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2017 WineMaker Magazine Conference & Kickstarter

Vinmetrica at the Winemaker Magazine’s annual conference. June 1-3 2017, Ithaca, New York.

Vinmetrica was at the Winemaker Magazine Conference, held at the Statler Hotel on the Cornell University campus, amid the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. Every year the conference hosts hundreds of wine and cider enthusiasts who are passionate about their craft. As always there were numerous presentations and workshops on vineyard practices, wine making, and of course, quality management of the product.   In that regard, many attendees stopped by the Vinmetrica booth to hear and see the latest products, including our ABV kit and dissolved oxygen system, as well as the workhorse SC-300 SO2 and pH/TA analyzer.

Of course there were several opportunities to try some great local wines as well as the proud creations of the members.

Next year, Winemaker Magazine will host its conference right here in San Diego, so Vinmetrica will especially do its part to make it another success!

KickStarter Program through July 29th 2017

Don’t forget to check out our WinePilot Project on Kickstarter! Go to www.kickstarter.com and search on Vinmetrica.

Vinmetrica’s WinePilot project will bring the power of smartphones and the internet to your wine making. Our latest versions of the SC-300 are pre-configured for serial communication, and now we will develop the communication module and smartphone app to control, analyze and display your wine’s chemistry and history.

There are several reward levels if you pledge your support. You will see these options on the right hand side of the web page. You can upgrade recent versions of the SC-200 and-300, or receive considerable discounts for older versions of any of these, including the original SC-100 and 100A.

You’ll receive the latest version of the SC-300 with the WinePilot adapter and Smartphone App!

Thanks!

~Dr. J Richard Sportsman, Ph. D, President

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What is residual sugar and why is it important?

Do you want to take your winemaking to the next level? We hope you already measure important parameters like free SO2 (sulfites), pH, titratable acidity and malic acid, but residual sugar has always been tricky, expensive, and/or subjective when trying to get a quantitative answer. Now Vinmetrica introduces its NEW Residual Sugar reagent kit.  Using the pH meter you already have, you can now get accurate and reliable residual sugar data.

hexose sugars

Residual sugar is simply the amount of sugar left over in your wine after alcoholic fermentation has completed (in some cases this includes sugar that has been added later to increase sweetness).  Residual sugar values are expressed in g/L or as a percentage of weight to volume. Dry wines typically have up to 4 g/L (0.4%) residual sugar , medium-dry wines have up to 12 g/L (1.2%), medium wines up to 45 g/L (4.5%) and sweet wines have over 45 g/L. You certainly want to be sure that your Chardonnay or Syrah is dry, while you probably want that Riesling to be moderately sweet.  So knowing the level of residual sugar in your wine sample is important.  But there are two other factors that you want to keep in mind.

First, the residual sugar level lets you know that fermentation is over and whether stabilization will be needed.  Wines containing about 2 g/L of residual sugar or more may need to be stabilized with potassium sorbate (sorbitol) to ensure that fermentation will not start up and cause bottle explosions. You do not want to add sorbitol to wines that have already undergone malolactic fermentation as the sorbitol reacts negatively with the lactic bacteria and can cause unpleasant odors. You should stabilize your wine with sulfite and sterile filtration instead and monitor your wine while it ages in bulk to ensure fermentation does not start up again.

The second reason why measuring residual sugar is important is for labeling purposes: you are able to characterize your wine’s sweetness. Knowing the concentration of residual sugar in your wine allows you to classify it as a sweet wine or a dry wine or something in between. The European Union has classifications based on the residual sugar level, for example.

In our newly released Residual Sugar Reagent Kit, you will now have the tools to quantitatively test your residual sugar levels. Using the pH meter you already have, the Residual Sugar reagent kit can give you reliable, accurate results quickly and affordably at less than $3.00 per test.

For questions, please email info@vinmetrica.com or visit the Residual Sugar Reagent Kit product page (//vinmetrica.behladev.com/product/residual-sugar-reagent-kit/) for more information.

