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I am new to homemade winemaking and I want to begin making Port-style wines.

Welcome to the wonderful world of fortified winemaking! Making Port-style dessert wines is really fun. One of the side benefits of making these types of wines is that fortified wines are typically

I recently bottled a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon, which tastes fine but has an off odor.

I wish I could help you out with your off-odor issue a little bit more than I think I’ll be able to. Because you didn’t include many details about what your off

Tannin Myths and Methods

From modern wine chemistry labs to your home winery — what is known about tannins and how can winemakers control their impact on their wine? Research is debunking many widely-held beliefs about

Seyval Blanc

Seyval blanc (say-VAHL blahnk) is a hybrid, the product of intentional breeding to blend and express desirable traits from the parent vines. And unfortunately, hybrids often get no respect in the world

Sensory Perspective

Not long after I got started making wine I realized I was relying more than I had expected on core sensory concepts like sight, smell and taste to guide my winemaking activities.

Are there any fruits that are taboo in country winemaking? What tests should I do to ensure nobody becomes ill from my country wines?

I wouldn’t worry too much about anyone getting sick from your wines as long as the water you use is clean and the alcohol is above 10%. As a professor of enology

How do you know if it’s too late to add MLF?

Before you set about making any major changes to this wine, make sure that when you taste you are not tasting a sample that has a lot of dissolved carbon dioxide gas

Buying Fresh Grapes

If you are lucky enough to live on the West Coast of the United States, near a winegrowing region, getting grapes is relatively easy. However, living on the East Coast — or anywhere that is not near an established viticultural area — does not mean you cannot get quality wine grapes. Here are some keys to success when buying grapes shipped from a distant location.

Understanding Yeasts

Without yeast, there can be no wine. But the role of wine yeast goes well beyond alcoholic fermentation — the biochemical process of converting sugar into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast

Choosing A Wine Yeast Strain

Yeast selection is one of the most important winemaking decisions as the chosen yeast strain is, to a large extent, what shapes the wine, influences organoleptic (sensory) qualities, and reduces the risk

Urban Growth: Dry Finish

Chris Henry in his San Diego “Urban Microvineyard.” The yard looks great. What are those?” inquires a woman from the sidewalk, looking in the direction of my four vibrant green grapevines. “Those

What is the film forming inside my bottles?

I am making wine from my own grapes in Alpine, California and have noticed that occasionally a light film forms on the inside of some bottles. I am very meticulous about keeping

Can I recondition old corks?

I have a number of novelty corks I brought back from Europe in 1960. They haven’t been used since then, so they are quite dry. Can anyone tell me if there is

Non-Grape Blends

 Country (non-grape) wines can be combined to create a blend that is better than the sum of its parts. More and more savvy winemakers are discovering an unexpected similarity between grape and

Urban and Suburban Vineyards

Growing grapes on a farm isn’t easy. Even with tractors, spray rigs and workers to help, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the issues that arise during the growing season. Just when

Being a Wine Judge

When I was first asked to interview a certified wine judge at the 2011 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition, the largest competition of its kind, I will admit that I felt a

Can I Reduce Tannins in a Wine Kit Without Aging?

It seems to me like your Carmenère is a candidate for one of the “Wine Wizard’s” cheapest, easiest and most favorite ways to improve a tannic wine; egg white fining! What could

Can I Salvage an Oak Barrel if I Burned a Sulfur Stick While the Barrel Was Wet?

I think your barrels should be salvageable. Since you fished out the sulfur stick and are aware that you might have some residual sulfurous acid hanging about, you’ve already won half the

Making Ice Cider

A good ice cider balances the line between tart and sweet and there is more than one way to produce them. Get the cold facts to making ice cider at home.

Tannin Chemistry

Soft, silky, velvety, youthful, puckery, aggressive, harsh, bitter, astringent: These are all adjectives used in winespeak to describe the many taste sensations from tannins in red wines. Learn about the science behind them

WineMaker to Winemaker: Dry Finish

My winemaking career all started with an issue of Wine-Maker. Seven years ago, I was working in high-tech marketing and business development in the Silicon Valley. One day I stumbled into a

The MLF manufacturer’s instructions say the wine should be less than 15 ppm. Isn’t that risking spoilage?

Since you don’t mention whether the 15 ppm is free or total SO2, it’s tough for me to refer specifically to either the instructions or your protocol. However, I routinely add up

Is the salmonella (commonly associated with eggs) a problem to consider when fining with egg whites?

Egg whites are an ancient, traditional and natural additive and are sometimes used to pull excessive tannins out of wine in a gentle treatment process known as “fining.” Practiced for centuries all

Oak Barrel Chemistry

The benefits of fermenting or aging wine in toasted oak barrels are indisputable and unmatched by any other type of wood. Not only do oak compounds impart aromas and flavors as well

A Vineyard Education

Back in 1995 I took my first viticulture course. I had returned from a short stint as a college instructor in Northern Minnesota, which proved a bit too cold for a third

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