Winemaking Terms You Should Know: Part 7

Bottle TreeIn several earlier posts, we introduced a few home winemaking terms that you may or may not be familiar with.  There are many terms to learn in home winemaking, and this post, like all the previous posts, gives you a short introduction to a few of those terms to help you get started in home winemaking, or perhaps brush up on some of the terms you may not have seen in a while.

  • Bottle Tree:  This is a tree grown in the vineyard that produces bottles instead of fruit.  Well, no, actually a bottle tree is essentially a drying rack for bottles.  After cleaning and sanitizing your bottles, you can hang them on a bottle tree until dry.
  • Campden Tablets: These are basically sodium metabisulfite in the form of a tablet.  Campden tablets are used in home winemaking for killing or otherwise getting rid of undesirable bacteria.  These tablets are also very useful for sanitation purposes, as well as preserving the color and flavor of your wine.
  • Fermentation Inhibitor:  Sometimes you don’t want fermentation to occur, sometimes you do.  For situations where you want to prevent a fermentation re-starting, you can add a fermentation inhibitor such as Potassium Sorbate. You can also use Wine Condition for the purpose and sweeten the finished wine at the same time.
  • Head Space:  The head space refers to the gap between the top of the wine and the walls of the fermentation vessel, aging vessel, or the cork in the case of a wine bottle.  You want to keep the head space at a minimum, as excess head space significantly increases the chances of something going wrong with your wine, particularly oxidation or other undesirable processes.
  • Oenology or Enology:  For all you new home winemakers reading this, you may not be as familiar with this term as established winemakers.  Basically, Oenology or Enology is the term for the study of wine and winemaking.
  • Punt:  The punt is the indentation that is found on the bottom of some wine bottles.  There is no consensus as to the origins of the punt, but they range anywhere from an artifact of glass blowing to allowing for easier stacking of one wine on top of another.
  • Specific Gravity: The specific gravity refers to the sugar content in the wine.  As the amount of sugar in the wine increases, so does the specific gravity.  Using a hydrometer, you can measure exactly how much sugar is in your wine.

— Other Winemaking Terms You Should Know:

Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

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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.

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