Articles

Rosy Roussanne: A grape that doesn’t mind a little heat

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In its homeland in the south of France, Roussanne grapes love some heat . . . probably one reason that it’s found a new home in the Texas Hill Country. Learn about this white grape that can stand up to being a varietal wine when conditions are right or blended with others.

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Getting Closure: Corkers and Cork Sizing

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Learn about the various factors that affect a home winemaker’s decision when choosing cork size and corkers.


Percent New Oak, Overcompensating, And The New Need For Sanitation

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While the concept that is listed on some wine bottles or talked about in literature — % new oak — seems simple, there is a lot of nuance to this term. Learn about the concept as well as problems caused from overcompensating to fix a hydrogen sulfide stink with copper. Plus, the Wizard talks about the new need for sanitation in our world.

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Winemaking Supply Shop Status During COVID-19

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Greetings from WineMaker,With the quickly evolving situation worldwide due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we thought a helpful way to serve both hobby winemakers and winemaking retail suppliers was to provide a list of current business status. We will continue to update the information on this page as the situation evolves. Please support your local winemaking

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Barrel Cleaning, Kit Wine Tannins and Proper Sulfite Levels

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It seems to me like your Carmenère is a candidate for one of the “Wine Wizard’s” cheapest, easiest and most favorite ways to improve a tannic wine; egg white fining!

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Reconditioning Corks & Bottle Film

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I’m glad you sent this question, though, because it brings up an important rule of the world of corks: corks must have a certain amount of moisture and “give” in order to work to keep the wine in and air (mostly) out.

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Suspicious Syrah & Fermentation Aids

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The first step I would take is to look at the package and/or the packing slip that came with the grapes . . . I hope they say Syrah. If you still doubt the paperwork, certainly get in touch with your juice supplier and ask to see the paper trail from the lot of juice you received.

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Dumb Merlot & Filmy Finishes

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QOne of my favorite batches is a 2002 Merlot, which was naturally fermented (no added sugars or yeast), aged in an oak barrel for 10 months or so, stored in stainless kegs for six months, then filtered, polished and bottled in early 2004. I would pass out bottles to everyone, boasting of my winemaking skills,

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Bracing Barrels & Coffee Wine

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The level of caffeine, of course, will depend on how much coffee you used in the recipe — just as your average cup of joe will be stronger with the more ground coffee, so will your wine.

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Fine Filtering Chardonnay and a Sour Mead

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Pad filters are stacks of cellulose sheets that get mounted in a stainless steel or metal frame. Wine or juice is forced by a pump or by air pressure through the cellulose pads and depending upon the “tightness” of the cellulose matrix and the back pressure on the system, a varying degree of particles will pass through.

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Live Chat with Wes Hagen

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Live Chat with Wes Hagen, which took place on April 15, 2020.

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Live Chat with Christina Musto

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Live Chat with Christina Musto, which took place on March 28, 2020.

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Off Odors, Port-Style Wines, and Brass Fittings

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QI recently bottled a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon, which tastes fine but has an off odor. I keep all my notes and regularly follow the same procedures. I buy my juice already pressed at a very reputable supplier and have never had a bad batch. When I started the wine it smelled fine and it

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Spring Vineyard Care: Tips from the Pros

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The summer and fall are when most of the action happens in the vineyard as leaves are thinned and grapes ripen on their journey to be turned into wine. But none of that matters if the vines aren’t healthy going into the summer. As “Backyard Vines” columnist Wes Hagen puts it, “Spring is where the

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Build a Better Sprayer

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When your home vineyard grows to a certain size a hand-held or backpack sprayer just won’t cut it. Use these plans to build a tow-behind sprayer to save time and effort while executing your spray program.


Devise a Home Vineyard Spray Program

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So you have decided to elevate your hobby to the point of growing your own fruit for winemaking? This is a huge step that should not be taken lightly. Once you plant that first vine you have entered the world of farming. Farming is by no means something for the faint of heart. There are

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Maximizing Wine Aroma

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Many wine writers draw a distinction between “aroma” and “bouquet.” Typical is the discussion by Yair Margalit in his excellent book Concepts in Wine Chemistry. He says aroma “is the term for smell derived from the grape . . . Some varietal aromas are very powerful and recognized easily, and others are very weak and

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Phenolics and Tannins

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An understanding of what is happening in wine on a chemical basis can be very useful in influencing choices regarding processing options and timing of activities for different wine styles. Unfortunately winemaking chemical nomenclature, chemical analyses, and interpretation of results can be daunting for those without a background in chemistry. Perhaps one of the most

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The Forbidden Fruit: Making wine in Iran

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Many of us in the Western Hemisphere can take wine and winemaking for granted. But for those folks living under extreme Islamic law, the consequences of being caught with it can be dire. But one Iranian man isn’t going to be deterred.


Primitivo: The early-ripening varietal

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Anyone well versed in wine grape nomenclature knows that Primitivo and Zinfandel are genetically identical. Yet test trials have shown there are some differences with grape types. Learn some of the history and best practices when handling Primitivo.

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Corks & Closures

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Learn about your cork and closure options when it comes to bottling


Crazy pH Shift, Acidity in Wine Kits, Adjusting SO2, and Untoasted Oak Barrels

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A winemaker experiences a large and unexpected pH shift from a feral fermentation. Learn about the potential reasons as well as what to do with an untoasted oak barrel, pre-fermentation sulfite levels, and acid adjustments in wine kits.

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Live Chat With Jason Phelps

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Live Chat with Jason Phelps, which took place on February 19, 2020.

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Story Behind The Label

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Featured in the February-March 2020 issue: Gene Carlson • Lafayette, Indiana I was a Weapons Mechanic with the 355th Munitions Maintenance Squadron of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. At that time the


2020 Backyard Vine Directory

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Grow your own grapes? Thinking of starting a backyard vineyard? Now is the time to plan your spring. Here is a list of suppliers where you can purchase grapevines and/or supplies for your home vineyard…