All about wine additives

If you enjoy a nice glass of homemade wine for a dinner with friends and family or for some special occasion, you are part of the large group of people that relish producing, bottling and wine tasting. But on this process, there’s more ingredients that come together aside from the grapes, to guarantee that you have the best quality and taste possible. Today, we will show you everything about the additives to be used on this wine making process. But before we begin, it’s important to acknowledge some history of wine making industry in Australia, considering that our country is the sixth largest producer of this delicious beverage, that is also made all across the nation, but mainly in the southern states, where the climate is cooler. TAB HINT: Did you know that there’s more than seventy different varieties of wine grown in Australia? Including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. This whole tradition of making wine in Australia dates back to 1788, when the first grapevines were imported and planted on a Sydney site called Farm Cove. After years and generations of different processes to accomplish the goal of enjoying a delicious glass of homemade wine, now we know that this beverage is widely popular and that even, in the late 1980s, the government sponsored growers to pull out their vines to overcome a glut of wine grapes. We’ve come a long way from that first discovery of the process and now that we’re able to make it at home, we want to show you some special additives that can be used on the making, assuring the stability, taste and quality of this precious beverage. Buckle up! We’re about to learn all about wine additives: TARTARIC ACID: It’s the natural acid of wine grapes. Most of our Australian grown grapes do not contain sufficient acid to make good wine, so we recommend that you use this additive when you crush the grapes at the beginning of the process. Don’t forget to test the crushed grapes with a pH paper or meter and add the necessary amount of tartaric acid accordingly. TAB Extra Tip: To use the acid properly, you have to dissolve it in a small quantity of warm water and mix into the crushed grapes. If you have any unused tartaric acid, keep it on a sealed container for next wine season. CITRIC ACID: This additive can be used to rinse stainless steel containers after cleaning with Oxyper, Neodestersol or any other caustic-based cleaners. You can use from 2 to 5 grams or one teaspoon per litre of water. Its main purpose is to prevent the production of hydrogen sulphide when the wine comes in contact with freshly-cleaned stainless steel. This hydrogen is responsible for that rotten eggs smell in wine and we know that you’d definitely want to avoid it. Well, Citric Acid is the answer! Remember that you can store the unused product and it will be OK to be used next year. MALO-LACTIC BACTERIA: With this natural bacteria product, you can reduce the acid taste of red wine. It does so by changing the harsh, sour malic acid of the grapes into softer-tasting lactic acid. The normal way to use it is to add the bacteria to the wine when pressing off, making sure to keep the wine warm for 4-6 weeks after adding it, to allow completion of the malo-lactic fermentation. TAB Extra Tip: We recommend a laboratory test to confirm completion of this process. You can use one packed per 250 litres of wine, but it’s important to purchase only the amount you need to use, considering that this additive will not preserve for longer time. BENTONITE: By using this additive, you will prevent white wine from going cloudy after bottling; This is a natural occurring clay product and a special grade is used for wine and the recommended dosage is usually 50-200 grams per 100 litres of wine, according to a trial. All you have to do is to mix the dose into 20 parts of water, leaving it for 24 hours and mixing again before adding to the wine with a strong mixing. For this part, you will get better results by using a high-speed electric mixer. Keep in mind that if you have any unused product, you can leave it on a sealed container and it will preserve for the next year. CLAROUGE: This is a natural fining agent based on egg-white and with a low dose of 5-20 grams per 100 litres, it will clarify your homemade wine. With a higher dose (40-200 grams per 100 litres) it will also remove the bitterness. The process for this additive is quite simple. Just mix it up to 100 parts of cold water “like concrete”, avoiding making foam. Then, add the wine and mix it well, letting it settle for 2-7 days. Afterwards you can rack the wine and discard any unused product, since it doesn’t keep for longer periods. EFFERGRAN: It’s a tabled form of potassium metabisulphite with effervescent self-mixing action in wine. Effersol 2: Just add one tablet to each 40 litres of dry wine. Two tablets in case you’re aiming for a sweeter wine. Effersol 2: Add one tablet to each 100 litres of dry wine. Two tablets for a sweeter wine. This does will preserve the wine for the first year and more tables are needed for wine to be enjoyed over the next year. Remember to use more tables again at bottling. Bear in mind that this Effersol tablets lose their strength rapidly and should be used within six months of purchase. WINE YEAST: We use natural yeast for making good wine at home. However, for best results, we recommend re-hydrating the yeast before adding it to the must on day 2 and immediately after adding yeast nutrient. If you happen to have any further questions on this, contact us through social media or visit our stores to receive guidance. YEAST NUTRIENT: It’s important to understand that Australian grapes are deficient in nutrients for the wine yeast. This deficiency can cause bad smells to develop in the wine during the fermentation and also can cause the fermentation to stop before all the grape sugar. Our recommendation is for you to add the yeast nutrient 20 grams per 100 litres wine on day 2 of the process, and 20 grams per 100 litres again on day 4 or 5 to prevent the formation of bad smells while assisting in fermenting all the sugar so that the wine finishes dry. Consider that if by the end of the process, you have any unused nutrient, you can store it in a sealed container in a cool place so that it can be used later. POTASSIUM METABISULPHITE: When you use this additive on day 1, it will help you preventing bad bacteria and yeast from causing problems in the wine later. This product is way more effective when you use it along with tartaric acid. Remember to discard any unused Potassium Metabisulphite, because it won’t preserve. SODIUM METABISULPHITE: This product is a general sterilizer for wine making and you can use 10 grams or one tablespoon or every litre of water to sterilize equipment and bottles. All you’ve got to do is to rinse with cold boiled water and drain before using. It’s important to remember that you should only buy the amount that you will require and re-purchase every year. And now that you know all of the chemicals, nutrients and additives that could help you in the wine making process, you’re ready to give this a try and let us know if you liked or loved the final result. If you happen to use these products, share your thoughts with us on social media and let us know what you think of it!

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