Winemaking Terms You Should Know: Part 7

Glass Carboy And Wooden Barrel For Bulk StorageIn 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.

  • B-Brite and C-Brite – These are two types of cleaners used in home winemaking and home brewing, which function to sanitize your bottles and home winemaking equipment without the use of sulfites. B-Brite comes in an 8 ounce tub, while C-brite comes in 0.8 ounce packets.
  • Bulk Age – This refers to the time the wine spends within a barrel or carboy, allowing the wine to mature and age.  Aging the entire bulk of the wine in barrels or in a carboy with oak chips will allow for a more “aged in oak” flavor to be imparted into the wine, whereas if you immediately bottled and aged your wines that way, the wine would have much more fruit and youthful character.
  • Carbonic Maceration –  Carbonic maceration is the winemaking process by which whole grapes (not crushed) are fermented in a sealed vessel without allowing the carbon dioxide to escape.  Carbonic maceration yields wines that are fruity and soft, and are meant to be consumed immediately.
  • Coates Law of Maturity – I know, it sounds like we’re back in physics class, but this concept is much more fun, I promise!  Coates Law of Maturity is a principle related to wine aging, which states that a wine will remain at its peak (“best” time to drink) for as long of a time as it took for the wine to reach that point.  For example, if it took your wine to age for 1 year, it will continue to drink well for another year.
  • Pyment – This may not be a term a lot of you are familiar with, but if any of you have made wine with honey (a.k.a. “mead”), you may have stumbled upon it previously.  Pyment is the term for a honey wine or mead that has been fermented with grapes or grape juice.
  • Wine Thief – Call the police!  Someone stole my wine! Actually no, a wine thief is a good thing in home winemaking!  A wine thief is a small piece of equipment that is used to remove small amounts of wine from your carboy or holding vessel in order for you to test your wine for various things throughout the fermentation or aging process.  Wine thieves look very similar to turkey basters, and are effectively function in the same manner.

— 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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