WineMaker News Page

Updated June 21, 2021

Fat’s Effect On Your Red Wine

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We would assume that everyone that is reading this knows how your selection of wine can have an effect on your dining experience. Some wines may enhance the food while others may detract. But most of us also know that the inverse is true . . . food selection can have an effect on the wine. For example, eating something sugary may really bring out the acidity and bitterness of a wine. But a new study put out by the Université Bordeaux located in Pessac, France found that fats in food will interact with the tannins from red wines, changing the character.

This study basically reconfirms a key age-old belief when it comes to wine-food pairings a big tannic wine like a Bordeaux pairs nicely with fatty foods like a seared filet mignon. It turns out that the fat (lipids) in the steak will actually interact with the tannins of the red wine, rendering them almost imperceptible to our senses. The scientists used several oils, like olive and grapeseed, and had testers consume a spoonful prior to tasting one of the more well-known tannins, catechin, to see how their perceptions changed. What tasters found was that instead of getting astringency from the tannin, they now found a more fruity taste notably with olive oil. The tannins can no longer bind to our saliva glands, where the astringent sensation in our mouth is derived.

Terroir Finally Proven?

At last, scientists may have found chemical proof that the concept of a vineyard’s terroir does actually exist . . . well at least in the Mendoza region of Argentina. Terroir is a concept that says soil and climate will provide particular nuances to wines made from grapes from a specific vineyard year after year. But solid proof of the concept has long eluded researchers. A group from the Catena Institute of Wine, a collaboration between UC-Davis and the Argentinian Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, looked at 23 different vineyards in 12 different geographic indications in Mendoza to see if the chemical composition of the vintages changed year-over-year. By looking at vintages from 2016, 2017, and 2018, they were able to successfully identify a wine’s origins based on its phenolic composition for 11 of the vineyards 100% of the time. The other 12 vineyards, the scientists were able to identify the origins 83% of the time based on the phenolic indicators. Learn more about the study at:

Wine and Cheese Lovers Rejoice

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If you’re a fan of wine and cheese, today is your day to celebrate. A new study put out by a team of scientists out of Iowa State University noted that these two items can improve both cognitive function as well as combat against age-related cognitive degeneration such as Alzheimer’s disease. When the team evaluated a study of nearly 1,800 aging adults and their consumption of a broad range of food and drinks, what they uncovered was that cheese was hands down the best food to enjoy in order to protect against cognitive problems later in life. They also found that moderate daily consumption of alcohol (red wine in particular) improved cognitive function. If this topic peaks your interest, you can learn more at:

New Products

The Science of Wine

A revised and updated third edition of this book gives an overview of one of the most fascinating, important, and controversial trends in the world of wine: The scientific and technological innovations that are now influencing how grapes are grown and how wine is made. Jamie Goode details key scientific developments relating to viticulture and enology, explains practical application of science to techniques that are used around the world, and explores how these issues are affecting the quality, flavor, and perception of wine. The Science of Wine discusses a wide range of topics across the quickly evolving landscape surrounding wine. Learn more at:

VineCo Wine Kits

The VineCo line of wine kits have a new supplier in the United States. There are four lines of VineCo kits: Original, Estate, Signature, and Niagara Mist Series being sold through MoreWine! and wholesale through Brewmaster. The Original Series offers easy drinking and easy-to-make wine kits ready in four weeks. The Estate Series is their mid-level line featuring both popular and less well-known varietals from a wide range of origins. The Signature Series is their premium line with the highest juice-to-concentrate ratio and commonly includes a grape skin pack. The Niagara Mist Series is their country fruit line, featuring light and refreshing kits. There are currently 52 unique kits available. Learn more at:

