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Phil Plummer was one of the experienced judges at the 2022 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. After three days of judging he found himself repeating similar comments on numerous entry sheets. Now he’s here to explain in greater depth the most common flaws he tasted and the techniques that can be employed to avoid them in your next vintage.

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Microbial Stability

Chemical and microbial stability measures must be taken after fermentation but prior to bottle aging to protect the wine from contamination and subsequent off-aroma generation caused by microbial metabolism. Learn the most common methods for achieving microbial stability, both during aging in the cellar and at packaging.

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How ripe your grapes are when picked is one of the most important factors in determining what your wine will taste like. Here is a closer look at how a grape’s development affects the resulting wine.

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If you are lucky enough to live on the West Coast of the United States, near a winegrowing region, getting grapes is relatively easy. However, living on the East Coast — or anywhere that is not near an established viticultural area — does not mean you cannot get quality wine grapes. Here are some keys to success when buying grapes shipped from a distant location.

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Better White Blends

There are lots of reasons to try blending white wines, such as adding complexity, correcting a deficiency, or simply making something fun and new. Find out more about which white grapes work well together, and how to plan the perfect blend.

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When I first started making wine at home, I understood the role and importance of sulfite in preserving wine, but I never could get the same answer twice to my queries on

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Learn about your cork and closure options when it comes to bottling

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Get some basic pointers for making hard cider or apple wine.

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Pumpkin Wine

A recipe for pumpkin wine.

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The second and perhaps the most important reason is that if you’re doing your final rinsing with an acid blend that contains malic acid, you’re potentially releasing a food source for various bacteria into your equipment and into your cellar’s environment (like drains).

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Get the latest winemaking news, products, and events happening in the hobby (& professional) world.

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Grape Profiles

Here are some abbreviated profiles for lesser known wine grapes varietals: Aglianico: Considered by some to be one of the three great red wine grapes of Italy (along with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo),