WineMaker News Page

Updated June 23, 2022

Hope For California Grape Growers

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For over two decades the glassy winged sharpshooter (GWSS) has been near the top of the list of pests that California grape growers fear most. A native to the southeastern part of the United States, it was brought to California in the 1990s and with it the ability to infect grape vines with Pierce’s Disease. While various species of sharpshooters existed in California prior to the arrival of the GWSS, none had the capacity to infect grape vines with Pierce’s Disease at even moderate levels.

Now, thanks to CRISPR technology, scientists at UC-Riverside are looking at ways to control this agricultural pest from California through genetic manipulation. In their initial research they looked at altering the eye color of the GWSS to see what effect it would have. They found it was passed down to three or more generations. The team was very excited by these results as it means changes could stick around for a while. The next step would be to look at altering the mouth of the GWSS so that it is more like the native sharpshooters, incapable of spreading Pierce’s Disease. As a bonus, this would mean that the use of chemical sprays for these insects can be shelved.

Chemical Analysis of Smoke Taint

Phil Crews, a research professor of chemistry at UC-Santa Cruz and winery owner (Pelican Ranch Winery) teamed up with fellow researchers and chemists to form a nascent qualitative and quantitative way to measure smoke taint in potentially affected grapes. Using ultra high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and quantitative mass spectrometry and focusing on phenolic diglycosides that are undetectable by smell or taste until post-fermentation tastings, the group, led by Crews, has started to form a big picture of all the complex interactions that occur when wildfire smoke impacts post-veraison grapes. Their analysis focused on six biomarkers that the Australian Wine Research Institute had honed in on in their research into the same issue. Crews’ team found that two of the biomarkers were not indicative of potential smoke . . . hence the fact this analytical research is still a work in progress.

Microbiota’s Impact on Terroir

In the April-May 2021 issue we reported on how the concept of terroir was proven by a group of scientists studying several vineyards in the Mendoza region of Argentina. But the root cause of terroir is still yet to be determined. One camp argues that the microbiota found growing wild on the grapes plays a major role in determining a vineyard’s terroir. The other camp says the wild microbes have little to no impact and its expression has more to do with what happens underground with the interaction of the roots, soil, and the microbiota as well as the microclimate of the vineyard. Where do you stand on the issue?

New Products

Mosti Mondiale Vinifera AllGrape Edition

A new line of juice kits from Mosti Mondiale brings two elements of their current lineup into one package. Starting with a 10-L (2.6-gallon) concentrate, a 4-kg (8.8-lb.) AllGrape pack is included to provide the depth that comes with the grape pulp and skins. The grape packs are crushed, destemmed, and pasteurized. The Vinifera AllGrape Edition is made to produce 23 L (6 gal.) of finished wine in as little as six weeks. This aging time can be extended to achieve a more balanced wine. They will be starting with six different varietals, including Chilean Carmenere, South African Pinotage, and Australian Merlot to name a few.

Winexpert Limited Release Kits

A pair of limited release kits from Winexpert are being offered through their vendors; a Spanish Albariño and an Australian Mataro Shiraz blend. Both of these are part of their Reserve line of kits that inlcude 10 L (2.6 gal.) of concentrate to produce 23 L (6 gal.) of finished wine. The wines will be ready to drink in as little as 6 weeks, but the Australian blend will benefit from a more extended aging. Each kit comes with all the necessary ingredients and a set of instructions.

Twisted Mist™

A new line of summer wine kits is being offered by Winexpert with a modern twist on wine. These fruit-forward, cocktail-inspired kits will offer six different limited release flavors, with two flavors being released each month through March, April, and May. Flavors include: Piña Colada with pineapple and coconut character; Sex on the Beach with flavors of orange juice, peach, vodka, and cranberry; Pink Lemonade features lemons for a taste of pink lemonade; Strawberry Lemonade mixes strawberry with tart lemonade; Hurricane features flavors of dark rum, orange, lime, and passion fruit; Miami Vice is a blend of strawberry, pineapple, lime, and coconut. All Twisted Mist™ flavors are limited release and available only while supplies last.

The World’s Largest Collection of Country Wine Recipes

A new book by winemaker and biodynamic wine advocate Chuck Blethen is a comprehensive recipe book for all those winemakers with interest in country wines. Through his decades of business travels, Chuck started work on this book long before he knew it would ever come to fruition, bringing home recipes from far and wide, utilizing all sorts of garden, orchard, or foraged ingredients. Featuring 195 recipes, it also contains useful conversion charts and know-how from his 40 years making wine. You can find out more information about the book or order a copy at

Upcoming Events

July 15, 2022

Home Wine Lab Skills Online Boot Camp with Bob Peak. It’s very difficult to make great wine if you don’t know how to properly and accurately test your wine. WineMaker’s “Techniques” columnist and Technical Editor Bob Peak will take you step-by-step online over four hours teaching you live how to properly test your wine for sulfites, malolactic, acidity, sugar, and pH. You’ll have the chance to learn visually how to run these tests on your own wines at home. You’ll also have access to the recorded sessions after the live event.

August 19, 2022

Sonoma County Harvest Fair Amateur Wine Competition deadline for entries is 5 p.m. on Friday,
August 19. Wines can be received, either via mail or dropped off in-person, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Entries are accepted starting August 1 and delivered wines are accepted the week of August 15–19. Judging takes place on September 10. For more visit

June 1–4, 2023

Save The Date for our 14th annual WineMaker Conference, which will be located in beautiful Eugene, Oregon. Join us in Oregon’s world-famous Willamette Valley wine region for four days of winemaking learning and fun. Don’t miss dozens of winemaking and grape growing workshops, seminars, and special events all geared for home winemakers.