Ensuring Consistent Wine Taste Quality

Using high quality fruits. Leftovers and reject fruits fits perfectly for wine making. High quality fruits are the best however. Final wine flavor rely on starting fruit flavors plus those created during fermentation and aging process. No artificial flavors added. Thus prime fruits are best for making high quality wines.

Proper hygiene. Ensure the cleanliness of workplace and production staffs.  Any form of contaminant, no matter how big or small, is enough to ruin the product.

Adjustment of must properties. Acidity and sweetness should be adjusted to favorable values. It should be the same every batch. Deviation from set values might have a significant impact on final taste.

Pure cultures and proper room temperature. Different yeast strain have different alcohol output. Choose the right strain. Always ensure the purity of starter culture. Practice the microbiological isolation technique or buy from a reputable source.  Performance is affected by temperature. Conduct a strict temperature monitoring and adjustment. Lower by means of air conditioner and increase by means of light bulbs. E.g. Temperature and starter culture requirements of red wine and white wine are different.

Mixing of different outputs. Apparently the hardest to implement. Every finished batch that passed quality check have slightly to significant taste differences. Fruits from high altitude place might have better flavor. Fruits from nutrient rich soil might have better taste. Subject each batch to panel of expert wine tasters. Then the final wine is made by mixing portions from several batches. The proportion is decided by the expert panel.

Some Important Facts About Yeast

1) Bread yeast is intended for bread making and it should be used as intended. It can be used for making wines  but tends to impart a bready flavor. The same game for brewers yeasts – for making beers.

In general, it can live in a wide range temperature, 0 to 50 ºC. Optimal temperature is 20 to 30 ºC. Optimal range may vary depending on strain. The Sacchromyces bayanus is effective from 45 to 95 ºF.

2) Fermentation process produces heat and might exceed the microorganism’s limit. Room ventilation should be provided.

3) In case of halted/stuck fermentation, the dead yeast releases substances to prevent the growth of another yeast. Introduction of another culture will be successful through the use of Saccharomyces bayanus or other strains capable of restarting stuck fermentations.

4) Use of recommended strain for champagne making won’t work. Champagne like quality can be achieved but the sparkling wine is still not. Champagne are made only in Champagne Region of France.

5) Yeast cannot tolerate too much alcohol. Most will produce about 14% before dying. Higher percentage is achieved by distillation or use of tolerant strains. The famous wine yeast brands Red Star Premier Curvée and Lalvin EC-1118 can tolerate up to 18 percent alcohol. Use Wyeast Eau de Vie if higher alcohol content is desired. It can produce up to 21 percent but reported as slow fermenter. There are few strains able to tolerate up to 70% but the activity is quite slow.

6) Addition of sugar to prepared should be limited up to 40%. Only few strains are able to live in higher sugar concentrations.

7) Juice pH should be between 4 to 4.5. It is the optimal pH range for yeast growth and perhaps limiting to other microorganisms.

8) Unpasteurized and loosely covered juice will ferment naturally. Addition of pure culture is not necessary. It is necessary only if a specific alcohol content and quality are desired. Spontaneous fermentation is likely to yield about six percent alcohol with unexpected taste quality.

9) Yeast require oxygen for growth. It will use the atmospheric oxygen if available or grab the oxygen from a glucose molecule if not. The anaerobic process results to production of alcohol and release of carbon dioxide.

10) Yeast also requires nitrogen for growth and development. Fruit pulp should be included in the prepared juice to provide some nitrogen. Lack of this nutrient will halt fermentation.

Got Two Wine Yeast Cultures, Lalvin EC-1118 And Red Star Premier Cuvée

Here it is! In the flesh. Two pure wine yeast cultures. The Lalvin EC-1118 and the Red Star Premier Cuvée. How do I got these? I used method number “6”. My friend Bong used method 4 – he has a close relative living in the US.

lalvin and red star wine yeast

Quick view of two wine yeast brands.

Lalvin 1118
Saccharomyces bayanus, strain isolated from champagne experiment.
Net Weight is five grams per sachet
GMO and gluten free
Produced for LALLAMAND Inc.
Product of Canada

Tolerant up to 18% alcohol.
Ideal for making quick wines.
Has the ability to inhibit wild yeasts.
Good for sparkling wines, champagne, dry meads, late harvest and secondary stuck fermentations.
Low foam and hydrogen sulfide production.
Most widely used cause of its wide temperature range – 10-30 ºC or 50 to 86 ºF.

Stuck fermentation is an unintentional halt of fermentation process. Dead yeast release substance inhibiting the growth of other yeast. Bayanus strain is able to withstand and continue the halted process.

Ingredients: yeast, emulsifier

Direction for use. Dissolve the dry yeast in 50 ml of warm (not hot, 40-43ºC) water. Let stand 15 minutes without stirring, then stir well to suspend all the yeast. Add to previously sulfited must. Note: the yeast should not be kept in the rehydration medium longer than recommended.

