Understanding Wine-Making Terms


Essential for fermentation. Citric, tartaric and malic acids are all suitable and may be obtained in crystal form from a chemist’s. (See also Main Ingredients)


A device that excludes airborne bacteria and other sources of infection from the must during fermentation, but allows gas to escape. It works in much the same way as the U-trap under a sink.


A word used to describe the density of a wine. Some wines taste thin and watery, while others are `full-bodied’.

Campden tablet

A small white tablet used for sterilising ingredients and equipment. (See also Main Ingredients)

Carbon dioxide

A gas formed during fermentation, which must be allowed to escape through the airlock.


To pour wine from a bottle into a glass container suitable for table use, leaving any sediment behind in the bottle. Hold the bottle against the light, and decant the wine slowly, so that you can stop pouring when the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle.


The term used to describe a wine with no trace of sweetness.


The process whereby sugar is converted by yeast into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Fermentation lock

see Airlock.


Substances such as isinglass and bentonite that are sometimes stirred into wine to help it clear.


An instrument for measuring the specific gravity in a liquid. It is used in wine-making to measure the sugar content.


A sediment, composed of dead yeast and pulp tissue, that collects in the bottom of the jar while the wine is fermenting.


The mellowing of a new wine by storage to the point when it is ready to drink.


The term used to describe the mixture of ingredients before they have been fermented to make wine.


Ammonium phosphate and other vitamins fed to yeast to promote growth and development. They are required in the making of most wines in the home, except those made from grape juice. (See also Main Ingredients)

Pectin-destroying enzyme

A white powder or brown liquid used to break down the pectin in fruit. (See also Main Ingredients)


The removal of clear wine from a vessel containing lees. Each wine needs at least two rackings to get rid of all sediment.


A plastic or rubber tube used for racking and bottling wine.

Specific gravity

In wine-making terms, the amount of sugar contained in a must or wine.


A substance extracted from the skins of grapes, some other fruits, cold tea and oak. It is used to give the wine ‘bite’ and character.


A tiny vegetable cell, invisible to the naked eye, that causes fermentation. Yeast is essential in the making of wine.



Though increasing expertise may lead you to buy certain refinements such as a press, a juice extractor and a corking tool, the basic equipment for wine-making is both inexpensive and long-lasting.

Bottle brush

Essential for cleaning fermentation jars as well as bottles.


Use only orthodox wine bottles — dark for red wine, clear for white. Champagne bottles are essential for sparkling wines.


Always use undamaged corks. Pierced corks are unsuitable. Sterilise all corks before use.

Fermentation and storage jars

One- gallon glass jars are generally used to contain the wine during fermentation and storage. Start with two jars.

Fermentation lock or airlock

This essential item of equipment prevents the admission of air and spoilage organisms during fermentation. A bored cork or rubber bung is needed to fit each lock on to a jar.

Hydrometer and testing jar

Not absolutely essential, but the best means of controlling the sugar and alcohol content of your wine.

Large saucepan

For preference, use one made of stainless steel or unchipped enamel.

Long-handled wooden spoon

For macerating flowers, and for stirring all types of must.

Nylon straining bag and sieve

The bag is an additional aid when straining pulp.

Polythene funnel

Useful when pouring the must into a fermentation jar.

Polythene mashing bin

An un-coloured polythene bin with a tightfitting lid is best. Coloured plastic buckets may contaminate the wine.

Polythene tubing

You will need about 4-1/2 ft (1.4 m.) for siphoning the wine from one container to another.

15. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Equipment, Wine Making | Tags: , | Comments Off on Understanding Wine-Making Terms


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