Off-Odors Coming From My Wine!

I have been making homemade wine now for about 7 years with great success. My wine making has always been from fresh juice or kits. My question is…whenever I open a bottle of wine, no matter its age, it initially has a somewhat homemade odor (tough to describe and not necessarily offensive) that I do not notice in commercial wines. I find that after uncorking a bottle, it almost always smells and tastes better on day two. This seems to ring true no matter what type of wine juice is used. I am assuming something is precipitating out of the wine after it is uncorked, but don’t understand what or why. Can you shed any light on what is happening here?Name: Bob D.
State: Massachusetts
Hello Bob,
I’m not sure how to answer your question. This is not a normal thing to experience, and the fact that you are experiencing it with all homemade wines tells me that there may be some fundamental flaw going on in the wine making process.
If you could describe the odor more clearly and specifically we might be able to hone in on it a little better, but at this point all I can do is try to speculate. Things that come to mind are:
  • Squeezing a wet cork over the wine bottle when bottling and allowing the liquid to drip into the wine.
  • Too much sulfite such as sodium metabisulfite or Campden tablets being used throughout the wine making process.
  • Bottling the wine to soon and trapping off-gases from the wine yeasts’ fermentation.
  • Fermenting at too warm of a temperature. 78°F and above can be a problem.
I’m not saying that any of these things are going on. They are only guesses to give you an idea of what types of things to consider. In reality if could be one of a hundred things. Just review what you do and see what you can come up with.
If it turns out you still have no idea, here’s what I would focus on with your next batch. After the fermentation has completed, give the wine plenty of time to clear, more so than with your past batches. Once you get to the point of bottling the wine, degas it thoroughly. This can be done through shaking and agitation, but I have found that the safest, most efficient and most thorough way to degas a wine is to use a degassing/mixing paddle.
A degassing/mixing paddle will not splash the wine. Splashing is something you want to avoid because it saturates oxygen into the wine and promote wine oxidation.
The hope here is to try some simple things first that may have some affect on the aroma of the wine. Time will tell if this is a solution. If you still get the same results, then you will need to move on to something else, such as fermentation temperature, etc.
Best Wishes,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

3 thoughts on “Off-Odors Coming From My Wine!

  1. Janet, the simple answer to your question is: you want to add enough brandy to bring the ports alcohol level to around 18% to 20%. This requires a little math to figure out. And, you have to know the current alcohol level of your port must. There is a math aid called a Pearson’s Square that can help you with this calculation. You can find an example of its use at the following link on blending wines. Think of the brandy as a wine that has a high alcohol, say 40% and your must as another wine that is, say 8%, and you want to blend them. The Pearson’s Square will help you come up with the blending ratio of each: http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-blending/

  2. TO: Bob D., Msssachusetts,
    I would venture to say that that squeezing the cork over the wine bottles or too much campden tablets over the bottles for every batch of different wines is possible ; but not very probable, Ditto for the wine yeasts…etc. The main ingredient that would remain relatively constant for all of the different wines would be water supply, or possibly using old metal utilsdils in the making process. Use non-reactive pots and utensils ;because, old aluminiun pots can retain various cooking odors, Next thing would be to use filtered water or go to a store and purchase enough bottled water ( not distilled) but consumption quality ($0 .85) a GALLON. a very low price for a good batch of wine. Respectfully Submitted…….Ray S.

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