Did you ever create a wine that seemed more viscous than your typical wine, or which may have exhibited heavier fruity odors, or perhaps a solvent-like smell? The culprits may well be higher alcohols, also called fusel oils; all wines contain some at various concentrations. Higher alcohols in small concentrations can contribute positive aromatic characteristics
Fining of wine is the addition of one substance to remove another. It is a diverse subject with several classes of materials involved in its use and lots of different intended outcomes.
I learned quickly during my early days of cleaning up after myself in the winery that a carboy brush is designed to spackle the walls, surrounding cabinets and the user with undesirable crustiness from within the carboy interior. Sure, a brush does a good job of cleaning the major gunk out, and it’s cheap, but
We have had many customers at Blichmann Engineering ask about using our fermenters for winemaking, which is why I decided that I needed to learn more about making wine. My first batch of whole fruit red wine was a classic disaster resulting in a large stain on the carpet in my basement. I was woefully
Pruning is the removal of portions of the vine. Training is the arrangement of the vine parts both immediately after pruning and as the vine grows. The trellis is the physical structure upon which the vine grows. All three of the above elements are used to optimize the vine’s performance. The goal is to balance
Grapes in Tuscany are a way of life, and Sangiovese, the red workhorse of Tuscany through the millennia, is as noble as they get — well, depending who you talk to.
Just like I would not let a buddy of mine do any Brettanomyces beer-brewing experiments in my winery, so should you not do Kombucha and wine together in your kitchen (or garage) winery. Brettanomyces is a classic wine “spoilage” yeast responsible for a host of off aromas, often described as “barnyard” and “Band-Aid.” In addition,
Sangiovese is primarily associated with wines from Italy, especially from the Tuscany region. However, there are also a number of vineyards in the New World growing Sangiovese. The 2012 California Grape Crush Report shows winemakers in the state crushed 9,400 tons of Sangiovese. Here are two pros who contributed to that number. Steven Kirby is
William Ruting of North Carolina has two hobbies: winemaking and house cats . . . 25 house cats, that is.
Mineral deficiencies or excesses can become sources of frustration for amateur winemakers because minerals, metals, and other ionic substances cannot be easily measured and their role in biochemical and chemical reactions can be quite complex. So where do these substances come from and how can they be best managed in a home winery?
Start with the grapes. Whether you make wine at home from fresh grapes, juice, or frozen must, there are many influences over the quality and character of your wine. Grape variety itself is perhaps most significant for the wine style choices you make. Unless you grow your own grapes — and in some cases, even
In the life of the amateur winemaker, there may come a time when the idea of starting a commercial winery pops up. Making wine can be a gratifying and engaging career, so
If you are of the opinion that yeast selection does not matter and that the only role of yeast is to convert sugar into ethyl alcohol (ethanol), you may have been missing
Pinot Grigio is everywhere, flooding every supermarket wine aisle and all over the wine lists at restaurants that don’t give much thought to their wine lists. It’s the single biggest (by volume) import category into the US. The annual crop in California has increased by 1000 percent in the last decade, positioning it second only
There is no better way to get to know a wine region than paying a visit and chatting up the winery management and their staff. It is then that you can learn more about the hard work and dedication that goes into making great wine. I recently visited Prince Edward County (PEC) in Ontario, Canada
Pinot Blanc — one of the offspring of Pinot Noir — is waiting for its 15 minutes of fame to come around.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of possible causes of stuck and sluggish fermentations, and sometimes, even after careful investigation, we still can never understand what the cause may have been. With Mother Nature
To make good wine one must understand what good wine is and, alternatively, understand and be able to detect wine faults. Anyone can learn to evaluate wine, and as a winemaker it is critical to be able to identify wine faults. If you want to learn where to begin, taking tips from these pros is
Know what to look for to help identify problems in your home vineyard before they turn catastrophic.
“Blending is a natural procedure, honest, necessary, and in accordance with historical events.” With that quote, eminent wine authority Emile Peynaud gives us permission to play with our wines. While he was addressing grape wine in his classic Knowing and Making Wine, I think his sentiment applies even more to the wide, wonderful world of
Getting and keeping attractive aromatics is a major goal of winemaking, home or commercial, and it isn’t easy. It is a goal and a concern at every step along the way, from harvest to bottle aging; it’s not something you do all at once, like tannin extraction during fermentation. The aromatic calculus for whites differs