Articles

Best Practices: Mythic vines make for mythic wines

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Have you ever visited a vineyard and wondered, “How did they do that?!” You know the place, where all the vines seem to be in sync and healthy. Wes found such a hobby vineyard and decided to interview the green thumb.

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One-Stall Winery

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After years of making wine in various locations throughout my house out of necessity and lack of a dedicated space, I recently had to evaluate my process. For years I fermented grapes in my garage, stored my bulk wine in a crawl space underneath my house (pumped in and out), and bottled it in the

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2021 Label Contest Winners

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It’s been said for ages — making wine is a balance of science and art. Today, however, we’re going to focus on art. That is, the art that wraps our precious bottles


Go Big at Home

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Firstly let me define what I mean by “big batch” for this discussion. Let’s say a big batch is anything larger than a 6-gallon (23-L) carboy of wine. Many home winemakers begin their journey in the winemaking hobby by trying their hand at 6-gallon (23-L) and sometimes even 1-gallon (4-L) batches. Some winemakers find these

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A Harmony of Fruit and Honey

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Meads containing fruit are a perpetually hot topic amongst home meadmakers as well as being a huge part of the commercial mead conversation. Taking what we know about making mead from just honey and then adding fruit doesn’t seem to be all that complex of a leap, but I assure you that the adventure of

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Colorful Carménère

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Similar to a varietal like Malbec, Carménère has come to be identified with the wine growing regions of South America, but this grape actually was one of the classics of Bordeaux. Chik Brenneman explains the history of this varietal and how to tame this grape when it gets temperamental.

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Oxygen Ingression, Volatile Acidity Interventions, Sorbate Question, and Malolactic Timing

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Sometimes we get several questions that revolve around a similar theme. The Wine Wizard had several questions this go-round on volatile acidity and malolactic fermentation. She provides some specifics for winemakers who have bigger picture problems on their hands.

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Egg White Fining and Overoaking

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Using egg whites Q I’m making a white wine and want to add egg white to help with the fining before my last racking. Is there any information on how to do the egg white thing? Ben GarciaColorado Springs, Colorado A For readers who don’t know, adding a solution of egg whites to wine does

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Live Chat with Alex Russan

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Live Chat with Alex Russan, which took place on December 18, 2020.

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 19, 2020.

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2020 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition Results

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From August 21 to 23, 2020, a total of 2,519 different wines were judged at the Lincoln Family Summer Estate at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. This year’s judging was postponed three earlier


Additives to Impact Phenolics and Tannins

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In previous articles on phenolics I have reviewed the basic structure of the most important phenolic compounds in wine production and discussed how different processing and equipment options can impact the type


Top 100 Wine Kits of 2020

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This past August, experienced judges evaluated a total of 767 wine kit entries as part of the overall 2020 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition that had a grand total of 2,519 entries. This large collection of kit entries was sent into the competition from across North America. The 767 wine kit entries were entered into

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15 Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting Techniques for Kits

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Making wine from a kit is the perfect way for a craft winemaker to explore unique varietals from regions around the world that are not typically accessible. With kits, the science behind producing a great wine has been taken care of, while the art of making a great wine is in your hands.  Although wine

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The Leaker: An old friend comes back

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Port wines are famous for being able to last for decades, even centuries. But what about a failing country fruit wine that a winemaker tries to save by fortifying it? Here is a story of being reunited with such a wine 36 years later.

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Grenache Blanc: Some lessons from the Old World

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Grenache Blanc is a grape from the northwestern region of Spain and, as the name implies, has evolved from Grenache Noir. Chik Brenneman provides instructions on making this grape shine, starting in the vineyard and taking it through to bottle.

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Free SO2, Bottle Drop, First SO2 Addition, and Oak Sanitation

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A winemaker asks for some pointers on when to test for sulfite on their wines using their new sulfite testing kit. Also, learn about curing wine plating, basic equipment required for a winemaker making the jump from kits to fresh grapes, and preparing oak for wine.

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Grape Skins: Start to finish

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Grape skins can be one of the most important components when creating some wines, while being detrimental to others. Scratch the surface of grape skins in this piece.


Fermenting Anything & Pectic Enzymes: Wine Wizard

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Q Though most of us think “grapes” when we think wine, I live in Michigan and can’t help but notice that wineries out here make wine out of a lot of other fruits, like cherries and peaches. I’ve even heard of dandelion wine and wine made from grass clippings — can you make wine out

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Live Chat with José Pizarro

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Live Chat with José Pizarro, which took place on October 22, 2020.

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Recording Notes Like a Pro

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For winemakers, harvest time is a period of intense activity, and essential decisions and preparations need to happen well in advance of crushing day for things to go smoothly. These decisions include


Phenolics in Red Wines

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It is in red wine production that the impact of phenolics is most influential in determining wine style and quality. We know that what is happening in wine on a chemical basis will influence choices regarding processing options and timing of activities for different wine styles. In this article, we’ll explore how polyphenolics are extracted

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Red Wine Fermentation Considerations

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When I was assigned the story detailing the decisions that come up during red wine fermentations, I began to block out the options and decision trees that occur before, during, and after fermentation.  As I finished the decisions that I considered important, I realized that suggesting best practices was very difficult from a single voice

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White Wine Fermentation Decisions

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Whether it is choosing a yeast strain, halting fermentation with a little residual sugar, putting a wine through malolactic fermentation, or a myriad of other options, there is a lot to consider when fermenting white wines.

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Fact Check: Winemaking Edition

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There are so many opinions out there that we can sometimes get bogged down and mistake an opinion for fact. This is true in all aspects of life but especially in home