 

Adapted from: http://winemakermag.com/501-measuring-residual-sugar-techniques by Daniel Pambianchi

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Cataloging and Maintaining a Winemakers Notebook

The beauty of winemaking is that no matter which side of your brain you use more often, it encompasses both; bringing together the art and the science of winemaking. But here is the real question. How many of our readers make their wine in a scientific fashion? Noting every single detail about your sulfite levels, color of your wine, the taste, the smell and even the location it is stored in? Or are you the type of winemaker that adds sulfite without measuring or doesn’t take notes and just does “what the wine tells them to do”?

I realize that not everyone has had to live through the long and trying hours of writing in and maintaining a laboratory notebook. I remember in college, my lab partners and I would get together and try to remember how many milliliters we pipetted here or how long we incubated there… If only I would have learned sooner that the attention to detail and the thoroughness of a lab notebook can make or break it in the end.  It’s the same when you are making wine. If you keep a detailed notebook you will have all the information right at your finger tips should you ever need it.

How many of our readers wish they were able to duplicate a vintage wine with a new harvest? It may be possible to do so, especially if you keep thorough notebooks. Plus, this sort of practice is great if you decide you want to become a bonded winery somewhere down the road.

So, what are the tricks to keeping a great winemaking lab notebook?

Setting up a great lab notebook:

  1. It’s always good to start with a sturdy notebook with bound pages, such as a standard composition book available in most stores and office supply places.  M ake sure to put your name and contact information on the front page.
  2. A table of contents is also a great feature to start with. This is especially good if you plan on having several types of wine or carboys in one notebook.  This brings up another good point; you can’t use a table of contents without numbers on the pages! I know this may be a bit time consuming but it will be worth it! Trust me!  So number your pages right away.
  3. I also always like to leave several blank pages at the front of the book for a “random notes” section. Here I may write the information about the potassium metabisulfite (KMBS) I purchased such as where I bought it, how much it was, the LOT number on the package and the vendor. This information may seem boring, but hey! It’s always good to have just in case.
  4. If you are using one notebook for several wines, break your notebook up into sections and write any distinguishing information about the separate varietals on “cover pages”. Make sure to write these “cover pages” down in your table of contents.

 

What do I record?

  1. It is important to write down detailed information as you are performing a procedure. The rule of thumb is that your notebook should be detailed enough so that someone with little or no knowledge of what you are doing can replicate the exact same procedure. Make sure your entries are clear and legible too! This can be important if you are not the only one testing sulfite levels in your wine.
  2. Make sure you write down the barrel number you are testing and any identifying information of each sample.
  3. It is a good idea to record as much as you can even though you may not need all the information. Record pH levels, ppm SO2, amount of KMBS added, etc… It is very important to keep track of your units of measure. If you are adding KMBS to your sample and it is a 10% KMBS solution and you write down 10 as the amount added, someone else looking at the notebook may think that is 10 grams of KMBS powder or that you added KMBS 10 times. Units of measure are very important in a lab notebook.

Finishing Up and Maintaining the Notebook:

As you record your activities in the laboratory, ask yourself, “Did I…”

  • Keep up with the table of contents?
  • Date each page?
  • Number each page consecutively?
  • Enter all information directly into the notebook?
  • Include complete details of all first-time procedures?
  • Include calculations?
  • Highlight my results?

Now, I am not saying that this type of detailed lab notebook should be followed by everyone. This is simply a nice way to keep your notes organized and maintained. Always remember to keep your notebook in the same spot after testing.

Happy Testing!

Taylor

 

Adapted from: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~bioslabs/tools/notebook/notebook.html#top

 

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Where does Vinmetrica’s SC-300 stand when compared to other Free SO2 testers on the market?

SC-300

How does the Vinmetrica SC-300 SO2 and pH/TA Analyzer Kit compare to other Free SO2 testers on the market? Daniel Pambianchi has done some benchmark comparisons between several Free SO2 testers available. He has created a full report outlining the methods, results and his conclusions. Thank you Daniel for your report. We are happy to share this with our customers.

To view the full report, click here.

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The NEW SC-50 MLF Analyzer

By now you may have heard that we just released our newest product, the SC-50 MLF Analyzer. We have been working on this for nearly two years, mainly to be sure that the product is easy to use, reliable and accurate. The approach we took was to have the device measure the increase in CO2 pressure that occurs when malic acid is converted to lactic acid, a process we call ‘Biopressure’. This increase in pressure is then converted to an electrical current that the SC-100 or -300 SO2 analyzers can pick up and display. Pretty simple really, but the devil is in the details as they say. And quite honestly we expect the methods (but not the hardware) to improve over time as we learn new ways to make it even faster to use.

