FAQ

Ordering

Q. I have not received the book, can you please send it to me?

Make Tasty Wine is delivered electronically as an e-book.  You get the option of downloading it right after purchase and you also get an e-mail with the book and support contact information.

Q. Can I read the book on my Kindle?

Yes!  The book is delivered in PDF format which is supported by Kindles.

Q. What is included in the 12 month free support?

Cynthia Cosco is available to answer any question you have on making wine at home for 12 months.  This includes evaluating your wine, and if she is available between wine batches, Cynthia also chats on Skype.

Q. What types of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards as well as PayPal.  All payments are securely handled by FastSpring.

 

The book

Q. I just started, do I have to be an expert to read and understand this book?

Although the book is comprehensive enough to get attention in Napa, it is really an attempt in writing down in simple form how to make your own wine.  To make sure it was easy to read, it was edited by someone with very limited experience in wine-making.

Q. I am an expert!  Why should I get this?

Because you probably have read enough books to be humble and curious enough to learn more.  Winemaking is as much art as it is science, so few do it the same way.  Also, don’t forget the bonuses!

Q. I don’t have a lot of space at home, does the book cover how to make wine with concentrate?

Yes!  And it can still taste great.

Q. Does the book have any recommendations in regard to finding the best equipment and supplies?

The book comes with the author’s recommended suppliers.  We are also negotiating with suppliers to offer lower prices to our readers than the prices listed on their respective sites.

Q. If I have problems, does the book have a trouble-shooting section?

The book has two chapters dedicated to solving problems related to taste, smell, fermentation and hazes.  The book also covers what to do with wine that has gone bad, and how to save it.  If you still have questions, ask Cynthia.

Q. I am a little stuck in my wine journey and would like to try something new, maybe some Latin American flavors?

The book has four chapters dedicated to juicing up your wine life.  It covers white wine, red wine, fruit wine as well as how to make wine from flowers, herbs, vegetables and grains.

 

Winemaking

Q. Why should I keep notes when winemaking?

There are several reasons; here are a few:

1) You made a fantastic wine, but kept no record of it.  Had you taken a few minutes just to record what you did and the quantities used, you would have a great recipe you could use over and over again.

2) It can help you track down a mistake, maybe an incorrect quantity of an ingredient; by having the notes, you might be able not only to identify the problem, but still have time to fix it.

3) It is a part of the wine making process; having a record of your recipes will help you develop new ones, and fill in gaps of those you come across that are incomplete.

Q. Will I save money by making my own wine?

Yes and No.  The cost of homemade wine is generally less, but it depends on many factors.  Primarily, where you get your essential fruits, juices, or concentrates has much to do with your cost.  Sugar and chemicals are rather easy to estimate, but there is a wide variance among the important ingredients.  Shopping around is highly advised.

Q. Do I have to rack my wine?

The wine police are not going to come and arrest you for not racking your wine, but if you want good tasting wine, rack at least once; but personally, I rack at least two and sometimes three times.

The yeast is using the sugar, and the “sediment” sits on the bottom.  Each time you rack your wine, you are improving its flavor and “clearing” it so it won’t be cloudy.  Leaving wine sitting on sediment can impart “off” odors, too.

Q. Do I have to add sugar in stages?

There are recipes that state placing some set amount of sugar (all of it) in the fermenter in the beginning and just let it go.  Once upon a time, that was how many people made wine.  The process is now very progressed.  We have wine yeasts, chemicals, hydrometers, etc. which don’t complicate the process as much as people think; these tools actually make it easier to produce the best results consistently.

It is preferable to add sugar as noted in the book for the best results.

Q. How do I know if the yeast is good before adding to the must?

Firstly, you should store wine yeast properly.  I store yeast packets in zip lock bags in the freezer until I need them.  Check dates on packets, too.

Always make a wine nucleus as instructed in the book, and make sure it is foaming and working before adding to wine.  This has always worked for me.

Q. Is homemade wine safe to drink?

If you follow the guidelines in this book, your wine will be absolutely safe to drink.  The chemicals you will use are the same ones used by commercial wineries.  Use clean equipment and all chemicals in the quantities specified.

Q. Is it necessary to use yeast?  My grandmother had this recipe for wine…

Yes, yes, yes!  Don’t be fooled into believing that wine will be all right if you just wait on Mother Nature to make it for you.  The first wines were produced in this haphazard way, but wild yeasts will not produce very tasty wine.  You’ll have better wines and more consistent results if you use wine yeasts and the other ingredients specified in this book.

