACERATION – Fruit in contact with water extracting flavors. Some are water soluble, others are alcohol soluble like tannin

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION – An advanced technique turning malic acid onto lactic acid mellowing some wines. Good luck!

MUST – Young wine as it ferments with the fruit/skins/yeast present.

MATURATION – see BULK AGING

METABISULFATE – see POTASSIUM METABISULFATE

MOUTH FEEL – Hnnnhuhuhuh… The fulsome sensation of wine that water just does not have.

 

NUTRIENT – See YEAST NUTRIENT

 

OAKED/OAKING – Chipping wine but specifically with you know oak…

OXALIC ACID – Strong stubborn acid present in some fruit wines most notably Rhubarb

OXIDATION – Wine must reacting with oxygen that is generally unwanted unless for a sherry taste. Many worry about it as if it happens instantaneously but in actuality is either difficult to allow or bad luck.

 

PECTIC ENZYME / PECTINAISE – Headbutts Pectin into submission so your wine stays as wine not alcoholic jam.

PITCH/PITCHING YEAST – adding yeast. Adding yeast with a fancy name to impressed your friends.

PECTIN – The thickening agent in jam that comes from fruits. Rose hips have a ton, strawberries some and elder flowers none so choose wisely.

POTASSIUM BITARTRATE – Cream of Tartar for all the cooks out there or TARTARIC ACID that drops out of acid as crystals using COLD STABALIZATION.

POTASSIUM METABISULFITE – the active ingredient of CAMPDEN TABLETS

PRECIPITATED CHALK/CALCIUM CARBONATE – Chalk that is added to neutralise high acid content of fruit

PRIMARY / PRIMARY FERMENTATION – The loosely defined early fermentation from the first to fourth to seventh day. Two thirds of the alcohol will be produced as the yeast parties hard.

PUNCH / PUNCH DOWN – pressing the fruit cap down in primary fermentation so it does not oxidize and allows flavors to be released

RACK – The teeth gnashingly stressful process of siphoning wine from one demijohn to another to leave the lees behind. I hate it.

RIDDLING – Tedious work intensive but necessary process making a home made champagne – A hollow cap holds the lees for easy removal… easy as in not impossible…

 

SANITIZE – Partial antibacterial cleanse

SECONDARY FERMENTATION – The loosely defined later fermentation from about 7 days to the end of fermentation. About a third of the alcohol will be produced during this as the yeast get tired.

SECOND FERMENTATION – A separate fermentation after the initial one. this could be with another yeast as in sherry or high ABV wines or through errors like adding sugar accidentally.

SEDIMENT – grit you done want that falls to the bottom

SODIUM BENZOATE – Stabilizing compound that stops yeast reproducing essentially locking fermentation

SODIUM METABISULPHITE – Stabilizing compound that stops yeast reproducing essentially locking fermentation

SPARG BAG – Muslin, cheese cloth or an old pair of tights that holds fruits so a cap does no form. If you are making blackberry wine use one as the explosive blackberry cap gets out of primary like The Blob and stains absolutely everything. Sorry Ms Gazette! It allows easy extraction and squeezing too.

SPECIFIC GRAVITY – A gravity reading to compare to your STARTING GRAVITY

STARTER / STARTING SOLUTION – some yeast need a head start in a wine solution before being added to the must. Don’t worry no one ever uses it.

STABALIZE – using a stabilizing agent to effectively kill the yeast (yes yes it just stops it dividing rather than killing it blah blah blah)

START GRAVITY/SG – The initial density just as fermentation begins. Keep a note as you need it to calculate the ABV when compared against the closing gravity.

STERALIZE – Total antibacterial cleanse through chemicals or heat.

STUCK FERMENTATION – Your yeast has thrown its toys out the pram and stopped fermenting below the potential alcohol level you would imagine.

SULFITE – see POTASSIUM METABISULFITE

SULFAR DIOXIDE/SO2 – sterilizing gas given off by campden tablets and others. Needs to dissipate before bottling.

SUR LEES – Some white wines are aged “ON THE LEES” to give a unique complex taste of certain acids, saying “aged sur lees” impresses ladies.

SWEETNESS – One of the three basic flavors of wine. Even a dry wine will generally have a little sweetness. See ACID and TANNIN

 

TANNIN – The chemicals that give the tea like taste in wines. Tannin powder is often just powdered tea.

 

VERIETAL – Like a single malt whiskey but in grape/wine terms. If you want to sound like a prick use “veriatal”

VINEGAR – You know that wine you screwed up? Turn it into vinegar and give it out as Christmas presents.

 

WINE WHIP – a fly swat you add to a drill you use to degas.

 

YEAST – Natures little angel. A micro organism that turns most sugars into alcohol (and carbon dioxide) during anaerobic respiration… that’s fermentation to you!

YEAST NUTRIENT – Yeast food usually made from dead yeast. It’s the circle of l-i-i-i-i-i-i-ife…