How to care for homemade wine

Wines will diminish, therefore the cask must be kept filled up with some of the same wine, or some other that is as good or better.

They must at all times be kept in a cool cellar; if not, they will ferment. If wines are kept in a warm cellar, an acetous fermentation will soon commence, and the result consequently will be vinegar. The more a wine frets and ferments, the more it parts with its strength and goodness; when wines are found to work improperly in the cellar, the vent-peg must be taken out for a week or two.

If any wine ferments, after being perfected, draw off a quart and boil it, and pour it hot into the cask, add a pint or a quart of brandy, and bung up a day or two after.

Or, draw off the wine, and fumigate the cask, with 1 oz. of flower of brimstone, and 1/2 oz. of cinnamon in powder. Mix the two together, and tie them up in a rag. Turn the bung-hole of the cask downwards, place the rag under the bunghole, and set fire to it, so that the gas ascends into the cask. As soon as it is burnt out, fill up the cask with wine, and bung it up tight.

_To Sweeten a Foul cask._

Set fire to 1 lb. or more of broken charcoal, put it into the cask, and immediately fill up the cask with boiling water. After this roll the cask once or twice a day for a week; then, pour out the charcoal and water, wash out the cask with clean cold water, and expose it to the external air for some days.

_To Improve Poor Wines._

Poor wines may be improved by being racked off, and returned to the cask again; and then putting into the wine about 1 lb. of jar or box raisins, bruised, and 1 quart of brandy.

Or, put into the wine 2 lbs. of honey, and a pint or two of brandy. The honey and brandy to be first mixed together.

Or, draw off 3 or 4 quarts of such wine and fill the cask up with strong wine.

_To Improve Wine when Lowering or Decaying._

Take l oz. of alum, make it into powder; then draw out 4 galls. of wine, mix the powder with it, and beat it well for 1/2 an hour; then fill up the cask, and when fine (which will be in a week's time or little more), bottle it off. This will make it drink fine and brisk.

_To Restore Flat Wines._

Flat wines may be restored by 1 lb of jar raisins, 1 lb. of honey, and 1/2 a pint of spirits of wine, beaten up in a mortar with some of the wine, and then the contents put into the cask.

_To Remove a Musty or Disagreeable Taste in Wine._

Put into the cask 3 or 4 sticks of charcoal, and bung up the cask tight. In a month after take them out.

Or, cut two ripe medlars, put them in a gauze bag, and suspend them from the bung hole into wine, and bung up the cask air-tight. A month after take them out, and bung up the cask again.

Or, mix 1/2 lb. of bruised mustard seed, with 1 pint or more of brandy, and stir it up in the wine; and 2 days after bung up the cask.

_Another Mode._

At the finish of the process, when the brandy or spirit is put to the wine, it is particularly recommended that 1/4 oz. of camphor, in the lump, be dropped into the bung-hole of each 18 galls. of wine.

_Another Mode._

Oil poured upon wine, or any other liquor, will prevent it from growing musty, or turning corrupt.

_To Take Away the Ill Scent of Wines._

Bake a long roller of dough, stuck well with cloves, and hang it in the cask.

_To make Wine Sparkle like Champagne._

Take great care to rack off the wine well, and in March bottle it as quickly as possible. The bottles must be very clean and dry, and the corks of the best sort, made of velvet or white cork. In 2 months' after, the wine will be in a fine condition to drink.

_To Clear Foul or Ropy Wines._

Take 1/2 oz. of chalk in powder, 1/2 oz. of burnt alum, the white of an egg, and l pint of springwater.

Beat the whole up in a mortar, and pour it into the wine; after which, roll the cask 10 minutes; and then place it on the stand, leaving the bung out for a few days. As soon as the wine is fine, rack it off.

Or, take 1 oz. of ground rice, 3 oz. of burnt alum, and 1/2 oz. of bay-salt.

Beat the whole up in a mortar, with 1 pint or more of the wine, pour it into the cask, and roll it 10 minutes. The cask must be bunged up for a few days. As soon as such wine becomes fine, rack it off.

Or, bring the cask of wine out of the cellar and place it in a shady situation to receive the circulation of the air, and take out the bung. In 3 weeks or a month reek it off into a sweet cask which fill up, and put into the wine 1 oz. of cinnamon, in the stick; and bung it up tight.

_Another method._

Tap the cask, and put a piece of coarse linen cloth upon that end of the cock which goes to the inside of the cask; then rack it into a dry cask to 30 galls. of wine, and put in 6 oz. of powdered alum. Roll and shake them well together, and it will fine down, and prove a very clear and pleasant wine.

_To Correct Green or Harsh Wines._

Take l oz. of salt, 1/2 oz. calcified gypsum, in powder, and 1 pt. of skimmed milk. Mix these up with a little of the wine, and then pour the mixture into the cask, put in a few lavender leaves, stir the wine with a stick, so as not to disturb the lees, and bung it up.

