The Perils of Volatile Acidity

It’s as much a process as it is a condition. It’s also a perfectly natural part of the fermenting process. It can happen at any time and depending on when and how

One Vine at a Time: Dry Finish

The first year Tam Cloer experimented with planting grapevines on his 18-acre property in Apex, North Carolina — just southwest of Raleigh, the state’s capital — a late spring frost killed every

Entering Wine Competitions

You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” –Marian Wright Edelman I’ve always liked Marian’s sentiment. There’s nothing that says you have

Winning Winemaking Gold Medal Tips

Out of the 2,247 wines entered in the 2005 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition, six still wines topped the charts in the best of show categories of red, white, dessert, fruit, kit

True Champagne: Tips from the Pros

Two professional Champagne-makers share their secrets for home winemakers.

2005 WineMaker Label Contest Winners!

View the winning labels of the 2005 WineMaker label contest.

Building Diamond Bin Wine Racks

Diamond bins, so called because of their orientation, are a simple storage option. I recommend building a diamond bin frame and making some horizontal shelves for holding wine in case boxes. (By

Wild Yeast: The Pros and Cons of Spontaneous Fermentation

Making wine with wild yeast has been a source of debate for many because of its unpredictable nature. Should you make your wine from wild yeast or cultured yeast? This article will provide some insight to help you make an informed decision.

Home Winemaking Pro: Dry Finish

The Cat’s Meow Vineyard has been the moniker for my homemade winemaking operation in Warsaw, Kentucky for the past four years. My eight cats that “patrol” the grounds were the inspiration for

Field Blending: Tips from the Pros

People blend wines for many reasons and are able to fine tune their blends by drawing the best characteristics from each wine blended. For centuries winemakers have started their blends right in

The Pomace Predicament

Winemaking, like baking bread or beer brewing, is one of humankind’s most ancient food-manufacturing processes. And, just as baking and brewing leave behind cereal stalks and spent grain, winemaking produces one of

Winemaker’s Garden and Orchard

The average person, upon hearing the term “winemaker’s garden,” will probably think of fruit, berries and perhaps a couple of grapevines, but it can mean so much more. Depending on what wines

Grape/Non-Grape Blending

The first time I ever blended two wines was an exercise in ignorance. I had a dewberry wine that had beautiful color and clarity but tasted flat. I also had a blackberry

Aging Your Kit Wines

Discussions of wine aging range well into the past, from the biblical story of Luke and putting new wine into old skins, to the ancient Roman interest in Falernian wine, which could

A Rosé by any Other Name

In 1963, I first experienced the romance of wine in the form of a basket-covered Chianti bottle stuffed with a candle and covered in dripping wax. It sat on a red and

2004 WineMaker Label Contest Winners!

The winners of the 2004 WineMaker Label Contest

An Amateur Pouring Alongside the Pros

On January 29, 2005, the Fort Mason in San Francisco will be transformed into a wine lover’s paradise. Nearly 300 wineries will be offering their Zinfandels to thousands of samplers. All of

Pinot Paradise: Backyard Vines

Orv Madden and his wife LeAnn have a talent for turning their dreams into reality. I remember meeting them for the first time in the winter of 2003 at a breakfast restaurant

Hobby Harvest

When Philip Hanyok pulled up to Melancy Hilltop Vineyards in Perry County, Pennsylvania, early last October, he found Mel Heffley, the vineyard’s owner, already deep in discussion with another home winemaker. Heffley

Meritage: What’s in a Name?

One evening this past winter, a friend was perusing my trophy shelf, where I exhibit my wines that have won medals or ribbons in amateur winemaking competitions. He picked up one bottle

Fruit Port

Port wines are steeped in history and date back to sometime in the 17th century. It is said that a partnership between the British and Portugal and a shortage of wine from

Same Grape. Different Yeasts

The sensory profile of a wine is its calling card, its résumé and its history. The quality of a wine, and its ability to leave a lasting imprint in our memory, is

Concord: Varietal Focus

Just about everyone, wine consumer and abstainer alike, knows the name Concord. It may have been the first sip of wine to pass the lips of many beginner wine drinkers. Over 300,000

2003 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition Winners!

1,499 entries 287 wine flights 221 total judging hours 41 American states 8 Canadian provinces 4 countries Walking into a large ballroom packed with 1,499 wine bottles organized into 287 wine flights

Cool Refreshing Riesling

In her exhaustive survey of grapes and grapegrowing, Vines, Grapes and Wines, Jancis Robinson ends the chapter on Riesling with a summary that’s all-too-true: “Unbeatable quality; indisputably aristocratic. Ludicrously unfashionable.” Recognized by