The Fine Art of Fining

Fining is a process that clears your wine after fermentation is complete. It also stabilizes the wine by speeding up the formation and precipitation of excess tannins, unstable proteins and other microscopic

Thinking Outside the Box

Most home winemakers are familiar with grape concentrates, whether they’ve used them in a “brew-on-premise” store or at home. What many people don’t know, however, is that concentrates are surprisingly versatile. Besides

An Inside Look at Competition

Most winemakers begin by wanting to make an affordable wine through their own efforts. Once they succeed, they focus more on perfecting the finished product. Their next question becomes, “Am I making

Blending to Improve Wines

On the surface there doesn’t seem to be much to blending wines. Blending, in itself, is a physically simple task. You take one wine and stir it with another, and the result

Even More Practical Wine Terms

Definitions: Acetobacter: A group of bacteria that oxidatively convert wine to vinegar (ethanol into acetic acid) through an aerobic (oxygen present) fermentation. Acid blend: A generic name for any commercially available blend

Making Cabernet Franc: Tips from the Pros

Derek Wilber, Anthony Road Wine Co., Penn Yan, NY on cabernet franc and quality juice. Cabernet Franc “Adapting your techniques to the climate of a region is the essence of creative winemaking,”

Making Flavorful Vinegar

 How can you improve the best wine you can make? Make vinegar! Now this might seem like an absurd thing to say. It might appear to be some kind of joke. But

Mastering Merlot

Merlot has become an important red grape throughout world. Merlot grapes, also known as Merlot Noir in Bordeaux, have been used to soften wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon for many years. Merlot

Adding Oak: Tips from the Pros

Winemaker John Fletcher of Hillside Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada offers his thoughts on adding oak to your wine: Oaking Hillside Wines Many of the Hillside Estate

Build Your Own Garage Wine Cellar

I have been making wine for about 27 years starting with a small winemaking kit I received as a Christmas gift. I had an interest long before that time as I had

Create Your Own Great Labels

Labels are an extension of your personality; they mirror the winemaker’s soul. The wine in the bottle is the culmination of months, sometimes years of effort. Labeling your wine can further express

Flavors That Make Cabernet Great

Judging is highly subjective, and there are as many methods of evaluating wines as there are tasters. That’s a good thing. If wines could be rated objectively, we’d all be buying Microsoft

Mead: Nectar of the Gods

Is there a beverage that conjures up more images than mead? Whether you associate it with Druids, pre-Roman civilizations of central Europe, Vikings and Teutonic raiders, Celts ancient or modern, it is

Sparkling Wine, Step-by-Step

Ah, another summer season come and gone. The family thought your two-year old Chardonnay was great at cousin Bob’s wedding dinner, and the after-dinner crowd at the late summer supper on the

The Sweet Rewards of Dessert Wines

Classic dessert wines are wonderful, complex, and delicious beverages. The range of dessert wines is considerable and growing. With today’s high-quality kits, you can make terrific dessert wine at home and, with

Troubleshoot a Stuck Fermentation

It’s hard to dispute that winemaking is an art. And it’s no surprise that winemakers sometimes act like artists. Now imagine, if you will, a room full of artists who meet to

Build Your Own Crusher

Plans to build your own grape crusher.

Growing Grapes in Cold Climates

The availability of grape and fruit concentrates makes the home production of fine wines possible no matter where you live. But for some of us, the hours spent in the vineyard, orchard,

Hot Rhônes: Syrah & Carignan

No group of grape varieties has generated as much enthusiasm among winemakers recently as Rhône varieties. So great is the demand for them that interested wineries scramble to find the best vineyard

Juicy Secrets

Commercial wineries spend tens of thousands of dollars on all kinds of fancy equipment. Can a home winemaker really expect to create the same type of high-quality wines the pros can without

Making Seyval Blanc: Tips from the Pros

Bill Hopkins followed a path taken by many American winemakers. A dairy farmer who saw his business fading in the 1970s — at the same time the wine industry was taking off

More Practical Wine Terms

Hydrometer: An inexpensive and widely available analytical device that measures the specific gravity (relative density) of a solution. Very useful to measure the amount of sugar (in Balling or degrees Brix) in

Take Control of Must Temperature–And Reap the Benefits

Yeast, like most living things, have a climate that they prefer. Just as people like warm, sunny weather, yeast, too, like their atmosphere temperate. When things get cold, around 40 °F (4

Bottling, Start to Finish

The sages of winemaking uniformly counsel patience. Yet what could be more frustrating than, after patiently stomping, crushing, adjusting, fermenting, and racking, to be told to wait? But many of wine’s great

Making Riesling: Tips from the Pros

Winemaker Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, California goes back to his early roots by offering his thoughts on making Riesling. Back in 1973, he and his wife made their very