Saturday, February 16, 2008

Acid Reduction in Wine through Malolactic Fermentation

Malolactic fermentation is an effective way to reduce both malic acid and citric acid levels in wine. This article will not discuss the procedure for conducting a malolactic fermentation (a subject for a leter blog article) but will only provide background information.

A malolactic fermentation reduces total acidity (TA) in wine and when conducted, its goal is to reduce the harsher malic acid concentrations into lactic acid which is a much softer acid.

It is virtually impossible for home wine making enthusiasts to determine the levels of malic acid present in their wine. The only method of determining the effect on the wine is to take a TA measurement prior to conducting the malolactic fermentation and then take another reading post fermentation. The difference between the initial reading and the final reading is the amount of TA reduction which has occurred. If acid levels have been reduced too far it can be increased by the addition of acids or by blending with higher acid wines. If the acid level has still not been reduced to the desired range, then other acid reduction methods including blending, the use of potassium bicarbonate, dilution with water or cold stabilization can be used to further reduce acid levels.

BlueStem Winery is a full service retail and web source for winemaking supplies, wine making equipment and ingredients for making wine. BlueStem Winery also carries a large inventory of WinExpert wine kits and Cellar Craft kits for the wine making hobbyist who enjoys making their favorite varietals from around the world.

BlueStem Winery also carries a large inventory of homebrewing supplies, homebrew ingredients and brewing equipment for the zymergy enthusiast. Our own line of beer brewing ingredients kits is known as BlueStems Best. We are the only source for home brewing supplies in northeast Iowa and continue to increase our American and worldwide sales of beer brewing supplies via our website.

If you are a beginning home brewer and need a basic home brew supplies setup, we can provide the equipment and ingredients you need and also the expertise to help you get started. If you are a beginning vintner, we recommend our WinExpert kits and Cellar Craft wine kits because you will enjoy fantastic wine with your very first attempt at home winemaking.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wine Number 2 Gets Label Approval

Red CrescentBlueStem Winery's second wine will be available for retail sale very, very soon. Our label application to the federal government for this wine named Red Crescent was approved today and we should be able to have the artwork on the way to our printer early next week.

Red Crescent is a dessert wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes raised in the Yakima Valley of Washington state. A very smooth after dinner sipping wine with a fairly solid punch to it! We are hoping that this wine will be on our shelves for sale by mid-March 2008 followed shortly thereafter by our third wine which is a dry red which will be named Dark Side.

BlueStem Winery is a licensed and bonded Iowa winery. Our business consists of the winery plus a retail and web outlet which features winemaking supplies, homebrewing supplies, wine making ingredients, brewing ingredients, home brew and wine making equipment and WinExpert and Cellar Craft wine kits.

Wine making is our livelihood but we also enjoy a good home brew on occasion. Our store and website feature our own line of beer brewing ingredients kits known as BlueStems Best where you can choose from approximtely 30 different beer styles with pre-measured ingredients provided in the kit.

If you are into home winemaking we will always recommend one of our Cellar Craft or WinExpert wine kits and you will not be disappointed. World class! For all of your home brewing supplies and supplies for making wine, look to BlueStem Winery.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Acid Reducing Solutions for Wine Making

Both potassium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate solutions can be used to reduce acid levels in finished wine. The preferred of these two is the potassium solution because the calcium carbonate solution results in an unpleasant taste to the wine.

When adding either of these solutions to wine, the wine maker should realize that the first acid that the solution will lower is the preferred acid, tartaric. The wine maker must take care that the tartaric acid present is not eliminated completely from the wine.

Reduction in acid levels in finished wine are accomplished at about a 1:2 ratio. Total acidity is reduced by 1g/L for every 2g/L of bicarbonate that is added to the wine. Dissolve the bicarbonate in a small quantity of wine and then add the solution to your wine. If your initial acidity reading indicates that you need to reduce the total acidity by 2g/L, do not make a solution totaling 4g/L (remember the 1:2 ratio) and add it to your wine all in one swoop. Instead, make small incremental additions of the solution and taste and take additional acidity measurements in between each further addition of solution.

BlueStem Winery operates a retail store in Parkersburg, Iowa selling winemaking equipment plus ingredients and supplies for home winemaking. BlueStem also carries a large inventory of both WinExpert and Cellar Craft wine kits to enhance your home wine making experience. If you are a brewer and not a vintner, BlueStem also carries a large inventory of homebrewing supplies, homebrew equipment and home brewing ingredients.

Making wine for the first time? Let us help you through the entire process. We offer expert guidance and we are only a phone call or an e-mail away from helping you make world class wine with one of our WinExpert wine kits or one of our Cellar Craft kits.

We can also assist if you are wanting to start brewing at home. Our homebrewing equipment is first rate and we keep an ample amount of homebrew supplies and beer brewing ingredients in stock.

On the web 24/7 at the BlueStem Winery website and available for telephone assistance during store hours. See our website for details.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Acid Reduction by Blending

When you are attempting to increase (or decrease) the acidity of wine by blending two wines together, the first step is to determine the titratable acidity (TA) of both wines. The second step in this process is to determine the volume required of the blend wine which will be required to raise (or lower) the TA of the wine you are trying to alter.

