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WineMaker News Page

Updated October 28, 2021

The Warming Climate Has Improved Wine Quality

A new collaborative study between UC-Davis and the University of Bordeaux has concluded that rising temperatures seen over the past six decades have actually helped improve wine quality in that time span. But the study does come with a caveat: That continued warming could boomerang and begin to be detrimental to a red wine’s color and other polyphenolic character in some locales. Where that tipping point is has yet to be determined. The study looked at Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in both Napa Valley, California and Bordeaux, France, determining that as heat rose past our current norm, sugar content increased while color compounds decreased. While this may not be good news for some wine-growing regions that are already in peripherally hot zones, it may be a boon to cooler zones that have trouble ripening their wine grapes. One researcher noted that adaptation to our shifting climate is underway: https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/news/increasing-temperatures-led-better-tasting-grapes-how-long

Slowing Grape Ripening Can Help Improve Wine Quality

Photo by Wes Hagen

Work by a collaborative team from both Australia and the U.S. tweaked with crop load and irrigation levels on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in order to adjust the harvest dates. What they found was that by delaying the harvest by three weeks, there was a sizable change in the grape character. Later ripening meant increased levels of monoterpenes and norisoprenoids; both of which are considered aroma enhancers in wine. They also found decreases in green-aroma compounds like pyrazines. Besides the aroma, they also found the phenolic character of the grapes to be greatly enhanced with greater anthocyanin content, total phenolic content, glycosides, and other pigments. If you find that you’re harvesting your grapes earlier and earlier, you may want do some more digging into this study: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.1c01229

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. https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/03/study-examines-molecular-basis-for-why-wine-goes-so-well-with-fatty-foods/


New Products

2022 RJS Craft Winemaking RQ Series

The folks at RJS Craft Winemaking have announced their 2022 lineup of Restricted Quantity (RQ) releases. This year’s Hispanic theme covers two regions: Spain and the South American wine countries of Argentina and Chile. There are a total of five kits to choose from with the options of three reds, a white, and a rosé. Three kits come from Spanish grapes: A red Monastrell (also known as Mourvédre), a Petit Verdot, and a Grenache rosé. The Argentinian kit is a blend of Malbec, Bonarda, and Syrah while the Chilean kit features Sauvignon Blanc. Each kit is named for a famed dance from the region. For more information about individual kits visit: https://www.rjscraftwinemaking.com

Vivant Wine Chilling System

While not specific to winemakers or the winemaking process, this one raised our eyebrows as a handy tool to have around. For those wine aficionados who prefer to be able to keep a careful eye on their wine’s temperature while serving, the Vivant Wine Chiller offers a temperature-controlled “bucket” to maintain a set level. The system is battery operated and its charge can last up to 2.5 hours or more depending on chilling demands. Set the temperature on the digital controller and bring it with you wherever you would like to go. Learn more about this system at: https://www.vivantwine.com/products/new-tech-wine-chilling-system

Winexpert Reserve Montepulciano

A new kit from Winexpert’s premium Reserve series showcases Italy’s second most-planted wine grape: Montepulciano. The wines produced are dry with solid structure and body and a moderate oak level. Aromas are noted to have cherry, boysenberry, dark plum, spice, and fresh acidity. These kits are made to produce 6 gallons (23 L) of finished wine ready to drink in as little as six weeks . . . but more aging would definitely not hurt. Each kit comes with all the necessary ingredients and a set of instructions. To learn more about the new kit, visit: https://winexpert.com/product/montepulciano-italy/

Finer Wine Kits

A new line of wine kits has been introduced for the production of standard 6-gallon (23-L) wines. Finer Wine Kits’ juices and skins are stored cold and shipped in insulated packaging to maintain the grapes’ integrity and flavor. These kits are not ultra-pasteurized so extra care is needed for handling prior to fermentation, but this also means they do not receive the harsh treatment required for ultra-pasteurization. Finer Wine Kits are available in both whites and reds. Red wine kits come with the option of single or double packs of grape skins. Each kit comes with an 11-page illustrated manual with instructions. Weighing under 20 lbs. (9 kg) means they’re easy to handle and ship. Also, keep your eyes out for the new fruit wine line coming this autumn. Finer Wine Kits are currently exclusively available through LabelPeelers.com

SafCider Yeast

Fermentis has announced a new line of yeast strains geared specifically for cidermakers. There are many different ways to produce a cider across the globe and there are many cidermakers who want to innovate and create a new style of cider to feed diversity in this cider world. When picking a yeast strain for your cider you must consider that different cider styles require different technical demands from the yeast. To make this selection process easier for the cidermaker, Fermentis has created four new cider strains to obtain the cider profile they desire. SafCider AB-1 for balanced ciders, SafCider AC-4 for fresh and crisp cider, SafCider AS-2 to bring sweetness to your cider, and SafCider TF-6 to maximize the fruitiness of your ciders. These strains are available in 5-g sachets for cider production at home. To discover more visit www.fermentis.com

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: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520379503/the-science-of-wine

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: https://morewinemaking.com/category/vineco-wine-kits.html

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: https://purewines.org/


Upcoming Events

November 5, 2021

The 48th Annual U.S. Amateur Winemaking Competition will take place on November 20, 2021. Entries will be accepted from October 1st through November 5th. Entries should be shipped to or dropped off at The Home Wine, Beer, and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills, California. Fees are $20 per entry. The US Amateur is sponsored by the Cellarmasters of Los Angeles Home Winemaking Club. More information and registration forms can be found at www.CellarmastersLA.org

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. https://winemakermag.com/conference