WineMaker News Page

Updated April 29, 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

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:

The Big Book Of Cidermaking

Christopher Shockey and Kirsten K. Shockey turn their expertise to the world of fermented beverages in a guide to home cidermaking. With expert advice and step-by-step instructions, The Big Book of Cidermaking equips readers with the skills they need to make the cider they want: Sweet, dry, fruity, farmhouse-style, hopped, barrel-aged, or fortified. Readers will benefit from the authors’ years of experience cultivating an orchard and their experiments in producing their own ciders. This book is for any cidermaker, whether starting with apples fresh from the tree or working with store-bought juice. Cider recipes range from cornelian cherry to ginger, and styles including New England, Spanish, and late-season ciders. You can purchase a copy at better bookstores or at:

Brewer’s Best® Kombucha Kits

A new series of kombucha recipe kits by Brewer’s Best® allows home winemakers to craft their own flavored kombucha at home. Each kit comes with the ingredients to craft one gallon (3.8 L) of fresh kombucha and is available in four flavors: Blackberry, hemp, passion fruit, and raspberry. Note that these kits do not include a SCOBY for fermentation, which needs to be purchased separately from a supplier. SCOBYs are not included since they can be reused time and again and don’t need to be started fresh each time. First time making kombucha? Each kit comes with its own detailed, step-by-step instructions for a successful batch the first time and every time.

Upcoming Events

May 11, 2021

Entry deadline for the 2021 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. Entries must be received by May 11. Join in the excitement as the awards dinner will be held July 17 at the WineMaker Magazine Conference in San Luis Obispo, California. For more information about entering your homemade wines, meads, or ciders in the world’s largest amateur competition, visit:

May 20, 2021

Entry Deadline for the 2021 Orange County Fair Home Wine Competition. This competition is only open to amateur winemakers who live in California. The cost is $15 per entry and entries must be received by May 20. For more information about entering your homemade wines, visit:

June 11, 2021

Ever think about taking your home winemaking hobby pro and opening your own small-scale winery? Join Genevieve Rodgers, a successful winery start-up consultant, for a live and interactive, four-hour workshop. Learn from her years of expertise and wide experience to help you better achieve your dream of running your own small winery. Learn more 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.