Using Enzymes in Country WinesMEMBERS ONLY
Beyond basic pectic enzymes to increase juice yield and improve clarity, I have not seen much mention of enzyme use in country fruit wines. To be sure, most of the commercial enzyme preparations available to the home winemaker are isolated and purified for use in grape wine. That does not mean, however, that they will
20 Home Winemaking Troubleshooting TipsMEMBERS ONLY
In a notebook of fermentation hobby records, I have a lab report dated November 3, 1998. That soil pre-plant analysis from Fruit Growers Laboratory marked my start 20 years ago in becoming a home grape grower and vintner. Along the way, I have seen and addressed pitfalls and trouble spots that can come up on
Fortifying Fruit Wines: Tips from the ProsMEMBERS ONLY
With the popularity of Ports, Madeira, Sherry, and even vermouth, fortified grape wines seem to get all the attention. But country fruit winemakers can get in on the fun as well. There are many ways to fortify a fruit wine, but careful consideration should be made about when and how to fortify. Here are some
Special Purpose Wine YeastsFREE
Yeast are fairly simple, single-celled organisms. But their diversity, functionality, and ability to adapt is why humans, and especially winemakers love these fungi so much. Bob Peak takes us through several strains that winemakers should know are available.
Making Rosé Wine: Tips from the ProsMEMBERS ONLY
For too long, rosé remained cast under the shadow of overly sweet and one-dimensional White Zinfandels. But the surge of popularity in North America has removed the myth that rosé wines are similar in character to the mass-produced White Zins. Learn how to craft your own rosé, whether starting from fresh grapes or from juice,
Wines, NaturallyMEMBERS ONLY
Many wine experts are very skeptical about natural winemaking techniques. They say natural fermentations lead to unreliable or stuck ferments and regard doing away with sulfite additions — a requirement of certified organic wines in the United States — as handing over the wine to spoilage microbes. But in recent years, a small but growing
Home Wine Lab Testing: Tips from the ProsFREE
Laboratory equipment for winemakers can be fiscally daunting, especially for beginning winemakers. That doesn’t mean that vital testing should be avoided. We asked two laboratory experts in wine lab services companies about
Impact of Oxygen on WinemakingMEMBERS ONLY
Oxygen’s presence or absence at the various stages of winemaking can have extraordinarily important and lasting effects on what our wines taste like. Too much and you risk oxidation damage, too little and you risk reduction stink. The effects of oxygen on wine, much more so with red wines, may be the most complex and
Wine Grape Cold Soaking SuccessMEMBERS ONLY
If you have ever researched how to make Pinot Noir, you have no doubt come across the term “pre-fermentation cold maceration” or simply “cold soak.” Although a cold soak is used on other grape varietals, lowering the temperatures prior to fermentation is primarily done to coax more color out of Pinot Noir, which tends to
Monitoring & Adjusting pHFREE
pH greatly affects the taste of wine as well as microbial stability. It can make the difference between drinking the wine or pouring it down the drain. Make sure you know when it should be analyzed and make the necessary adjustments.
Enzymes for HobbyistsMEMBERS ONLY
When pioneers of winemaking like Louis Pasteur or André Tchelistcheff are mentioned, James B. Sumner is often overlooked. Nonetheless, this Nobel-prize-winning chemist (1946) set in motion the entire scientific field for today’s article. In 1926, Sumner successfully crystallized the enzyme urease and performed chemical analysis that demonstrated that urease is a protein. Not at all
White Wine Case StudyMEMBERS ONLY
I planted my hobby vineyard in 1999 and made my first wine in the 2002 vintage. I have 125 vines of Chardonnay and 125 of Pinot Noir planted on 1⁄3 acre (0.13 hectares) in Sonoma County, California. I am located in the soon-to-be (hopefully) AVA of the Petaluma Gap, a cool-climate sub-region of the larger
Using Yeast NutrientsFREE
One of the most important conditions for your yeast to thrive is an abundance of nutrients. If the must doesn’t provide enough naturally, it’s time to add yeast nutrients. Use these tips to know when it’s time to add nutrients, and what types your yeast need to complete a successful fermentation.
Cleaning & Sanitizing TechniquesFREE
“They can make the difference between sound wine and spoiled wine.” Daniel Pambianchi Daniel Pambianchi was talking about cleaning and sanitizing when he put that maxim in Techniques in Home Winemaking. Home
Red Hybrid Color Stabilization: Tips from the ProsFREE
Red wines from hybrid grapes can be frustrating — one day you have a deep garnet wine and the next you are wondering where the color went. Color stabilization is the key,
Mastering Wine Acid BalanceMEMBERS ONLY
Sometimes the acidity of your grapes, juice, or wine will need to be adjusted. Learn some of the finer details surrounding how, and when, to make those acid adjustments to your wine.
Award-Winning Kit Winemakers RoundtableMEMBERS ONLY
How do you make the best possible homemade wine from a kit? You know, something truly great that can stand out in a crowded competition and go toe-to-toe with a fresh grape wine? I reached out to four kit winemakers who all won multiple medals in the 2015 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition for their
Make Wines to AgeFREE
It starts with great fruit, but to make age-worthy red wine the winemaker must also consider acidity, tannins, sulfur dioxide, oxygen, cellaring conditions, and how all of these factors (and others) relate to each other.
Troubleshooting Wine Kit AromaMEMBERS ONLY
Before we finish shooting smelly troubles in wine kits we need to do a quick recap of the basics of troubleshooting: Almost all of these issues can be avoided if you carefully follow the instructions that came with your wine kit. Kits sometimes have procedures that contradict accepted techniques for fresh grape/fresh juice winemaking. There
New World Winemaking DecisionsMEMBERS ONLY
There are competing images in the story of fine wine. One version goes something like, “get the best grapes you can and get out of the way.” It’s great advice and it often makes excellent wine. On the other hand, not every lot of grapes is wonderful and we now have techniques and products that
Troubleshooting Visual Defects in Wine KitsMEMBERS ONLY
The old truism of the commercial wine industry is that people drink with their eyes first. This is natural since you’ll see your glass as it’s coming to your lips. No matter how a wine tastes, if it’s hazy, cloudy or (even worse!) lumpy, it’s not going to please the drinker. Wines made from kits
Yeast Trials With Wine KitsMEMBERS ONLY
Just because your wine kit comes with a certain yeast, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with other options.
In the Wine LabFREE
Sooner or later, if you make wine at home, you are going to do some chemical analysis. To establish (or expand) your wine testing capability, what will it take? There are some
Using Inert Gases in WinemakingFREE
Blanket, flush, sparge, transfer, dispense. To exclude air while doing any of these things to your wine, your best bet is the use of an inert gas. Learn some your options and tricks.
Unoaked Wine KitsMEMBERS ONLY
Not using oak on wine is a time-honored tradition for many varietals and styles, and often for good reason. There are few things as disconcerting and deeply weird as a heavily oaked Riesling, and few rosé wines show better with a heavy layer of deeply toasted oak covering their finish. Oak just doesn’t make sense