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Techniques in Home Winemaking

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Wine tastes overly bitter

A wine that tastes overly bitter or astringent is most often a result of too much tannins and may be the result of extraction of “bad” tannins from green stems and/or grape seeds from crushing, maceration or pressing, over-extraction of “good” tannins from maceration or from oak barrel aging, or simply poor balance between wine components. Good tannins will soften over time, although it could take a very long time, and will reduce astringency.

Extraction of "bad" tannins from stems and seeds, or over-extraction of "good" tannins from maceration or barrel aging

An effective way to reduce tannins is to perform a fining with egg white, PVPP or gelatin, or using gum arabic. Maceration with OptiRED as a corrective treatment is also very effective for helping to integrate green or aggressive tannins. Alternatively, you can blend a highly tannic wine with a softer wine.

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Wine is not balanced
A wine may also be bitter or astringent because of an imbalance in the wine components. Specifically, high acidity or high alcohol will reinforce bitterness and astringency. Typically, you will not want to alter the alcohol content, but you can reduce TA. This will make the wine much more balanced even if the alcohol content is relatively high, although considered normal for the type of wine.

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