221px-L-Äpfelsäure.svg (Chemical Structure of l-Malic Acid)

They idea of using pressure to measure malic acid in wine is not new in itself. Over 50 years ago, George Kolar of the Australian Wine Research Institute published an article entitled “Manometric Determination of l(—) Malic Acid in Grape Musts and Wines”* that described a method adapted from earlier biochemical research. This method was adopted widely during the 60s, but was eventually displaced by other analytical techniques, most notably the paper and liquid chromatographic methods, and enzymatic spectrometric assays. All of these later methods were either simpler (paper chromatography) or more accurate and suitable for commercial laboratory use. In contrast, the manometric (i.e., based on measuring gas pressure) method, while sensitive and accurate, involved complex glassware and a good deal of professional training to execute.

We believe that the SC-50 incorporates 21st century technology that makes it a pretty good manometric device that is easy to use; the Biopressure agents, reagents, and methods we have developed over the the last 2 years give Dr. Kolar’s technique an entirely new lease on life. You should be able to complete a few or a few dozen tests in 30 minutes, something that would have taken him (or probably his graduate student, poor soul) hours and hours, 50 years ago.

*Am. J. Enol. Vitic 1962 vol. 13 no. 3 99-104 http://www.ajevonline.org/content/13/3/99.abstract

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Vinmetrica Travels to Colorado

Vinmetrica specializes in wine testing equipment, but did you know that our instruments can also be used for beer making as well as distilling spirits? During the distillation of whiskey, the water used is the most crucial liquid used for production. It is vital to have water at the proper pH in order to smoothly run through the distillation process of mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation. All good whiskeys start with the use of good quality water. The water needs to be at the proper pH, lower than pH 7, which is crucial for starch conversion. A distiller must also monitor the pH of the mash. The American Distilling Institute discusses the importance of obtaining and using a good pH meter in their paper, The Craft of Distilling Whiskey (http://www.distilling.com/PDF/craftbook.pdf).

 
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A few months ago a customer purchased one of our SC-200 Kits in the hopes of using it for his up and coming distillery located in Berthoud, Colorado. Being in the heart of one of the largest craft/micro-brewing regions in the United States, the opening of K J Wood Distillers was a nice change and the owner, John Wood, was very welcoming. We always like checking in with our customers but the opportunity to visit one was a special treat. Their grand opening celebration took place on June 27th at their distillery. They offered several types of Gin cocktails ranging from a cucumber soda fizz to a cocktail with habanero peppers. I have never actually tried Gin but have heard that it can be a bit hard to drink. Their “Jinn Gin” was phenomenal. Yes, phenomenal!

 
During the celebration I was introduced to John’s neighbor who owns a winery, Sweetheart City Wines. After some casual discussion about wineries and wine-making in general, I was taken into his winery itself and given the grand tour. Come to find out he is one of our original customers and owns the original model of the SC-100. These two neighbors both own Vinmetrica SC series systems! One for a winery and one for a distillery. What are the chances of that?

 
Taylor had a wonderful time visiting K J Wood Distillers and seeing Colorado. I can’t wait to try the whiskey and I hope that their Vinmetrica SC-200 helps them make the best whiskey out there. Thank you to all our customers; from the wineries to the distilleries.

 

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Vinmetrica Labs Is Now TTB Certified!

Did you know that if you plan on exporting your wine, you are required to present a specific chemical analysis? Vinmetrica is here to help! After a long testing and analysis process, Vinmetrica now has TTB certified laboratory technicians!

The process to obtain this certification was not an easy feat. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau provided us with two standard wine samples, one red and one white. Being TTB certified gives our customers the piece of mind that their wines and spirits are being analyzed properly and according the the industry standard. Some of the analyses we performed for the certification were alcohol by volume, acetic acid, residual sugars, free sulfite, and methanol.

Vinmetrica provides services that give wine makers the confidence that their wine production is running smoothly.  Our TTB certification gives you the assurance that our analytical methods are held to the highest standards.

See you in two years TTB!

 

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