Q. What is so special about yeast?  Can I use beer or bread yeast and get the same results?

Farmers often used bread yeast to make wine, not because it was that good, they just didn’t have anything else. Beer yeast is designed for that purpose and it won’t continue to work long enough to use all the sugar need to produce a good wine.  Wine yeast was designed for making wine and the strains were developed over many years.  Wine yeasts are not expensive at all, so it just makes sense to do it right and use wine yeast.  Yeasts designed for making wine will not impart off or strange flavors, either.

Q. The wine bottles that contain commercial wines always have a warning that they contain sulfites.  If  these are harmful, should I leave them out of my homemade wine?

Commercial wines are required to state they have sulfites in them if there are more than “10 parts per million”, but it is impossible to make wine without sulfites as they are part of the fermentation process.

A minor percentage of people have allergic reactions to sulfites (not the headache you have after ingesting too much), but sulfites are also present in many other foods, such as pickled goods, fruits, and baked goods.  If you choose not to add sulfites as suggested in winemaking recipes, your wine will have a limited shelf life.

Q. I heard something about oxidation.  How can I prevent that from happening to my wine?

Oxidation has been a lifelong foe of winemaking, and the answer to your question isn’t that simple. Oxidation is limited by the quality of the fruits in the wine, the proper balance of chemicals used, and bottling techniques, among other things.  The less air that gets to wine between the fermentation vessel and the bottle, the less oxidation takes place, too.

Q. Why does my wine seem to be finished fermenting but it pops the corks when I bottle it?

Obviously, it hasn’t stopped fermenting, but the reason it revives when you bottle it is caused by the oxygen that gets into the mix when you rack from the container into the bottle.  If fermentation seems to be ended, rack into a clean carboy and apply the fermentation lock.  Watch to see if the pressure pushes the air lock, and if nothing occurs within 24 hours, fermentation is over.  Be sure to add potassium sorbate to each bottle you fill to prevent fermentation from starting back, and always follow package directions.

Q. My wine completely used up the sugar, but I don’t like dry wine. Can I add sugar to sweeten it or what?

You can immediately sweeten your wine using regular white table sugar; start with a small amount and adjust to taste.  Better to add too little and keep adjusting than to over sweeten.  You can also add sugar syrup or glycerine to wine for storage, but be careful not to overdo it.  Adding naturally sweet juice of the same type as the wine is another way to smooth out and sweeten wine.  Make sure that the juice has potassium sorbate added to it so it won’t ferment.

It is never a good idea to bottle wine immediately after you sweeten it because there is a reaction time while the wine melds with the sweetener.  If you wait one to two weeks, you may find that the taste isn’t to your liking.  Better to know that before you put five gallons of wine in bottles and cork them.

Q. Isn’t it best to buy a wine kit when making wine instead of assembling the ingredients?

You can start out that way; many people do. You will most likely find after that experience you want to make more wine, and kits are, on average, more costly. You will also be limited in what is offered in kits. In kits, also, you may be purchasing items you don’t need because you already have them. If you want to be a winemaker, do it yourself

Q. I can never get my wines to the same sweetness/dryness from one batch to another.  I always allow the same fermentation time for each one, but the results vary.  Why?

There are so many variables in winemaking that can alter the results:

1) The first one that comes to mind is temperature and maintaining it properly throughout the fermentation process.

2) If you use fresh fruits, you must make sure to take readings with your hydrometer at the start because sugar content can vary.

3) Yeasts do not all work the same, so if you use different types from one batch to another, you will have variations in the fermentation process and flavor.  Even the same type of yeast may not work the same from one batch to another.

4) Additionally, you can’t bottle wine based on how many days it has been fermenting because some wines finish faster than others.  If you use the hydrometer to make certain you have the same volume of sugar for every batch and stop fermentation when the reading is where you want it to be, you should have consistency in dryness or sweetness, whichever you want.

Q. If I make a mistake making a batch of wine, should I pour it out and start again?

Unless you go totally off recipe and do something drastic, it is best to allow the process to finish.  If you think the flavor is going to be off because of what you did, remember, you can always blend wine to improve taste.  Never throw wine away that is drinkable.  Keep good notes; pay attention to measurements; follow the recipe.

Q. How long does it take to become a wine expert?

Don’t know; I’m still on the journey.