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Vineyard Consultants: Backyard Vines

  We winemakers are self-reliant. We like to be in charge of our own affairs and it can seem like a defeat to be forced to ask for help — whether it

Watertown Winemaking: Dry Finish

Here in northern New York State there is a special place like no other. To the west of this place there is Lake Ontario with breathtaking sunsets and the newly formed Seaway

Is it ok to use ammonia in the winery?

Regarding ammonia (chemical formula NH3), I’m glad you brought the subject up. There’s a reason why we don’t use ammonia for sanitation in the winery and one acronym says it all: DAP.

Perry Questions

You are making me thirsty! I am a huge fan of cider and perry (pear cider), especially when it’s tart, dry-ish and has a sparkling finish. Yummy yum yum! I applaud you

To Malo Or Not To Malo?

Many home winemakers are uncertain on whether or not to have their wines go through malolactic fermentation. This is not surprising since there is no “one size fits all” approach to the

pH Adjustments Post-MLF

Absolutely, I would lower your pH prior to aging. No matter how high the TA is, if you’ve got a high pH as well, you are putting your wines at risk for

Malbec: Beyond Bordeaux

When we think of the great wines of the Bordeaux region of France the names of the Grand Cru châteaus of Lafite, Latour, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion or Cheval Blanc come up. Today, the

A Ranch In Wine Country: Dry Finish

When Teri Kerns and Micole Moore moved to Ramona, California in 2004, just north of San Diego, they knew they wanted to live an agricultural lifestyle, but were not sure what exactly

Moldy Grape Press

I certainly wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater or the crush equipment out with the sanitizing solution in this case. A little accumulated mold on a wooden basket press or

Big Reds Aging Time

So sorry to hear you had a bad year with the powdery mildew. Many growers in California were challenged by 2011, as the cooler weather left lots of us battling botrytis, rot

South American Grapes

Make wine from fresh grapes in April — with grapes harvested in the Southern Hemisphere.

Cool Fermentations

Want to preserve the delicate aromas in your white wines? Learn these hot tips for running a cool fermentation.

I accidentally made my sulfite solution at 20%. Is the wine still drinkable?

Since I don’t know what your “recommended” number was it’s impossible for me to know what a double addition is in this case. Therefore, you should definitely exercise caution before drinking and

Should I try using carbon dioxide whenever I rack to expel oxygen. Or should I bottle sooner?

I have to commiserate with you on the Sangiovese and oxidation dance. For some reason, this grape varietal seems to be especially prone to color (and related oxidation) issues. Much like Pinot

Wine Education

Maybe you made a truly spectacular batch of Cabernet Sauvignon two years ago and haven’t been able to make another like it since and can’t figure out why. Maybe you’ve been making

Rhône Wines

Running up a 12-inch (30-cm) wide, rock, one-sided staircase with no handrails from one terrace to another, all more than 30% sloped, I pause to capture my balance, which has now shifted behind

An Enology Education: Tips from the Pros

If you are thinking about taking your amateur winemaking to a more professional level, it might be time to consider taking some winemaking classes. In this issue, two wine school instructors discuss some tips for finding your way in winemaking school.

Potassium Sorbate Post-MLF

If your primary fermentation (sugar to alcohol) is complete you shouldn’t have to add any potassium sorbate to your wine. In fact, adding sorbate to wine after performing malolactic fermentation (ML) can

Rhône in a Box: Wine Kits

A good winemaker understands not only his or her grapes and where and how they are grown, but also his or her techniques of elaboration and the greater context of the wine

I have about 30 gallons (114 L) of Cabernet Franc in 5-gallon (19-L) carboys that have a small yellow ring in the neck. Do you have any suggestions?

The dreaded “ring around the carboy” strikes again! Quickie answer – your instincts are correct. I would rack to clean containers and, since you’ve already added SO2, and since I doubt your

How do I really know that my juice is Syrah, and are there Syrahs that don’t have that deep purple color?

You say you have a Syrah that is not purple, and how do you know it’s Syrah? To address your second question first, I would say you really have to trust your

Award-Winning Red Winemakers Roundtable

Three amateur winemakers with shelves full of medals to their names for their homemade wines share advice for making great reds.

Sweet Wines: Tips from the Pros

Two pro winemakers share advice for home winemakers to make sweet wine at home

The Devil is in the Details: Dry Finish

  There are five items that are considered essential by geologists for true happiness. To wit: a loaf of crusty bread, a block of cheese, a skin of wine (preferably red), a

Enjoying Dessert Wine Kits

Drinking Port To my palate, Port is toothsome — it somehow seems to satisfy and delight all on its own. Back when I smoked a pipe (and nothing looks dopier than someone

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