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Winemaking Terms - Proof to Refresh

Thursday, May 04, 2006


A numeric notation representing the alcoholic content of the spirit. Two degrees proof equals one percent alcohol, so a "36 proof" wine contains 18 percent alcohol. Strictly speaking, "true" proof spirit contains 57.1% alcohol at 60 degrees fahrenheit, the amount of alcohol required, when combined with water, to allow combustion.


The soft, juice-laden flesh of the grape or other fruit.

Punching Down:

The process of pushing the cap of skins, seeds and pulp down into the juice during fermentation. This facilitates extraction of color, flavor, and tannins and ensures that the cap doesn't dry out and develop unwanted mold or bacteria.


The hot taste of capsaicin -- the compound in chiles (jalapeno, etc.) that gives them their firey heat -- in a chile wine or mead,


The concave indentation in the bottom of a wine or champagne bottle.

The process of siphoning the wine off the lees to allow clarification and aid in stabilization. A Racking Hose or tubing is used and can be attached to a Racking Cane to make this task easier. An old saying is, "The racking can make a wine."
Racking Cane:
A stiff, plastic tube, usually "L"-shaped, that is attached to the Racking Hose to make Racking easier. A protective cap is placed over the lower end of the cane that allows liquid to be drawn into the cane from above rather than below while keeping most large solids out. The cap allows the tip of the cane to be lowered close to the lees without unduely disturbing them. The lower tip of the Racking Cane should initially be held about midway between the suface and the lees and gradually lowered as the volume decreases due to the siphoning.
Racking Hose:
A flexible, clear plastic hose, usually 3/8 inch in inner diameter, used to siphon wine from one vessel to another. It is used in both Racking and Bottling operations.

Literally, to "cover again." When instructions say to "recover starter," to "stir and recover," or to "recover primary," they mean to cover the yeast starter or the primary fermentation vessel in the manner previously prescribed. For example, in Yeast Starter (below) it says, "Cover the jar with a paper towel or napkin held in place with a rubber band." Later in the instructions it says, "...add another 1/4 cup of juice from the must and recover." This means to cover the jar again with a paper towel or napkin held in place with a rubber band.

Adding a fuller, younger wine to an older one in order to give the latter something to prolong its life.

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Source: Jack Keller



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