Sometimes local AVA (American Viticultural Area) groups will have data available on their websites or emails available to members (the latter is the case with, for example, Napa Valley Vintners). For the most part, however, home winemakers won’t be members of these kinds of groups (they can cost thousands of dollars to join) so they
No matter how much you plan, the grapes received at harvest are not always as expected. It’s time to adjust on the fly, and there’s also a plan for that!
A group of winemakers create eight wines from the same grapes to explore the impact of each process.
As an agricultural product, the steps to make that perfect wine may be unique every year due to differences in the fruit. The most challenging growing seasons really force winemakers to test their skill as they face tough, on-the-fly decisions. One winemaker takes us behind the scenes during one such vintage.
Hybrid grapes pose certain challenges to winemakers including higher acidity and lower tannins. Three cool-climate winemakers share their advice to create a balanced wine from these grapes.
Vitis vinifera grapes are often thought to be the species used to make wine in the premier wine regions, while French-American hybrid grapes are those used in regions vinifera grapes can’t be grown. However, each species brings something unique to the bottle and it may just be that blending grapes of both species will result in just what your wines need.
Not every harvest is going to be perfect. When the grapes come in at less than ideal numbers or with other “flaws,” make sure you’re well positioned and able to make the best of an inferior harvest. Plus, learn how to identify what went wrong in the vineyard so the same mistakes aren’t repeated in future vintages.
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.
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,
Firstly let me define what I mean by “big batch” for this discussion. Let’s say a big batch is anything larger than a 6-gallon (23-L) carboy of wine. Many home winemakers begin their journey in the winemaking hobby by trying their hand at 6-gallon (23-L) and sometimes even 1-gallon (4-L) batches. Some winemakers find these
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
As harvest kicks into full swing it is important for winemakers to know the right questions to ask and things to look for when purchasing grapes for this year’s fermentations. Get that
With harvest just around the corner, it’s time to study up on your extraction plan for this year’s grapes. Alex Russan looks at some of the key decisions that winemakers need to make after the grapes are crushed and methods to get them to their goal.
The concept of maceration is a rather simple one: Take crushed grapes (or fruit) and allow the grapes — skins, seeds, and stems — a period to soak with the grape juice.
There are many ways to make sparkling or spritzy wines. An Italian winemaker offers tips for two methods used in regions of Italy — Governo and metodo
ancestrale — and how home winemakers everywhere can use them at home.
There are many reasons that 10 wines made from the same grape may taste completely different, and often it is because the winemaker planned for them to. Learn about how the location a grape is grown, as well as the decisions a winemaker must make, impact the outcome of a wine.
There are some intricacies when making red table wines from hybrid grapes that vinifera winemakers don’t experience — from growing practices, pre-fermentation techniques, and right on through to post-fermentation adjustments.
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.
Buying your first lug of grapes can be intimidating, but it does not need to be. Get some pointers before committing to your first box of grapes.
How ripe your grapes are when picked is one of the most important factors in determining what your wine will taste like. Here is a closer look at how a grape’s development affects the resulting wine.
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
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,
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
One of the things that makes wine irresistible is the endless variety: every grape, every region, every vintage, every bottle tastes a little different from the last. And so while there is no crime in getting better and better at making one wine or one style, there is much to be learned — and much