Enological Oxygen Principles and PracticesMEMBERS ONLY
While it sometimes gets a bad rap because too much oxygen can destroy a wine, oxygen is also very important to the winemaking process. Learn the six ways to use oxygen to your wine’s benefit.
The Charmat Process to Sparkling WineMEMBERS ONLY
Many homebrewers of beer are unknowingly very familiar with the Charmat method to carbonate wine. If you are unfamiliar with this easy, albeit more equipment-heavy, process to produce bubbly wines, Bob Peak explains the technique.
Sacrificial Tannins ExplainedMEMBERS ONLY
Oak galls are one source of tannins that winemakers may consider adding at various stages, including active fermentation as sacrificial tannin. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com Tannins, or the compounds in grapes (and oak barrels) that contribute to a pleasing sensation of astringency in red (and some white) wines, are found in grape skins and seeds.
Craft Beer-Influenced WinemakingMEMBERS ONLY
A trend has emerged from the world of craft beer as some notable brewers have begun releasing wines. What sets these wines apart is an unusual approach of adding adjuncts and other techniques that are common in the world of beer. Learn what they are doing and how you, too, can make wine like a brewer.
As a home winemaker, you’ve likely spent years taking every precaution at your disposal to assure that your juice does not oxidize prior to fermentation. However, there are a small-yet-growing number of winemakers out there who intentionally oxidize their juice with an aim to reduce phenol content. The technique is called hyperoxidation, and it is only for the brave.
Adding Carbonation To A Dessert WineMEMBERS ONLY
If you’ve got a carbonation setup at home that you use for your homebrew, cider, mead, or kombucha, you certainly can fizzy up some wine products for yourself. I like your idea of using a dessert wine, because the sugar in sweet wines can balance out the sensory “sharpness” of bubbles, possibly leading to a
Protecting Your Wine From Oxygen During RackingMEMBERS ONLY
Excluding oxygen by gassing headspaces and purging containers is one of the most important winemaking jobs we have. Oxygen exposure during aging can create all sorts of problems from premature oxidation and loss of aroma to spoilage microbe growth. The tough part is just what you mention — how do we know, with our own
Using Pectic Enzymes In A Red WineMEMBERS ONLY
To quote one of my vineyard colleagues who always likes to give multiple sides to every answer, “It depends” (thanks, Rich). And so it is with pectic enzymes in winemaking. Pectic enzymes are proteins that can be added to wines at different stages to achieve many different results: To increase juice yields at the press,
Crafting a Buttery-style of ChardonnayMEMBERS ONLY
Indeed, that flavor you’re after is primarily caused by the malolactic bacteria, which impart that buttery, dairy, or creamy taste in many Chardonnays. This is because these bacteria, depending on the strain, can produce a lot of a compound called diacetyl, which is a natural byproduct of their malic acid metabolism. Diacetyl really does smell
Malolactic Fermentation After Cold StabilizingMEMBERS ONLY
I always think it’s wonderful when people can do a “natural” cold stabilization over the winter months. It’s an incredibly intuitive and very old-fashioned, non-interventionist way to accomplish a key winemaking task. It never gets cold enough here in Napa, California during the winter to really knock down any significant amount of our tartrate crystals
As you know, the fermentation process (both the initial fermentation turning sugar into ethanol and the secondary malolactic fermentation) produces quite a lot of carbon dioxide gas. The majority of this escapes
Benefit from a Cold Soak: Tips from the ProsMEMBERS ONLY
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
Volatile Acidity: A little goes a long wayFREE
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.
Racking Strategies: Why and when to employMEMBERS ONLY
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.
A Quicker Route to BubblesMEMBERS ONLY
Making non-traditional sparkling wine at home through force carbonation is simple and can yield amazing results. With just a few pieces of equipment, one can make delicious bubbly in a matter of weeks. In this article I will outline how to keg, carbonate, and bottle sparkling wine to be enjoyed with friends and family. Force
Sparkling Wines: Tips From the ProsFREE
This Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it be great to break open a bottle of your own homemade bubbly? Learn from two winemakers producing highly acclaimed sparkling wines about the nuances of making them at home.
Gum ArabicMEMBERS ONLY
Here goes some gum arabic info . . . I was first introduced to it at Bonny Doon when Randall Grahm brought it back from one of his jaunts to France, around 1999 or so. We did extensive bench trials with it in many of the Bonny Doon wines, and in some cases chose to
Using Tannins: Purposes, sources, and use in winemakingFREE
Tannins can provide a wine with a lot more than just astringency. They can also be useful in white and rosé wines as well if used properly. Bob Peak gives a tour of the benefits of various tannin products available to hobby winemakers.
Fortify It! Adding Spirits To Your WineMEMBERS ONLY
Your first fortified wine can be a little intimidating. What method are you going to utilize? Sweet or dry? What type of spirits are you going to use? Then again, maybe you’re not like me and already have a game plan in place for your fortification process. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other means
Wine Filtration 101MEMBERS ONLY
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
Making Wine From JuiceFREE
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
Unconventional AdditivesMEMBERS ONLY
There are lots of possibilities for adding extracts, flavorings, herbs, and spice when you are making wine at home. We explore a variety of options.
Adjust Your MustMEMBERS ONLY
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.
Six Essential Winemaking TechniquesMEMBERS ONLY
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
Cold Climate Grape GrowingMEMBERS ONLY
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.