The summer and fall are when most of the action happens in the vineyard as leaves are thinned and grapes ripen on their journey to be turned into wine. But none of that matters if the vines aren’t healthy going into the summer. As “Backyard Vines” columnist Wes Hagen puts it, “Spring is where the
When your home vineyard grows to a certain size a hand-held or backpack sprayer just won’t cut it. Use these plans to build a tow-behind sprayer to save time and effort while executing your spray program.
So you have decided to elevate your hobby to the point of growing your own fruit for winemaking? This is a huge step that should not be taken lightly. Once you plant that first vine you have entered the world of farming. Farming is by no means something for the faint of heart. There are
Many wine writers draw a distinction between “aroma” and “bouquet.” Typical is the discussion by Yair Margalit in his excellent book Concepts in Wine Chemistry. He says aroma “is the term for smell derived from the grape . . . Some varietal aromas are very powerful and recognized easily, and others are very weak and
An understanding of what is happening in wine on a chemical basis can be very useful in influencing choices regarding processing options and timing of activities for different wine styles. Unfortunately winemaking chemical nomenclature, chemical analyses, and interpretation of results can be daunting for those without a background in chemistry. Perhaps one of the most
Many of us in the Western Hemisphere can take wine and winemaking for granted. But for those folks living under extreme Islamic law, the consequences of being caught with it can be dire. But one Iranian man isn’t going to be deterred.
While racking may seem like a tedious task at times, its impact on a wine can be profound. Learn some of the techniques that you can use and the decision-making process winemakers should consider before each racking cycle.
Not all wines should go through a secondary malolactic fermentation (MLF), but for all wines that do undergo this fermentation, testing should be performed since these secondary fermentations can get stuck. Learn some of the basics of performing your own MLF test with paper chromatography.
Anyone well versed in wine grape nomenclature knows that Primitivo and Zinfandel are genetically identical. Yet test trials have shown there are some differences with grape types. Learn some of the history and best practices when handling Primitivo.
What an intriguing question. I’m having some pioneer-prairie-blacksmith-shop fantasy thoughts on how you might be able to toast the inside of your barrel on your own. Depends on how crazy you want to get. Before I go there — with all the non-OSHA approved tactics — let me address your other mini-questions. “Untoasted barrel —
For harvest purposes, when adding SO2 to grapes in order to knock down feral yeast and bacteria (with the goal of reducing VA and letting your yeast of choice get a foothold), I tend to add 35 ppm total SO2 (calculate based on 1 ton of grapes = 170 gallons wine/1 metric ton = 710
Wine kits are so wonderful because they tend to be easier and more predictable than just starting from a fresh batch of grapes. Kits have instructions to follow and you’re right, most
I applaud you for trying fresh winegrapes in your home winemaking, you’re lucky that you are (relatively) close to a fine winegrape growing area like the Santa Ynez Valley. I grew up just down the California coast from there and one of my first harvests was at Curtis Winery in the area that at the
A winemaker experiences a large and unexpected pH shift from a feral fermentation. Learn about the potential reasons as well as what to do with an untoasted oak barrel, pre-fermentation sulfite levels, and acid adjustments in wine kits.