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Techniques

Wine Filtration 101

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You want to start a heated and emotionally charged discussion on a controversial topic? Ask a group of amateur winemakers for their thoughts on the impact of filtration on wine. Chances are you will get diametrically opposed views on the pros and cons of filtration, and, quite often, those views and opinions are not necessarily

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10 Tips for a Successful Harvest Day

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For the home vineyardist, harvest day is the most important — or at least the busiest — day of the year. Planning and preparation is critical in order for everything to run smoothly. Let our harvest day tips guide you to great grape picking . . . and wonderful wine. Harvest comes once per year

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Determining Ripeness

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Determining when grapes are ready to harvest is one of the most important decisions of the entire vintage. Here’s what to look for.


Making Wine From Juice

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You may be curious about a way of making wine intermediate between using fresh fruit and making kit wines. Increasingly popular, the hobby of making wine from grape juice comes in two


Minerality in Wine

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Terms such as “mineral taste” and “minerality” have entered the modern wine lexicon and into common usage probably by traditionalists in an attempt to link the equally ill-defined concept of terroir to wine flavors and aromas. The terms often appear, for example, in tasting notes of Riesling wines and the Chardonnay-based Chablis wines of Burgundian

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Cheesemaking: Tips from the Pros

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You make your own wine, but have you tried making cheese to go with it?

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Fin(d)ing Clarity in the Five S’s

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When it comes to clarifying your wine kit, there are five “S’s” that will guide your way: Start, stir, smash, sweep, and suppress.


Adjust Your Must

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There are many points throughout the winemaking process where a winemaker must make adjustments
in order to influence the final outcome. When the grapes come into the winery, the very first choices you will make as a winemaker will be done in the unfermented must.

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Blending Bench Trials

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One of the most useful techniques used in blending wine is performing bench trials, which is the process of treating a series of small wine samples with varying degrees of conditions. In the case of blending, bench trials involve dosing a sample of wine with different measured amounts of a blending wine. The goal of

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Dealing with Excessive Heat in the Vineyard

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Relentless heat can be an anxious time for winegrape growers. But the worry of vineyard heat stress doesn’t need to cause stress in the grape-grower’s life. Two professional winemakers discuss dealing with excessive heat in your own vineyard.

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Microoxidation in White Wines: Tips from the Pros

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Not all white wines should be treated equally when it comes to processing juice. Here are some helpful tips and insights winemakers should consider when they approach their next batch of white wine — when to go for a more oxidative approach to the juice and when to go for less.

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Field Blending

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Blends are most often made from varietal wines prior to bottling, but field blending, where all of the varieties are harvested and fermented together, has its own benefits.

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Detecting, Measuring, and Preventing Volatile Acidity

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You’ve worked long and hard to craft that awesome red wine but now, you go down to the cellar to taste a sample out of the carboy or oak barrel to see how the wine is coming along. Oh no! The wine smells of vinegar, and worse yet, it reeks of nail polish remover. What

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Fermentation and Aging Containers

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Fermentation and aging vessels winemakers have to decide between include oak, glass, plastic, and stainless steel. Each has its own pros and cons to be weighed.


Six Essential Winemaking Techniques

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Commercial winemakers and wine industry professionals don’t become experts overnight. It can take many vintages to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in a home or commercial winery. But that doesn’t mean hobby winemaking has to be hard — and it helps to get some pro-level advice to boost your confidence. We spoke with

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Making Mead: Tips from the Pros

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Looking to try something new? How about making mead, also known as honey wine. Meads come in many different forms, from dry to sweet, with added fruit (melomel), malt (braggot), spices (metheglin) and so on. But to get a good foundation for your meadmaking, start at the beginning with traditional mead. Heed the advice from

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Cold Climate Grape Growing

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Indeed, for 4–6 months of the year, the frigid and snowy landscape hardly seems like a great place to plant a vineyard. Temperatures in January and February drop sufficiently low to kill dormant buds in most cultivated grapevines. Nonetheless, our best kept secret is our mild summers marked by long warm days and cool nights.

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Making Sherry-Style Wines

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Sherry is the fortified wine from Jerez, Spain, made in soleras and conditioned with flor yeast.

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Big Reds: How To Make A Blockbuster Wine

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. . .lurking inside the heads of many home winemakers is the urge to make an absolute blockbuster, a jaw-dropping, mind-bending, 800-pound gorilla of a wine.

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Yeast Nutrient Strategies

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Grape juice is a pretty tough environment if you’re a yeast cell. The pH is low, there’s high osmotic stress (stress from the environmental conditions being such that the flow of water out of the cell is favored), and often, essential nutrients are limited. The abundance of fermentable sugars, however, makes life in these challenging

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Using South American Grapes for a Second Winemaking Season

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And you thought there was only one time each year to make wine from fresh grapes; in the autumn season. But, surprise, there is another whole world south of the Equator. As it turns out, the four seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are shifted six months compared to the Northern Hemisphere. The peak heat of

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Making La Crescent Wine: Tips from the Pros

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Thanks to the University of Minnesota, wine grapes can thrive in some of the coldest climates in North America (and beyond). In this issue, two winemakers discuss making wine with the Minnesota-bred, cold-hardy hybrid, La Crescent. Scott Prom, Winemaker at Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne, Vermont. Scott’s interest in wine started in 1985 while living in

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Simple Sulfite Wine Chemistry

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There is no denying: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) can be a source of headaches for winemakers — even without drinking any wine. Why does SO2 continue to be such a perplexing and confusing topic? All too often I am asked to help out with problems that seem completely unrelated to sulfite additions, though these are at

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Modifying Wine Kits

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The two changes we are going to discuss in this article are alcohol levels and tannin. It’s important to remember before we start that any change you make is completely interconnected to the character of the wine in what can be very subtle ways.

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Build a Wine Barrel Table

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Materials for Project: 1.) sand paper grits 40, 80, 120, 240 2.) matte black paint 3.) 3 or 4 coach bolts with washers and nuts 4.) drill and drill bits 5.) 3 or 4 wood screws 6.) small nail or tacks 7.) hammer 8.) jig saw (reciprocating saw) 9.) clean rags 10.) your favorite timber

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