Articles

Top 100 Wine Kits of 2018

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Nearly 700 wines made from kits were entered into more than 30 different categories and judged in the 2018 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. So which kits made the best wines? Here are the top 100 scoring wine kits according to the judges.

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Get Crystal Clear About Filtration

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If you want to serve a crystal clear and microbial stable wine, it will require filtration. Explore the “how” and “why” of wine filtration, along with the equipment needed to do it.

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Wine Kit Tweaks

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One of the best things about wine kits is that they are relatively easy to make into great tasting wine if you just follow the directions. However, once you’ve mastered that skill, you may be tempted to tweak the instructions or ingredients to customize your wine more to your liking.

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Aperitifs

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When you make your own aperitif wines at home — such as sweet and dry vermouth — you can then make your own cocktails with them. Learn the basics of making these drinks, plus three cocktail recipes sure to appease even your guests who aren’t wine drinkers.


The Magic of Crush Day: Because We Can

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Crush day can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions: Excitement, anxiety, joy, frustration, and of course, exhaustion. A reader tells of his own personal crush day magic and why he does it year-in and year-out. (Hint: Because he can.)


SO2 Fundamentals

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Sulfites get a bad rap in the world outside of true wine aficionados. Alex Russan takes readers on a journey through the world of sulfites and describes a couple schools of thought regarding its use throughout the winemaking process.

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Trebbiano Family Tree

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Grape descriptors and the region of origin were often used in the Old World in the naming of a grape. In the case of the Trebbiano family of grapes, this was indeed the case. Unfortunately what they didn’t quite know is the family is much more diverse than just a few varietals.

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Cork Variability, MLF Question, pH Testing, and Aceto Problems

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A concerned reader asks the Wizard why commercially-purchased wines might have their corks raised. She also answers questions on metabisulfite use before malolactic fermentation, when to re-test for pH, and dealing with Acetobacter issues.

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Keys To Great White Wine

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A beautifully crafted white wine is a thing of beauty. If done well, a winemaker can be drinking a very nice example 8 months after harvest, plenty enough to be sipping one


Doughboys Tribute Merlot

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I recently combined my winemaking hobby with the reverence I have for my ancestors who served in the military. Specifically, I made a batch of wine as a tribute to my three


Vineyard Management Review

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Are you ready for some viticultural self-reflection? When harvest is wrapping up, there is no better time to reflect on what you have done right in your vineyard and factors you could improve upon for next year.

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Noble Nebbiolo: Time to raise it from the fog

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Explore the grape varietal made famous by the Italian wineries producing Barolo and Barbaresco wines in the Piemonte region of northern Italy. Learn about Nebbiolo’s history, viticulture, enology, and future.

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The Sulfite Blues, Curing A Stuck Fermentation and Freezing Grapes

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Q I have a Merlot to which I added SO2 thirteen days ago and it smelled ok. but last night I pulled a sample and it had a bruised apple smell and

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Crafting Pinot Noir Wines

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Finesse the legendary grape from Burgundy.

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Fortify It! Adding Spirits To Your Wine

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Your first fortified wine can be a little intimidating. What method are you going to utilize? Sweet or dry? What type of spirits are you going to use? Then again, maybe you’re

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From Hobby to Startup

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Thinking about taking your winemaking hobby commercial? There’s a lot of planning that must go into the endeavor, as Jason Phelps (a longtime home winemaker who opened a commercial meadery earlier this year) explains. Here’s what you need to consider before the actual process of making wine begins.


Fantastic Fermentations

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Careful attention must be paid to fermentation to achieve great wine. We gathered experts from four different yeast laboratories to glean advice on selecting yeast strains, co-inoculation, optimal fermentation conditions, and more.

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Single-Batch Bottle Variability

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If you’ve ever opened multiple bottles of wine made from the same batch and noticed they don’t taste identical, then you, too, have experienced bottle variability. Learn the potential causes and ways to alleviate variability among your bottles.

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Enter the 19th Annual Home Label Contest

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Enter the WineMaker Label Contest for a chance to win great prizes!


Mulled Wines: That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

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As autumn rolls into winter, the average person’s appetite for a chilled white wine, ice-cold beer or slushy blender drink wanes. A hearty red wine with deep fruit and nice tannins can

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Savoring Wine: Dry Finish

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There are many wines in Greece, but only one way to drink it. That, in any event, is what I was told on my first visit. Athens was chaotic and noisy, but

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Preventing Oxidation, Excess Sulfite

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I need help to prevent oxidation. I make about 40 gallons (151 L) from California grapes each year, usually finishing quite nice, but last year’s Sangiovese suffers from oxidation. After fermentation and

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Wes’ Post-Harvest Quiz

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Harvest/Post Harvest Quiz: With Pro-Inspired Conceptual Cheat-Sheets Mark your answers and keep a running score in the margins. There will be a discussion of point totals at the end of the article.


The Pearson Square

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The Pearson Square is a tool to calculate the number of parts of two different solutions with different concentrations that are required to bring one of the solutions to a desired concentration. The Pearson Square can be intimidating to newbies, but when dissecting it piece by piece it is relatively straight-forward, and understanding it will pay dividends.


Sparkling Wine & Blackberry Wine: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, I am in the process of vinting a Champagne, and after having read of a couple of different ways to create the “sparkling” effect, I am now thoroughly confused.