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Techniques

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.


Dear Wes: I asked for questions and you listened!

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Two attendees of the Backyard Grape Growing Online Boot Camp
had some follow-up questions; one on their spray protocol, the other about coming back from a devastating loss of vines. Wes dishes out some advice.

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Backsweetening Fruit Wines

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Backsweetening is a popular method to balance and bring out the fruit character in fruit wines. We enlist two experts to share their tips to backsweetening success.

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White Wine Aromatics: Factors to guide your white wines

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It’s hard not to find appeal in the aromatics of a tropical fruit or floral Sauvignon Blanc or hints of vanilla, citrus, and caramel in a Chardonnay. But the road to get to those aromas takes vastly different paths. Alex Russan helps readers navigate the maze winemakers can take to maximize their white wine aromatics.

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Scaling Up: Crushing, pressing, and fermenting larger batches of wine

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Scaling up to larger and larger sized batches of wine may save money because of bulk buying, but new equipment will become necessary at some point. Bob Peak runs through considerations winemakers need to ponder for crushing, pressing, and fermenting larger-scale batches.

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Blending Italian Red Wines

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Three North American winemakers share their best advice for blending red Italian varieties that are often lesser known and less common in the New World. These grapes bring their own challenges, but


Scaling Up Grapes

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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.

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The Basics Of Racking Wine

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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


Traditional Meadmaking: Tips from the Pros

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Want to try something new between grape harvest seasons? How about trying your hand at making mead, a wine made from honey. Meads come in many different forms — from dry to


Tannin Additions: Tips from the Pros

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A grape’s tannin structure is impacted by varietal, terroir, and growing conditions. Sometimes, grapes lack the tannins desired, and when that happens winemakers have the option of techniques to maximize extraction, adding tannins, blending, and more. Three pros share their approach in this issue’s “Tips from the Pros.” Phil Plummer, Winemaker at Montezuma Winery in

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Oak and Barrel Dynamics: Do’s and don’ts when it comes to wine and oak

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The role of oak in our wines can fall on a broad spectrum and the type of oak products used can change the dynamics. Make sure you’ve got the lowdown on the impacts of oak and how it can be manipulated.

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The Winemaker’s Pantry: Supplies to keep on hand

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For those that are regular winemakers, the accoutrements start to add up through the years. Here is a guide for folks to consider what things to keep in their “winemaker’s pantry,” their uses, and their shelf life.

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Red Fermentation Decisions: Tips from the Pros

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They say winemaking is part science, part art. That expression may ring most true when it comes to fermenting red wines. While there have been numerous studies and much research regarding the benefits of various techniques used during fermentation, winemakers still often go with their gut, rely on their own experiences, and preferences. And the

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The Top Twelve Tips: Bringing the fruit in right

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The final days leading up to your grape harvest can be anxiety-ridden for most hobbyists . . . and even for professionals. Get pointers on how to properly plan and execute a professional-style harvest.

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Testing for SO2: Keeping your wine safe

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Despite popular lore in some diet-watching crowds, sulfite in wine is not only low compared to many foods, but it is key to limit oxidation of wine and to keep spoilage at bay. Learn how to test a wine’s sulfite level and when and why to use it properly for your wines.

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Benefit from a Cold Soak: Tips from the Pros

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The benefits of cold soaking are debated among winemakers, but those who subscribe to the technique of keeping (usually red) grapes cool for a few days prior to fermentation swear by it. Two pros share their reasons why they always cold soak, and how you can do it at home too. Ann Moller-Racke, Blue Farm

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Volatile Acidity: A little goes a long way

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Many wine aficionados view volatile acidity (VA) as a very fine line between a good thing and a bad thing. Find out ways to control VA so that you can walk that line between a wine boost and a wine defect.


Testing for Titratable Acidity

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Titratable acidity, or TA, is often viewed as a more advanced test, but it shouldn’t be. With a simple kit and a good pH meter, anyone can measure TA in any wine. Bob Peak has some straightforward advice for winemakers to help you bring balance to your wines through TA.

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The Importance of Temperature Control in Winemaking

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Not properly controlling the temperature of your grapes, must, juice, or wine can have lasting impacts. Learn when and how to take control.


Dirt Don’t Lie: The impact of soil on vineyards and wine

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Determining your soil type can tell anyone growing grapes a lot about the conditions under which your vine’s root system will develop and grow. It can tell you how much you should irrigate or about your potential fertilization schedule. Learn how to determine where your vineyard’s soil type lands on the USDA’s soil-type triangle.


Testing for pH: What the big pHuss is about

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Near the top of the list of factors that winemakers should be measuring in their juice and wine is pH. Bob Peak breaks down the what, when, why, and how of measuring for this critical factor in winemaking.

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Racking Strategies: Why and when to employ

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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.

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Testing for Malolactic: Don’t be in doubt

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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.

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Oxygen Management for Home Winemakers

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Oxidation is one of the most common faults among home (and pro) winemakers. Learn how to protect your wine against the detrimental effects of oxygen.

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