Video Live Chat roundtable with four award-winning amateur winemakers, which took place on March 24, 2021.
Twenty years ago his dad was featured here in the pages of WineMaker magazine. But now that he has joined the ranks of home winemakers it’s his turn to talk about his drive to make his own wine.
Have you ever visited a vineyard and wondered, “How did they do that?!” You know the place, where all the vines seem to be in sync and healthy. Wes found such a hobby vineyard and decided to interview the green thumb.
After years of making wine in various locations throughout my house out of necessity and lack of a dedicated space, I recently had to evaluate my process. For years I fermented grapes in my garage, stored my bulk wine in a crawl space underneath my house (pumped in and out), and bottled it in the
It’s been said for ages — making wine is a balance of science and art. Today, however, we’re going to focus on art. That is, the art that wraps our precious bottles
Firstly let me define what I mean by “big batch” for this discussion. Let’s say a big batch is anything larger than a 6-gallon (23-L) carboy of wine. Many home winemakers begin their journey in the winemaking hobby by trying their hand at 6-gallon (23-L) and sometimes even 1-gallon (4-L) batches. Some winemakers find these
Meads containing fruit are a perpetually hot topic amongst home meadmakers as well as being a huge part of the commercial mead conversation. Taking what we know about making mead from just honey and then adding fruit doesn’t seem to be all that complex of a leap, but I assure you that the adventure of
There is a certain set of hobby winemakers that are happy with their current winery set up and volume. But for those that are looking to grow their hobby, here are some finer points to expanding your volume with fresh grapes.
Similar to a varietal like Malbec, Carménère has come to be identified with the wine growing regions of South America, but this grape actually was one of the classics of Bordeaux. Chik Brenneman explains the history of this varietal and how to tame this grape when it gets temperamental.
I always think it’s wonderful when people can do a “natural” cold stabilization over the winter months. It’s an incredibly intuitive and very old-fashioned, non-interventionist way to accomplish a key winemaking task. It never gets cold enough here in Napa, California during the winter to really knock down any significant amount of our tartrate crystals
Winemakers typically add sorbate (aka sorbic acid, often purchased as potassium sorbate) when they want to bottle a wine with a little residual sugar. It is often added right before backsweetening and bottling. Sorbate will inhibit the reproduction of yeast cells but it will not “kill” yeast, nor will it inhibit or kill bacteria. It
A Sadly, blending VA levels downward remains the only option available for reducing VA content in small lots. Larger commercial wineries, with big lots and bigger pocketbooks, can afford the expense of reverse osmosis and distillation technology to remove it from their wines but there’s no affordable option for small producers. Simple filtration doesn’t work
Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us! If you can, check your pH and your VA (volatile acidity) to try to get a handle on whether or not this air intrusion caused any chemistry-altering damage to the wine. What I mean is, sometimes when we have an oxygen incursion it can mean an
Sometimes we get several questions that revolve around a similar theme. The Wine Wizard had several questions this go-round on volatile acidity and malolactic fermentation. She provides some specifics for winemakers who have bigger picture problems on their hands.
For anyone that has been in the hobby for a while, you’ve seen the instructions, “Siphon wine into a vessel for aging,” or some variation of that. But tips and tricks to