The formula for determining the volume of blend wine required is:

Z = X * (DTA - W) / (Y - DTA) where

DTA = Desired Total Acidity
W = TA goal of wine to be modified
X = Volume of wine to be modified
Y = TA of blend wine
Z = Volume of blend wine

Example: If you had 6 gallons of wine (X) with an existing TA of 6.2 and you desired to raise the TA of this wine to 6.5 (DTA) by blending an unknown volume of wine (Z) which has a TA of 7 (Y) your formula would look like this:

Z = 6 * (6.5 - 6.2) / (7 - 6.5) or

Z = (6 * .3) / .5 or

Z = 1.8 / .5 or

Z = 3.6 gallons of blend wine with a TA of 7 will be required to increase the TA of our 6 gallon batch of wine with an existing TA of 6.2 to our desired TA of 6.5.

BlueStem Winery is your full-service source for wine making equipment and homebrewing supplies in beautiful, downtown Parkersburg, Iowa. Our store hours are posted on the BlueStem Winery website and we are on the web 24-7 with a complete line of wine making and homebrew supplies.

If you are home winemaking or want to order beer brewing ingredients and have questions, do not hesitate to call us at 319.346.1046 during business hours or you can e-mail us at any time at

BlueStem Winery stocks a large of inventory of WinExpert wine kits and we also have a growing inventory of Cellar Craft kits. Cellar Craft wine kits and WinExpert kits are industry leaders in excellent quality kits for making wine at home.

The next time you purchasing winemaking supplies, home brewing supplies, brewing equipment or ingredients we will be ready to meet your needs. Excellent products, prompt shipping and knowledgeable, friendly service.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Increasing Total Titratable Acidity in Wine

One method of increasing total titratable acidity in wine is with the addition of acids in the form of either tartaric acid or with the addition of what is called an acid blend. The preferred additive is tartaric acid, especially if the vintner is planning for the wine to undergo a malolactic fermentation. Acid blend is a mixture of tartaric, malic and citric acids. Many acid blends sold through home wine making shops is a 10-40-50 blend of tartaric, malic and citric acids. The acid blend that BlueStem Winery sells (mixed here at our store) is a 50-40-10 blend. Instead of the heavy concentration of citric acid that is in most shops (citric is cheap), BlueStem's acid blend is heavy on tartaric acids. Heavy concentrations of citric acid tend to give your wine a sharp, citric acid bite (similar to tasting a grapefruit).

BlueStem Winery
urges caution in the use of acid blends (especially those prepared with large concentrations of citric acid). Acid blend should never be used with wines planned to undergo a malolactic fermentation.

Making wine at home with one of the WinExpert or Cellar Craft wine kits from BlueStem Winery? Then you won't have to worry about total acidity. Both Cellar Craft and WinExpert kits are acid balanced and will be perfectly balanced when you make them.

Need any other winemaking supplies or home brewing ingredients? BlueStem Winery would be happy to supply you with what you need. We stock a large inventory of wine making ingredients and home brew supplies and have the expertise to help you if wine making or beer brewing is a new hobby.

Our homebrew equipment is top drawer and comes from the best suppliers BlueStem can locate. Whether it is beer brewing supplies or one of our superb WinExpert wine ingredient kits, we can have your order on its way tomorrow!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Acid Reduction in Wine

Four different acids can be typically found in wines during fermentation. These include tartaric, citric, malic and lactic. Acids in too high quantity have an adverse affect on the taste (and quality) of wine. Whereas increasing the acid levels in wine is a relatively easy process, reducing acid levels in wine can be difficult.

Over the next few days a discussion will be held about procedures for reducing or increasing the various acid levels.

A summary of these articles is as follows:

Addition of tartaric acid will result in an increase of the tartaric acid levels (that one was pretty obvious!);

Addition of acid blend will increase the levels of tartaric, malic and citric acid;

The blending of other wines with the wine in question can either increase or decrease the levels of tartaric, malic, citric or lactic acids;

The addition of potassium (or calcium) bicarbonate will decrease the level of tartaric acids;

Causing the onset of a malolactic fermentation will decrease the tartaric and malic acid levels while increase the lactic acid level;

Cold stabilization will decrease the level of tartaric acids;

Use of products known as ACIDEX or SHADEX will reduce the levels of tartaric and malic acids; and

The addition of water will decrease the levels of tartaric, citric, malic and lactic acids.

BlueStem Winery is a purveyor of wine ingredient kits from both WinExpert and Cellar Craft. These kits allow you to make excellent wines with never a worry about tartaric, malic, citric or lactic acids as the kits are acid balanced to assure you a perfect wine every time. Making wine could not be easier and the results are world class. WinExpert wine kits have been part of BlueStem's inventory for almost four years and our customers have expressed nothing but satisfaction with these fine kits. We added Cellar Craft wine kits about eight months ago and the reports coming back from customers have been nothing but fantastic!

BlueStem also has a full array of winemaking equipment, wine making supplies, homebrewing ingredients, homebrew supplies and brewing equipment.

Today was a fun day at the store with two couples getting started with their new wine making hobby and another couple purchasing beer brewing supplies to start their new hobby. I always tell my new customers that home wine making is the greatest procrastinator's hobby that there is. Other than the first week when you have to stay pretty close to the schedule it is a hobby that you can attend to with quite a bit of variance in timing.

Need home brewing supplies? A good Cellar Craft wine ingredient kit? Our website features one low cost shipping fee per order. We would very much like to ship a new hobby to you and are more than willing to support you with answers to your questions after you get started.