Blending Italian Red Wines

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

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.

The Basics Of Racking Wine

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

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

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

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

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.

The Winemaker’s Pantry: Supplies to keep on hand

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.

Red Fermentation Decisions: Tips from the Pros

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

The Top Twelve Tips: Bringing the fruit in right

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.

Testing for SO2: Keeping your wine safe

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.

Benefit from a Cold Soak: Tips from the Pros

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.

Volatile Acidity: A little goes a long way

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

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.

The Importance of Temperature Control in Winemaking

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

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

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.


Racking Strategies: Why and when to employ

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.

Testing for Malolactic: Don’t be in doubt

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.

Oxygen Management for Home Winemakers

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.

Upping Your Kit Game: Making the most of your wine kit

Right out of the gate, winemakers are instructed to “follow the directions” when it comes to kit wines. But once you get comfortable with the process there are plenty of options to tweak. Bob Peak details some of those adjustment opportunities.

Blending with Malbec: Tips from the Pros

Malbec makes great varietal wines (check out the feature on page 40 for advice on this approach), but is also commonly used as a blending component, specifically for Bordeaux-style blends. In Bordeaux,

Finishing Wine from Kits

Get advice on how to “finish” your wine made from a kit — the steps near the end of the process and after the instructions that come with the kit come to an end that you can take to improve on them.

Intro to Wine Kits: Tips from the Pros

Whether you are new to the winemaking hobby or looking to supplement your grape winemaking during the off-season, making wine from a kit results in great tasting wine in less time and

Classes, Clubs, and Consultants: Getting expert help at home

Feedback is one of the quintessential parts of growing and learning in this hobby. There are many avenues a hobby grape grower and winemaker can take for evaluation and advice, so make sure that you’re looking in the right spots.


Not all wines can or should be backsweetened, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the process. Find out the basics of backsweetening.