Red Star Premier Cuvée
Strain – Davis#796, bayanus strain from French Wine
Net Weight is five grams per sachet
Manufactured in Belgium by Algist Bruggeman N.V. Langerbruggekaai 37, 9000 CENT for FERMENTIS
Temperature range  45-95 ºF.
Alcohol tolerance – up to 18%
Resistant to free sulfur dioxide.
Low foam, urea and fusel oil producer.
Recommended for red wine, white wine and champagne.
The fastest and cleanest culture offered by Red Star

Ingredients: yeast, emulsifier: sorbitan monostearate (E491).

Preparation: The envelope contains enough yeast to make up to 5 gallons (20 to 23 liters). For best results, dissolve yeast by adding about 1/4 cup (50ml) of water at about 38 to 45 ºC. After opening, the yeast should be used within one month and kept under refrigeration.

How to Get a Pure Wine Culture / Starter

Are you a Filipino? Yes? Do you want to get a pure and good quality yeast for wine making venture? Yes? Then you might find it hard to get one! The active dry yeast is a common product. It can be bought in most supermarkets, large groceries, bakeries and bakery supply shops. However, this active dry yeast is not meant for wine making. This variety is specially cultured for bread making. Based from my own experience, the resulting wine quality is inferior and  has a bready taste and aroma. The variety specific for making wine is not locally available. Not available as of writing this. Hope someone take the initiative of manufacture.

Here are some ways to get it.

1) The hard and costly identification and isolation method. You read it right, identify and isolate your own wine yeast.  Study hard until you are well versed with all the physical structures of all valuable wine yeast. Study microbiology techniques. Then invest in a clean room with all the equipment needed. You are now ready to do it. For the start – get some fruits and let the natural fermentation commence.

Good luck! Who knows, you might discover a new variety that can produce 70% alcohol.

2) The method 1 is for serious scientist. Why do the hell of identification and isolation if you can buy a pure culture from a university laboratory or other private institutions. The next phase is less of burden. Multiply the pure culture using appropriate media.

3) If you have the means, it can be bought online. Buy pure and dry cultures from  eBay, Amazon and or online shops. Most sellers accept credit cards and paypal. The dry culture can also be multiplied using appropriate media.

4) If you have a relative or close friend living in United States or other countries where wine making is a popular industry, then ask him to buy some dry culture for you.

5) Befriend a man who is into wine making business. Then ask him to share some cultures. Unfriend him if he refused. Ha! ha!

Prices of Local and Foreign Alcohol Brands-Soon To Be Equal

Are you an alcohol drinker? Or an alcohol manufacturer? Perhaps only few of us are alcohol manufacturers and millions are alcohol drinkers. What brand of spirit do you prefer? Perhaps you like the foreign brands better but you are always buying the local brands.  Locally produced alcohols are cheaper because they are made locally. Mode of transport is shorter compared to foreign brands. In addition, our government is imposing a large tax on foreign brands, making them to have prices more than twice as much.local wine on exhibit

The European Spirit Association and America filed a complaint on World Trade Organization (WTO) stating that Philippine taxes on foreign alcohol brands are discriminatory. WTO then ruled, Philippine taxes imposed on foreign spirits is illegal.

Philippine need to trim down the taxes. What would be the effect. The prices of foreign and local brands would be almost the same. The sales of domestic alcohols will go down drastically – because Filipinos love foreign brands.

The news is good for consumers but very bad for local producers. We should do our best to make our local brands more competitive in terms of quality.

Are Taste Of Cheap Wines Really Inferior?

For wine connoisseur expensive wines might taste better than ordinary though it is not always the case. There are so many cheap wines with taste comparable to expensive counterparts, Some of them taste even better. Try scouting cheap wines in you area and you can find best tasting wine without breaking the wallet.

Why some wines are more expensive than others?

1) Most expensive wines undergo a long process of aging. This gives the wine a more mellow / delectable flavor. Aging allow the slow and complex process of flavor development.

2) Oak barrels are replaced frequently. Oaks impart flavor to wines, repeated used will deplete substances. Replacements are necessary for consistent quality. Purchases add cost.

3) Transport and handling. Grapes never grew well in our territory (Philippines). Transport and handling cost add up  to end price of commodity. Our very own Bignay Wine and Lambanog will surely be expensive when sold to foreign countries.

4) Merchant middlemen. The only role of middlemen is to transport goods from producer to customers or to another middlemen. However, they have the greatest income advantage. E.g. I am producing a food commodity and selling it to some specialty stores for 50 pesos. Then most of them are re-selling it for 80 to 90 pesos. The scenario is very clear, the product is 30 to 40 pesos cheaper when bought directly from me.

5) Established Brand. Known brands have a well established popularity. Consumers are paying more for the brand than  content. Producers spent huge bucks and long years to established. They need to recover expenses by pricing their commodity higher.

6) Nice Presentation. I often see wine bottles with a unique shape, beautiful label and in a carton or carrying bag. Packaging cost are often more than half of the total price.

7) Producers want a higher cost because of the reason below.

8) Mentality. We have developed a mentality that expensive wines taste better than cheap. We tend to like those even if it taste awful.

So before shedding you hard-earned money for expensive brands, try scouting local wine brands.

generic wines