Techniques

Dealing With Haze

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While haze can sometimes just be aesthetically off-putting and not a true flaw, it’s something many winemakers like to avoid. Get the scoop on reducing haze and other benefits, as well as drawbacks, that come with the use of fining agents.

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Intoxicating Stuff: Crafting ice wine and ice cider

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Commercial producers of ice wines and ice ciders are highly regulated in their production, but hobby wine and cidermakers don’t need to abide by those rules. Learn some creative ways to produce these coveted, sweet sippers.

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Hard Cider Variations: Tips from the Pros

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Fall is here and there is an abundance of apples available and ready to be fermented. Three experts share advice for three different types of hard ciders (fruited, spiced, and hopped) so that you can try something different this year.

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Balancing Wine’s Structure: Techniques to add and remove tannins

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Tannins are a big piece of the large puzzle when balancing many styles of wine. It’s important to understand ways to increase or decrease their presence when that balance leans too heavily in one direction or the other.

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Lees, Sur Lie Aging, and Bâttonage

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Learn about the lees that we find in wine and how we can use them
to our advantage.


Pressing Like the Pros: Tips from the Pros

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Do you whole-cluster press? Separate free-run juice and press fractions? Maximize juice collection through high pressure? There are a lot of decisions to make while pressing that will have a big impact on the final outcome of your wine. We put the squeeze on three pro winemakers to share their pressing tips.

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A Nitro Boost: Nitrogen’s role in primary fermentation

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Wine was made for millennia with little intervention from humans. But let’s be honest, we have no idea how those wines tasted. Today we know that yeast create the wine and keeping them happy is crucial for producing good wine. Learn how nitrogen plays a pivotal role.

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Harvest Checklist: Pre-planning for success

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Why make harvest/crush day more stressful than it needs to be? With a solid game plan things should run smoothly. One of the best ways to get all your ducks in a row is to create a checklist so that no small details are overlooked.

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Hyperoxidation

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As a home winemaker, you’ve likely spent years taking every precaution at your disposal to assure that your juice does not oxidize prior to fermentation. However, there are a small-yet-growing number of winemakers out there who intentionally oxidize their juice with an aim to reduce phenol content. The technique is called hyperoxidation, and it is only for the brave.


Site Planning and Prep: Designing a modern backyard vineyard

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For anyone who plans on creating a small-to-moderate-sized backyard vineyard, this column should be mandatory reading. Because the best advice one can receive is to spend a lot of extra time in the planning stage, which will save an exponential amount of time later.

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Using Oak Alternatives: Cutting into the granular details

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There is no denying that oak alternatives are a lot gentler on the wallet and on the environment. Bob Peak takes a spin through oak chemistry, available options, and techniques to incorporate them to elevate your wines.

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Delicious Endeavors: The science of food-wine pairings

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Approaching food-wine pairings can be complex given the nearly endless options available . . . but there is a science to it. Learn the basics to matching a wine with a food course to impress even the sticklers in the group.

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Wine from Frozen Must: Tips from the Pros

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When you want to make wines from grapes but it isn’t harvest season, one option home winemakers have is purchasing buckets of frozen must or juice. Three industry experts share their coolest tips.

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Prepping Wine For Competition

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If you’ve got a wine aging in your cellar you would like unbiased, expert opinions on, then entering it in a competition for judging is one of the best options. Get some pointers for getting the best feedback.


Dear Wes: A new vintage of backyard Q&As

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The reader letters have been piling up, so Wes decides it’s come that time again to pick up the pen and share some of the most useful questions (and his answers) that readers have sent to him over the past year regarding backyard viticulture.

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Tune Up: Calibrating your wine equipment

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What good is having a thermometer or titration kit if the numbers you are getting from them are off? Make sure you are properly calibrating all your wine testing equipment.

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Finding Balance with Hybrids

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Hybrid grapes pose certain challenges to winemakers including higher acidity and lower tannins. Three cool-climate winemakers share their advice to create a balanced wine from these grapes.

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Versatile Vino: Using wine in other hobbies

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There is so much more you can do with wine than simply drinking it. Bob Peak walks readers through several side projects winemakers can perform starting with their homemade wines to create other items of interest.


Put Some Sparkle In Your Wines

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There are several techniques a home winemaker can create bubbles for their wine. Learn about the methods for crafting a sparkling wine of your own.


Making Lemonade: Vineyard fixes for underwhelming grapes

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Not every harvest is going to be perfect. When the grapes come in at less than ideal numbers or with other “flaws,” make sure you’re well positioned and able to make the best of an inferior harvest. Plus, learn how to identify what went wrong in the vineyard so the same mistakes aren’t repeated in future vintages.

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Going The Distance: Crafting age-worthy wines

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When you set your sights on making a “keeper” wine, one you plan to lay down for several years, there are certain techniques you can employ to make sure it doesn’t round the bend too soon. Learn how to make that wine worth holding on to.

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Cooking with Wine

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Wine isn’t just the best beverage to pair with food, it’s also great to use as an ingredient in meals. With that in mind, we asked some experts in the kitchen for their advice when it comes to cooking with wine. White, red, or other, wines always have a place in the kitchen.

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Maceration Enzymes: Making the most of these additions

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There are a lot of enzyme products available to winemakers, but in general they can be broken into just a few classes. Learn when and why a winemaker might use some of these various enzymes, especially during maceration.

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Flex Your Terroir: Expressing your white wines

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Terroir has been a bit of an esoteric topic for a long time in winemaking. But as we come to learn more about it we are figuring out ways to use it to our advantage. Learn techniques to express terroir in your white wines.

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Growing Pains: Aging and packaging big batches

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As your winemaking production scales up, so does the space required to store the wine as well as the miscellaneous items that come along with it. Bob Peak guides readers through some of the various bottlenecks that winemakers experience during the aging and bottling processes as their operation grows.