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Top 5 Winemaking Tips

        Lifestyle | Wine Facts

2
Test, Taste and Don't Lose Hope
A professional winemaker uses a wine thief to sample a glass straight from the cask.
A professional winemaker uses a wine thief to sample a glass straight from the cask.
© iStockphoto.com/MrPants

­When attempting to turn a lump of frozen concentrate into a fine bottle of red, it pays to follow directions. Yet while y­our winemaking efforts need to stay within certain chemical parameters, it doesn't mean you have to check your taste buds and reasoning at the door.

You may be required to perform acidity tests during winemaking, in addition to using a hydrometer to determine how much sugar is left in the juice. Plus, there's nothing wrong with actually tasting the juice as it progresses through the process. Just make sure to use a sanitized wine thief, a kind of large medicine dropper for snagging a sample from the carboy, the container in which the fermentation takes place. In addition to providing you with a more palpable sense of what's going on throughout the process, it can give you an idea of how much sugar has yet to ferment.

Patience is also an excellent tool for first-time winemakers. As with all first-time efforts, there's always a chance that you won't get the results you dreamed about. If your wine's bouquet is a tad violent or you're tempted to name it after one of the rivers in hell, you can always learn from the experience and try again next time. Plus, just because your instructions state that the wine will be ready to drink in six weeks, doesn't mean it won't benefit from a longer wait. Let it sit a little longer and taste along the way.


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