WineMaker News Page

Updated September 1, 2021

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:

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:

New Products

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

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

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.

Upcoming Events

October 8, 2021

Registration deadline for the American Wine Society (AWS) 2021 Amateur Wine Competition. Open to all amateur winemakers and includes still, fortified, and sparkling wines made from vinifera, native, and hybrid grapes. Also judged by certified judges will be wines and ciders made from fruit, vegetable, flower, honey, and grasses. The cost is $25 (AWS member) / $35 (non-member) per entry. For more information visit:

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

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.