Top 100 Wine Kits of 2021

There were 499 kit wines judged in the 2021 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. Many of these kit wines received medals and top honors. Here are the 100 wine kits that performed best.

Turning Kits to Gold

Wine kits come with all of the necessary ingredients to make a great tasting batch of wine. So how come all of these wines don’t come out tasting the same? The short answer is that the creativity often associated with fresh grape winemakers must also be applied to kit winemaking, and then solid technique and practices are key. We asked four highly decorated kit winemakers to share their best advice in this kit winemaking roundtable.

Live Chat with Jef Stebben

Live Chat with Jef Stebben, which took place on October 29, 2021.

Spit Or Swallow? Health benefits from spitting wine

One reader who is also a medical doctor discusses the potential health benefits of wine tasters who swish and spit their wines. It may be one of the healthiest things you can do . . . but that doesn’t mean he abides by the spitting aspect.

Evaluating Wine: Being mindful of the sensory experience

Using all your senses when tasting wine is always encouraged by wine evaluation experts, but make sure that you are taking in the whole experience and not simply breaking it down and compartmentalizing the elements.

Blaufränkisch or Lemberger: International grape of mystery

As with many Old World grapes that are grown widely, Blaufränkisch goes by many names. And thanks to its versatility in the winery and cool-climate tolerance, its popularity is surging. Learn more about this mysterious grape.

Uneven Ripening, Sensing Ripeness, and Killer Yeast

It’s hard to get universal ripening of your grapes in a small vineyard with lots of variability. The Wizard provides some pointers as well as clues to determining grape ripeness when the refractometer is left home. Plus, the threat of contamination from “killer” yeast.

Live Chat with Hugo Picard and Anne Flesch

Live Chat with Hugo Picard and Anne Flesch, which took place on September 27, 2021.

2021 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition

An overview of this year’s wine competition, which received nearly 2,000 entries from across the U.S., Canada, and as far away as Australia.

So, You Want to Go Pro?

Many hobby winemakers spend evenings sipping their wine and wondering if their hobby could become a profession. If you are serious about it, here is what you need to consider to get that career jump started.

Distillation 101: When Wine Becomes Brandy

When your wine is done fermenting, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be aged or packaged. Where legal, the next step may be distilling it into brandy.

Winemaking from Down Under

Australia produces a lot more than Shiraz and budget wines with kangaroos on the label. Get an inside look at how Aussie winemakers are flipping the reputation of the wines from Down Under, with tips for creating their most touted styles in your home winery.

Making Mulled Wines

As autumn rolls into winter, it’s time to heat things up with mulled wine. A holiday tradition around the world, mulled wines usually include spices, citrus fruits, and wine served hot to take the chill away.

Distillation Guide

Check out the following programs and equipment to start your journey down the path to distilling.

Going Pro: Is the time and money worth It?

In our annual Reader Survey, hobby winemakers looking to go pro usually account for about 1 in 5 readers. Here is the story of one couple who made the leap and some of the details about how they’re making it work.

Flexible Frontenac: Making a case for this hybrid

Scattered throughout the Upper Midwest and Rockies, Frontenac wines are making waves as winemakers learn to coax a lot of flavor from this red grape. Chik Brenneman offers several tips and tricks to working with this hybrid varietal.

Preserving Oak Barrels, Oversulfited Wine, Film on a Carboy, and Beginner Tips

What is the best way to store oak barrels that don’t have wine in them? Get the answer from the Wine Wizard, as well as her advice for a case of oversulfited wine, removing white film from a glass carboy, and five tips for a rookie winemaker.

Honey-Based Wines

The earliest known alcoholic beverage uncovered on Earth was a mead from northern China. Get familiarized with the great and storied world of honey-based wines.

Live Chat Roundtable with Christina and Frank Musto and Frank Renaldi

Live Chat Roundtable with Christina and Frank Musto and Frank Renaldi, which took place on August 26, 2021.

Live Chat with Dwayne Bershaw

Live Chat with Dwayne Bershaw, which took place on August 3, 2021.

Save The Wine! An endurance challenge

Winemakers are known to sacrifice a lot in their pursuit to craft a quality wine. One winemaker found herself faced with an endurance challenge worthy of the show “Survivor” in order to save her babies (wines).

Maceration Considerations

As harvest nears it is time to make a plan of action for how you will proceed with each batch you plan to make this fall. With red wines there are many options. We take a closer look at cold soaking, extended macerations, and carbonic macerations.

Making Sausage at Home

Looking for another hobby that can enhance your passion for winemaking? Try making your own sausage! Not only does sausage pair well with your wines, but you can even use your wine in the recipes.

Live Chat with Maureen Macdonald

Live Chat with Maureen Macdonald, which took place on June 24, 2021.

The Alcohols

Ethanol may be the most prominent and well-known alcohol in wine, but it is not the only one to play a large role in a wine’s character. Learn about the various alcohols in wine.