Winemaking is always a learning process and even those of us that have been doing this for a long time still learn a lot every harvest and all year-round! However, that being said, I do have some tidbits for new winemakers. In my Winemaker’s Answer Book I spell out what I think are probably the
As harvest nears it is time to make a plan of action for how you will proceed with each batch you plan to make this fall. With red wines there are many options. We take a closer look at cold soaking, extended macerations, and carbonic macerations.
As your winemaking production scales up, so does the space required to store the wine as well as the miscellaneous items that come along with it. Bob Peak guides readers through some of the various bottlenecks that winemakers experience during the aging and bottling processes as their operation grows.
Ah yes, the classic “I sunk a bunch of pennies in my carboy” tale. Forgetting for a moment that modern pennies contain very little copper, there’s a reason that most winemakers I
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
It’s hard not to find appeal in the aromatics of a tropical fruit or floral Sauvignon Blanc or hints of vanilla, citrus, and caramel in a Chardonnay. But the road to get to those aromas takes vastly different paths. Alex Russan helps readers navigate the maze winemakers can take to maximize their white wine aromatics.
Learn about the fundamentals of nitrogen levels in your winemaking as well as how, when, and what additions are needed
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
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.
For winemakers, harvest time is a period of intense activity, and essential decisions and preparations need to happen well in advance of crushing day for things to go smoothly. These decisions include
There are so many opinions out there that we can sometimes get bogged down and mistake an opinion for fact. This is true in all aspects of life but especially in home
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.
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.
Indeed, a pH of 2.9 is really low, even for a Sauvignon Blanc, and I think I would definitely de-acidify in that case. With deacidification you’ll always get some kind of precipitation;
Dear Wine Wizard, I’ve been making wine for about a year now and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to help me out with a wrap-up of some of your winemaking wisdom. What are your top five rookie mistakes to avoid in winemaking? Jennifer ScottBrooklyn, New York Wine Wizard replies: That’s a great request. Sometimes
While none of the three panelists for this “Tips from the Pros” column are actually pros, their knowledge is second to none. We’ve accumulated three “Best of Show” winners from the 2019 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition to share their medal-winning advice. Kathleen Ondrus, Winemaker of the Year and Grand Champion Wine at the WineMaker
Highlighting multiple fruits in a wine often brings more complex flavors and aromas to a bottle. There are multiple ways to make these wines — primarily fermenting fruits together or blending single-fruit wines after fermentation. Two pros share their own techniques for these delectable summer sippers. Sandi Vojta, Founder & Winemaker at Prairie Berry Winery,
Goodness, you’ve got a persistent sediment source in your wines that’s for sure. You’ve removed the gross particles by racking and filtration.You’ve cleared out proteins by using bentonite. You’ve taken out excess
Before I launch into my information about gum arabic and related products, do take a minute to think that gum arabic may not give you the result you’re looking for. Gum arabic can smooth out the perception of tannins in some wines, but I’ve found that sometimes it can make the problem seem worse. If
“I think the two biggest things for me were to get out of the science lab and get into the vineyard,” says Californian winemaker Bob Foley, known for decades of top-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Foley is referring to the mid-1970s when he graduated from UC-Davis with a degree in enology and fermentation science. He
The time period leading up to bottling day is the time winemakers need to take advantage of last minute adjustments and additions. Bob Peak takes readers on a spin through some techniques that winemakers can use before bottling white and rosé wines.
Q I am a novice home winemaker and have been contemplating making the move from carboy and bottle-aging to barrel-aging some of my reds. It is my understanding that a new barrel
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.
I feel ya! (Yes, pun intended.) Since I don’t have much space left in this column, let me break it down for you in bite-sized pieces. Much more food for thought and things to chew on for future columns. Here are some ways to increase mouthfeel along the winemaking timeline: Harvest: Pick riper. Higher alcohol