Healthy Vines, Pure Wines

If you have an interest in creating a sustainable, biodynamic, and/or organic vineyard, this new reference comes with up-to-date case studies from vineyards and wineries implementing these practices. This includes vineyards of all sizes. Covering viticulture growing techniques, including biodynamic practices, drought-resistant farming, and current technology that offers alternatives to chemical-heavy methods. Healthy Vines, Pure Wines – Methods in Organic, Biodynamic, Natural and Sustainable Viticulture captures a record of Amigo Bob Cantisano’s contributions to the field, the tools and techniques he championed, and advice he gave to growers throughout the Sonoma and Napa region:

Boisé Staves And Inserts

Vivelys’ Boisé line of oak products has released five new products in their Inspiration lineup. Made from 100% French oak, winemakers can now choose from two new staves and three new inserts — all of which are toasted via solar power energy. These can be used to help extend the life of your barrels while fine-tuning the specific oak makeup you are after in the finished wine, whether you’re looking to boost vanilla, fresh fruit, spice, smoke, or ripe grape character. Learn more at:

AB Vickers YeastLife O™

A new 100% organic nitrogen source including biologically available vitamins and minerals, YeastLife O™ is suitable for use in organic alcoholic beverages. This new yeast nutrient is designed for the yeast nutritional aspect for any low-nitrogen (YAN), sugar-based fermented beverages such as hard seltzer, cider, mead, and high-gravity beer. In addition to providing the nutritional requirements, it has been formulated to avoid off-flavors and improve mouthfeel. YeastLife O™ is a pure blend of yeast autolysates (specific inactive Saccharomyces cerevisiae) with specific characteristics in amino acids composition, bio-available vitamins and minerals, and fractions rich in mannoproteins. It is available in 2-kg sachets with a recommended pitch rate of 40 g/hl to 250 g/hl, depending on application.

New Winexpert Island Mist Kits

Winexpert has announced the three kits being offered in their summer-focused Island Mist lineup. They have brought back the popular Bahama Mama and Iced Tea Lemonade kits for 2021 and are introducing a new flavor in the mix: Sex on the Beach. It is a take on the classic cocktail with orange and peach as its main fruit-forward flavors, rounded out with a hint of tart cranberry to give it more balance. Check with your local Winexpert supplier for availability or learn more at:

Home Winemaking: The Simple Way to Make Delicious Wine

In Home Winemaking: The Simple Way to Make Delicious Wine, well-known home winemaker Jack Keller takes a fun, practical, step-by-step approach to making your own wine. The book details the basic principles, equipment, and instructions to make wine, as well as 65 recipes for wines from grapes, fruits, roots, flowers, spices, and more. Perfect for winemakers of all skill levels. Available at better booksellers on April 6 for $24.95.

RJS Craft Winemaking Orchard Breezin’ Mango Dragon Fruit Lemonade

This new limited release white fruit wine from RJS Craft Winemaking’s Orchard Breezin’ series features the flavors of mango, dragon fruit, coconut, and lemonade. A true summertime porch sipper, bursting with tropical fruit flavors, you can enjoy on its own or to blend in a summer cocktail. The wine is ready in just 4 weeks. Check with your local RJS Craft Winemaking supplier for availability or learn more at:

Upcoming Events

WineMaker Harvest Online Boot Camp with WineMaker Columnists — August 13, 2021

Join WineMaker columnists live online on Friday, August 13 to cover strategies you can use to make your 2021 harvest a winemaking success! You’ll have the chance to learn and get your harvest winemaking questions answered by WineMaker’s expert columnists during this five-hour live online experience. Learn more at:

2021 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Amateur Wine Competition — August 20, 2021

Deadline for entries is at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 20. Wines can be received, either via mail or dropped at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Judging takes place on September 14 & 15 with the awards announced September 19. For more visit

June 2–5, 2022

COVID-19 Update for WineMaker Conference San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles: Our upcoming sold-out 2021 WineMaker Conference has been postponed to 2022. The event will still be in the same exact location in San Luis Obispo, California. Our 2022 program will feature the same great lineup of workshops and seminars planned for May 2021. We will be posting here the revised schedule of seminars, special events, workshops, and winery tours soon for 2022.