_To Correct Sharp, Tart, Acid Wines._

Mix 1 oz. of calcined gypsum in powder and 2 lbs. of honey in l qt. of brandy, pour the mixture into the wine, and stir it so as not to disturb the lees; fill up the cask, and the following day bung it up. Rack this wine as soon as fine.

Or, mix 1/2 oz. of the salt of tartar, 1/2 oz. of calcined gypsum, in powder, with a pint of the wine; pour it into the cask, and put an ounce of cinnamon in the stick, stir the wine without disturbing the lees, fill up the cask, and the day following bung it up.

Or, boil 3 oz. of rice; when cold put it into a gauze bag, and immerse it into the wine; put into the wine also a few sticks of cinnamon, and bung up the cask. In about a month after, take the rice out.

_To Restore Sour Wines._

Take calcined gypsum in powder l oz., cream of tartar in powder 2 oz. Mix them in a pint or more of brandy; pour it into the cask, put in also, a few sticks of cinnamon, and then stir the wine without disturbing the lees. Bung up the cask the next day.

_Another Method._

Boil a gallon of wine with some beaten oyster-shells and crab's claws, burnt into powder, 1 oz. of each to every 10 galls. of wine, then strain out the liquor through a sieve, and when cold put it into wine of the same sort, and it will give it a pleasant lively taste. A lump of unslaked lime put into the cask will also keep wine from turning sour.


Many wines require fining before they are racked, and the operation of fining is not always necessary. Most wines, well made, do not want fining; this may be ascertained by drawing a little into a glass from a peg-hole.

One of the best finings is as follows: Take 1 lb. of fresh marsh-mallow roots, washed clean, and cut into small pieces; macerate them in 2 qts. of soft water for 24 hours, then gently boil the liquor down to 3 half pints, strain it, and when cold mix with it 1/2 oz. of pipe-clay or chalk in powder; then pour the mucilage into the cask, and stir up the wine so as not to disturb the lees, and leave the vent-peg out for some days after.

Or, take boiled rice 2 tablespoonfuls, the white of 1 new egg, and 1/2 oz. of burnt alum, in powder. Mix with a pint or more of the wine, then pour the mucilage into the cask, and stir the wine with a stout stick, but not to agitate the lees.

Or, dissolve in a gentle heat 1/2 oz. of isinglass in a pint or more of the wine, then mix with it 1/2 oz. of chalk, in powder; when the two are well incorporated pour it into the cask, and stir the wine, so as not to disturb the lees.

Or, beat up the white of eggs, l egg to 6 galls.; draw the wine into the beaten egg, and keep stirring all the while, then return the wine and froth to the cask, and bung up.

_To Check Fermentation._

It is in the first place necessary to consider whether the existing state of fermentation be the original or secondary stage of that process which comes on after the former has ceased for several days, and is indeed the commencement of acetone fermentation. That of the former kind rarely proceeds beyond what is necessary for the perfect decomposition of the saccharine and other parts of the vegetable substance necessary for the production of spirit, unless the liquor be kept too warm or is too weak, and left exposed to the air after the vinous fermentation is completed. The means to correct these circumstances are sufficiently obvious. The heat for spirituous fermentation should not be above 60; when it is much above that point the liquor passes rapidly through the stage of vinous fermentation, and the acetous immediately commences. When too long continued fermentation arises from the liquor having been kept in a warm situation, it will be soon checked by bunging, after being removed into a cold place; the addition of a small proportion of spirits of wine or brandy, previously to closing it up, is also proper. A degree of cold, approaching to the freezing point, will cheek fermentation of whatever kind. Fermentation of this kind cannot be stopped by using a chemical agent, except such as would destroy the qualities of the liquor intended to be produced.

The secondary stage of fermentation, or the commencement of the acetous, may be stopped by removing the liquor to a cool situation, correcting the acid already formed; and it the liquor contain but little spirit, the addition of a proper proportion of brandy is requisite.

The operation of racking is also necessary to preserve liquor in a vinous state, and to render it clear. This process should be performed in a cool place.

_To Restore Pricked British Wines._

Rack the wines down to the lees into another cask, where the lees of good wines are fresh; then put a pint of strong aqua vitae, and scrape 1/2 lb. of yellow beeswax into it, which, by heating the spirit over a gentle fire, will melt; after which dip a piece of cloth into it, and when a little dry set it on fire with a brimstone match, put it into the bunghole, and stop it up close.

_Another Method._

First prepare a fresh empty cask that has had the same kind of wine in which it is about to be racked, then match it, and rack off the wine, putting to every 10 galls. 2 oz. of oyster powder and 1/2 oz. of bay-salt; then get the staff and stir it well about, letting it stand till it is fine, which will be in a few days; after which rack it off into another cask previously matched, and if the lees of some wine of the same kind can be got, it will improve it much. Put likewise a quart of brandy to every 10 galls., and, if the cask has been emptied a long time, it will match better on that account; but, even if a new cask, the matching must not be omitted. A fresh empty cask is to be preferred.

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