The Joys of Blending

Blending different grape varieties to make a better finished wine is a bedrock practice in the commercial wine world — and one often overlooked by home winemakers. If they do it in

Tasting Wine with Dr. Olmo: Dry Finish

Back in my grad-school days, I loved hanging around the lab to watch Dr. Olmo taste wine. I spent so much time there that his technician said he should charge me an

Must Haves

Easy Electric Bottle Filler If you’ve ever used the Buon Vino automatic bottle filler, you know how easy it is to bottle a batch of wine. Buon Vino has made the job

Build a Filter Clamp: Projects

Plate filtration systems are popular among home winemakers. These systems use disposable filter plates with a filter selectivity that usually ranges from 0.5–6.0 microns. The filter plates must be changed every so

Avoiding Kit Pitfalls

Where are a lot of wine kits out there today, and their variety and quality is improving. Kits wines are designed to be easy to make, but they’re not foolproof. Even kit

Riesling: Varietal Focus

A phrase we’ve often heard in recent years is, “A. B. C. — anything but Chardonnay.”  As many consumers set down the Chard and start searching for alternative white wines — and

Grape Breeding 101

Learn what goes into breeding a new grape variety.

Plan Your First Vineyard

Detailed steps every home viticulturist should take before planting their first vineyard.

Pick Your Grapes

Somewhere, buried deep within the psyche of almost everyone who makes his own wine, there is a grape grower trying to get out. As someone who once successfully ripened Seyval Blanc grapes

My Backyard Vineyard

“Mark? Don’t you want to take a look inside the house?” Hmmm. Check out that land. “Mark? The house?” Yeah … sure. The house. I take one last, inclusive look at the

Aging Gracefully

Some truly remarkable changes occur when a wine is allowed to age. The more simple initial aromas eventually give way to a panoply of rounded, complex bouquets. Cabernet can take on the

2001 Label Contest Winners

Gold Medal Winners Joan Huff Louisville, Kentucky Joan won honorable mention in last year’s contest with a similarly colorful label. She and her husband ordered some Muscat grapes from California and things

Home Harvest: Backyard Vines

Harvest is swiftly approaching and we need to get ready. Learning some of the lingo and common practices of commercial vineyards will help you choose the perfect day for bringing the fruit

Who Wants to be a Winemaker?

Do you know why two identical grape varieties from geographically similar viticultural areas will turn out different wines? Or, could you correlate a wine’s quality and aging potential to its acidity, pH

Mid-Season Vineyard Tips

It’s easy to forget that it takes two full years to make good wine from your own grapes. The first year is spent in the vineyard tending the vines, spraying sulfur, removing

Seyval Blanc: Varietal Focus

The Seyval Blanc (Seyve-Villard 5276), a cold-climate white grape variety, is the leading choice for many winemakers who live in the chilly eastern and northern regions of North America. This hardy varietal

Making Country Wines: Tips from the Pros

Did you ever think, “I’m sick of dealing with grapes! Finding them, transporting them, crushing them! It’s a hassle! I want something easier!” If you have, you’re in luck, because this issue’s

Keep it Clean

Cleaning and sanitizing is the boring, dull part of the process. Never mind that this is the most important part of winemaking. It is a lot like work, so let’s do it well and get back to having fun!

pHiguring out pH

Get an understanding of pH, why it’s important, how to measure pH, and how to correct it.


Best of Show

Why bother with wine competitions? It’s a fair question. Entering a competition means putting your wine up for evaluation against those of other winemakers, and that can be a bit daunting. Some

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blueberry!

Americans love the taste of blueberries, and with good reason. Blueberries are uniquely American. Maybe that’s why I always think about blueberry wine when summer rolls around and I start planning Fourth

Blending Batches: Tips from the Pros

The moment of truth in winemaking often comes when you taste your wine to see how it turned out and you wish it could be just a touch better. Maybe the wine

Solving the Sulfite Puzzle

Let’s try to demystify sulfite by reviewing some fundamental chemistry. This will help us understand how sulfite protects wine and how much “free SO2” we are introducing into our wine.

Pruning Tips: Backyard Vines

To understand how pruning your backyard grapevines will affect growth, crop load and wine quality, you must first understand how grapevines grow in the wild. When vines sprout from seed, the vine

Sauvignon Blanc: Varietal Focus

During the mid 1980s in New Zealand, when the Cloudy Bay Winery captured the attention of the world marketplace with its version of Sauvignon Blanc, a new era was born. Today, many