Testing Your Wine: Don’t Overlook These 3 Steps

You have crushed and de-stemmed your grapes, added necessary ingredients, fermented your wine and racked it. You are on your way to becoming a seasoned winemaker.

Getting ready to test our wine

Getting ready to test our wine


There are 3 important steps often overlooked in home winemaking: cold stabilization, filtering and added sugar. If you have been through a couple of fermentations, here are a few good tips to keep in mind! I will be discussing some of the necessary steps you need to take when testing your wine.

 “My wine is murky! What do I do?!”

First and foremost, your wine should be clear and stable for bottling. Clarity is a very crucial part of the aesthetics when presenting your wine to family, friends or entering it into wine competitions.

Heat stabilization is a tool used to rid your wine of murkiness. Red wines are heat stable, while whites are not. You want to make sure your white wines are heat stable so that it will not become murky when warmed or aged. Adding bentonite, a clarifying agent, to the juice directly before or immediately after fermentation will yield clearer looking wine.  When bentonite is directly  after the wine has reached dryness, it is cleaner and allows it more time to settle in order for the flavors in the wine to be prominent.  After you let your wine sit for a few weeks, the bentonite will fall to the bottom, along with the protein that can cause the murkiness.


The wine seems a little murky here, but that is easy to fix! 

Small amounts of sediment will naturally appear at the bottom of the bottle, but you do not want your wine to look murky.  Most home winemakers fine and filter wines before bottling. The purpose of fining and filtering is to clarify the wine and reduce the cloudiness you are seeing.  Through fining and filtering, you are removing yeast, bacteria, or other microscopic particles depending on the size and type of filter you are using.


Sugar, Sugar, Sugar

It is crucial to make sure that your wine is fully fermented to dryness before bottling, unless you want a sweet wine.  As home winemakers, we need to stabilize the wine so that residual sugar does not referment in the bottle, which could cause corks blowing off in the cellar! I have been there, and it’s no fun to clean up. A hydrometer reading below – 1° Brix or .98sg means that the wine is nearly dry. After your wine has reached this point, and you receive the same reading over a three day period, you can assume it is finished.  If you decide to sweeten your wine, you will want to stabilize it with the proper amounts of Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate, as stated on the bottles.

Potassium Metabisulfite powder is a wine additive used to kill wild yeast and bacteria, and it acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting both the color and flavors of wine. Potassium Sorbate is a yeast inhibitor used to prevent further fermentation in wines with residual sugar. It doesn’t kill yeast, but prevents them from dividing to produce new yeast cells.

Testing for sweetness

Testing for sweetness

All in all remember the 3 important steps:

1. Cold Stabilization
2. Filtering
3. Sugar

If you can remember to do these three things, you will be on your way to creating a perfect wine.


Until later,

Dan Wolfe

PIWC Associate Winemaker


Welcome to Our New PIWC Website

Welcome to Our NEW, and much improved, Presque Isle Wine Cellars Website.

After months of development and planning, we are proud to welcome you to our more attractive, easy to use, and more informative Presque Isle Wine Cellars website. Our goal was to create a website that makes it easier for our visitor to make purchases, navigate our winemaking resources, and obtain information on our Isle House and Winery events and everyday operations. To accomplish this, our new website features:

  •  A fresh new look with high quality images and a consistent look and feel across the site
  • Improved navigation to make it easier to find the pages, information, and products you are looking for
  • All new Tips and Techniques page, which better organizes the resources we provided you with on our old site, along with all new resources to better assist you with your winemaking endeavors, and more articles and professional advice to be added continuously
  • Improved product search functionality to allow you to find the products you are looking for effortlessly, and sort them how you would like to see them
  • A NEW product line of beer making supplies available for sale if you are interested in crafting your own brew
  • State of the art security to protect your information and maintain your privacy
  • The feature to check out as a guest if you are in a hurry, or create an account to save time and effort on future orders
  • New acceptance of American Express
  • And much, much more.

In our efforts to allow you, our customers and visitors, to begin taking advantage of the site as quickly as possible, we are still in the process of moving our entire product catalog from the old site to the new. We hope we haven’t missed any of your favorite items, but if you do not see what you are looking for, please call us to order by phone, or tell us to add it ASAP if you would prefer to order it online.

We Need Your Help. Please tell us what you like, and what you do not like. We encourage feedback so that we can continue to make your shopping and wine and winemaking experiences as easy and enjoyable as possible. Give us your thoughts and opinions by visiting our feedback form, or give us a call at 814-725-1314 to discuss any suggestions or ideas for improvement that you may have.

We are not done! In order for you to begin benefiting from the site as early as possible, we have launched the site while still in the process of adding product images and various other improvements. We have many plans for additional improvements and features in the very near future, including:

  • A more attractive and user friendly shopping cart view, so you can view the selections in your cart without leaving the product and product category pages.
  • More winemaking and beer making resources to assist you in your winemaking and brewing, and even help you to enjoy your wine tasting.
  • Staff images so you can meet the faces behind the friendly and personable customer service you experience when shopping with us.
  • Live Chat to assist you with any issues you may have- both product and ordering issues and winemaking questions.

Please remember to visit our feedback form if you have any questions, concerns, or comments on the new website design or functionality. Feel free to comment below with any commentary you may have, as well. Enjoy your wine experiences, and let us know if there is any way we can help to improve them. Cheers!