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Techniques

Making Wines with Finesse

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The mantra for the quest for making a big blockbuster type of wine is “more is better” — more sugar in the grapes, more alcohol in the wine, more extraction, more color and more wood. (And in the commercial marketplace, usually more bucks per bottle.) So if that’s not your style, what’s the alternative? No,

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Guide to Cleaning and Sanitizing Winemaking Equipment

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We can probably all agree that readying equipment for winemaking is not exactly a carboy of fun; nevertheless, it is an absolutely crucial aspect of winemaking. Reports of wine gone bad and,


Making Berry Fruit Wines:Tips from the Pros

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Country wines come in all different styles and varieties, but berry wines are perennial favorites. Summertime brings with it a bevy of fresh, ripe berry options to craft some fine berry wines. Two berry wine experts share some winemaking advice. Sandi Vojta, Winemaker at Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City, South Dakota. Sandi is a

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Techniques to Reduce Sulfite Additions

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In spite of their long history as wine preservatives dating to the days of the Romans, sulfites can receive a bad rap. Many suspect that sulfites cause headaches or believe that any preservative is harmful, and so, there is a strong push to eliminate — or at least reduce — the use of sulfites and

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Using Grape Skin Packs in Wine Kits

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Grapes . . . they do seem to inspire metaphor, but not as much as they inspire winemakers and wine drinkers. It is the source of wine, the beverage we all know and love so much. (Well, one source: if there’s one thing I’ve learned in more than two decades of working in the consumer

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Troubleshooting Guide for Home Winemaking

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A perfect stranger wanting to strike up a conversation about winemaking once came up to me and said, “Making wine is really easy. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.” Making wine is easy when all is “perfect,” but nothing is ever perfect in winemaking. Making great wine is a challenge more often than not given

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Pinot Noir Winemaking Techniques from Burgundy

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We have all heard the expression that great wine is made in the vineyard. And while we home winemakers generally accept this as truth, nowhere has this been more obvious to me than in the Burgundy region of France. Many fans of Pinot Noir, including myself, believe that the very best Pinot Noirs come from

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2012 WineMaker Competition Winners

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4,318 entries 803 wine flights 1,511 total judging hours 50 American states 8 Canadian provinces 7 Countries From April 20 to 22, 2012, a total of 4,318 different wines were judged at


Fermenter Options for any Size Home Winery

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When setting out to make wine from grapes, one of the first major decisions is what you will use as a fermentation container. For most winemaking, you will need a primary fermenter and an aging container. Vessels for both purposes are available in a variety of materials and in many sizes. Frequently used choices include

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Wild Yeast Fermentations: Tips from the Pros

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Not every winemaker makes wine with commercially-cultivated yeast strains. In fact, lots of commercial winemakers let their wines ferment with wild yeast from the grapes and in the winery. Here we have two California winemakers discuss wild yeasts. Robert Lauer, Assistant Winemaker at Storrs Winery in Santa Cruz, California. Robert studied fermentation science and viticulture

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Making White Wines with Less Sulfite

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Managing oxygen is key in making reduced-sulfite or sulfite-free wines. A dissolved oxygen (DO) meter is a wise investment; you can buy a portable model for less than $300. Then you can ensure that your DO level at bottling is less than 2 mg/L to give you peace of mind that your wine will age

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Tannin Chemistry in Wine

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It all starts with phenol. The tannins in wine make up one of the subgroups in a larger chemical family known as polyphenols. Those, in turn, are made up of phenol-derived molecules and additional carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. While a winemaker does not need to know the chemistry of polyphenols and tannins to make

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Build a Ladder-Style Wine Rack

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There are lots of different styles of racking you can use in your cellar, so it’s worth considering the advantages and disadvantages of each as you work out the details of your design. They include flat shelves, display shelves, ladder racking, waterfall racking, diamond bins, radiused ladders, curved end shelves, end caps, and others. You’ve

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10 Italian Red Wines to Make at Home

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NEBBIOLO Nebbiolo derives its name from nebbia, in reference to the foggy conditions under which it is typically harvested, and possibly from nobile, as it is considered the most noble of Italian red varietals owing to its pedigree and the wines’ long aging potential. Much like oenophiles refer to Pinot Noir from Burgundy as Burgundy,

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Oak Alternatives: Tips from the Pros

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A lot of home winemakers make small batches of wine that aren’t enough for a whole barrel. Thankfully there are lots of options for those of us making only a few gallons (or liters) at a time. In this article, two experts discuss their oak alternative choices. Tristan Johnson, Brand Manager at MoreWine! & MoreWine!

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Reducing Use of Winemaking Sulfites

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Inexperienced amateur winemakers are often misled thinking that making red wine is easier — or at least more foolproof — than making white wine because reds are better protected by polyphenols from the effects of oxidation. The result: Tired, orangey (and even brown) colored, lifeless reds. Making great red wine is indeed more challenging as

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Table Wine Kits

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This article we’ll be discussing immediate and intermediate strategies for making table wines that can be consumed very young while still delivering the full and delightful wine experience. Strategy one: go cheap — but not too cheap Value-priced wine kits, which are usually smaller-sized (two to three US-gallons/7.5-11-L in the box), are inexpensive because they

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Going Pro RoundTable

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How do you break into the wine industry? Do you volunteer to help out at a local vineyard for a vintage? Do you go to winemaking school? Do you start out as


Top 100 Wine Kits 2012

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Over 50 experienced judges evaluated a total of 2,552 wine kit entries as part of the 2012 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. This large collection of kit entries was sent into the competition from across North America originating from 8 Canadian provinces and all 50 American states. The 2,552 wine kit entries were entered in

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How Wine Kits are Made

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Unless you work in the industry, you’ll likely never have seen the inside of a wine kit manufacturer’s facility. For liability reasons, they don’t give tours to civilians. There’s something about running


Wine Blending Partners

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Blending accomplishes several goals in winemaking. It can be done to improve flavor, mouthfeel, cover a defect, balance the chemical profile, adjust the alcohol content, emulate a commercial wine you enjoy or simply for product consistency. Blending is both a science and an art. The correct blend to adjust the alcohol content of a wine

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Meadmaking: Tips from the Pros

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Meadmaking — like winemaking — has been around for thousands of years. And if you make wine you can also make mead using much of the same equipment. In this issue, two master meadmakers share some insight for making your own mead at home. Michael Fairbrother, Founder and Meadmaker of Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, New

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Rosé Wine Kits

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In a recent study commissioned in the UK, researchers studied the sociological data of people who expressed a preference for either red or white wine. In addition to mundane facts (red wine drinkers have a slightly higher rate of college degrees, white wine drinkers are content stay-at-homes) a couple of very interesting things emerged: fans

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Using Winemaking Enzymes

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Many winemakers shun the use of additives, including enzymes, to respect the wine’s “naturalness.” But juice is laden with natural enzymes, and once inoculated with yeast, fermenting wine is under the control of countless enzymes working hard to help convert odorless compounds into volatile, odiferous ones and create new ones, all of which will define

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Red Wine Color Stability

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Keep the color in your reds by learning about color stability and how to achieve it.

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