We know it can be confronting and confusing when you first start making wine...some people and books make it sound difficult and technical....but its NOT. It's fun and it’s easy!
So we've included a glossary of terms here, to help you decipher some of the information you may come across.
Please flick us an email if you come across a term you don't know or if you have any questions about your winemaking. Here at makewine.co.nz we believe the only silly question is one you don't ask!
Airlock: A small plastic or glass piece of equipment which has water, vodka or potassium metabisulphite in it. It enables the carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation but prevents oxygen or other contaminants getting in to the wine.
Fining: The process of clearing the wine of any haze or lack of clearness. This term is also referred to as the product which is used for fining eg banana finings.
Hydrometer: An instrument that measures the SG (specific gravity) of your must.
Lees: The sediment that forms in the bottom of your fermentation vessel as your wine ferments and matures. It is made up of dead yeast cells and fruit pulp.
Must: The fruit / sugar / water etc mixture that will become your wine.
Pitch (the yeast): Adding the yeast to the must.
Primary Fermentation: The first part of the fermentation process which involves extracting the flavour from the fruit and building the yeast colony up. In home winemaking often done in a bucket with an airtight lid. Also called aerobic fermentation.
Racking: The process of siphoning the wine from one vessel to another vessel to leave behind the lees.
Secondary Fermentation: The second part of the fermentation process after the must has been strained and when the bulk of the alcohol is made. In home winemaking often done in a carboy or demijohn with an airlock fitted. Also called anaerobic fermentation. The fermentation process turns the sugar in the wine in to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Specific Gravity (SG): A measurement done by a hydrometer which tells you how much sugar per litre is in your must.
Stuck Ferment: Sometimes the fermentation will start well, but slow right down to virtually nothing or stop completely, before all the sugar has been fermented in to alcohol. There are techniques you can use to prevent stuck ferments and re-start them if they are stuck. Please send us an email for advice on what to do if this happens.
Tritation: The method of measuring the acid content in the must or wine.
Ullage: The air space between the top of the wine and the bottom of the cork.
Vinosity: The (store bought) wine-like characteristics of your wine.
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