Varietal: Red Vinifera Grapes

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Most readers are likely familiar with Amarone wines made from drying grapes to concentrate the flavors and sugars prior to fermentation, but have you heard of Sagrantino? This Italian variety known for its huge tannins makes similar passito wines, in addition to table wines worth cellaring.

Grenache Five Ways

A home winemaker sets out to explore just how versatile Grenache can be by making five different wines from it in a single vintage, including red, pink, and white versions.

Paths to Pinot Noir

It’s a legendary grape with a storied history and one of the most revered in the wine world. But it is also a cantankerous grape to grow and make wine with. Chik Brenneman shares some best practices for handling Pinot Noir in the winery.


Hailing from the southern regions of Italy, Aglianico is revered as producing big and bold red varietal wines. It is finding its way across the sea and will need some taming in order to make the best from its clusters. Get the scoop.

Graceful Garnacha: A grape with many facets

With origins in Spain, Garnacha grapes may now be more commonly associated with the Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon region of France where it’s known as Grenache. Learn about Garnacha’s background and making the best version of wine with it.

Bonarda Argentine Or Douce Noir or Charbono . . .

Grape varietal names can be a confusing world, typically because one grape varietal may have over a dozen names based on location. But in this case, one grape name has an array of grape varietals. Get the scoop on Bonarda Argentine, one whose history is finally making sense thanks to DNA analysis.

Blaufränkisch or Lemberger: International grape of mystery

As with many Old World grapes that are grown widely, Blaufränkisch goes by many names. And thanks to its versatility in the winery and cool-climate tolerance, its popularity is surging. Learn more about this mysterious grape.

Colorful Carménère

Similar to a varietal like Malbec, Carménère has come to be identified with the wine growing regions of South America, but this grape actually was one of the classics of Bordeaux. Chik Brenneman explains the history of this varietal and how to tame this grape when it gets temperamental.

Cinsault: The grape that could . . .

One of the mainstay grapes found in the heat-prone regions in the Rhône Valley of France is Cinsault. It often is utilized in blends to add softness to Rhône-style wines. Another great use is to turn it into rosé wine. Chik Brenneman gives you the scoop on this varietal.

Tempranillo Tips from the A-Team

Tempranillo is a Spanish grape best known as the main ingredient in that country’s respected Rioja wines. It’s also the basis of Vega Sicilia, arguably Spain’s most famous vino.  Tempranillo wines can

Primitivo: The early-ripening varietal

Anyone well versed in wine grape nomenclature knows that Primitivo and Zinfandel are genetically identical. Yet test trials have shown there are some differences with grape types. Learn some of the history and best practices when handling Primitivo.

Malbecs Around the Globe

The popularity of Malbec has grown tremendously over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the award-winning examples coming out of Argentina. We interviewed five winemakers from three continents to share their tips for making Malbec at home.

Beyond Beaujolais: Get acquainted with Gamay Noir

Wine brings people together. This is cause for great reflection for me personally because as you read this, I will have been retired from the University of California Teaching and Research Winery

Discussing Pros v. Cons of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has quite a reputation. Often known as the “Heartbreak Grape” and lovingly discussed, dissected, and degustated (is that even a word?) by rabid Pinot-philes the world over, Pinot Noir was

Noble Nebbiolo: Time to raise it from the fog

Explore the grape varietal made famous by the Italian wineries producing Barolo and Barbaresco wines in the Piemonte region of northern Italy. Learn about Nebbiolo’s history, viticulture, enology, and future.

Crafting Pinot Noir Wines

Finesse the legendary grape from Burgundy.

Making Cabernet Sauvignon

RED wine Case Study: There are two important keys to determining the success of any grape varietal. The first key is its adaptability to the local climate where it is planted. We

Zinfandel: ‘America’s’ grape

We all are familiar with White Zinfandel, the rosé style that enjoyed immense popularity in recent years and led to the emergence of a rosé boom with other varieties.


Barbera frequently comes in with high acidity but, with the right winemaking approach, it makes a food-friendly red for people who drink wine every day.

Tempranillo: Spanish nobility

Tempranillo is the predominant black grape variety from the northern wine region of Spain we know as the Rioja, and other regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

Grenache: An international blender

In the vineyard, Grenache is extremely vigorous and needs a long growing season to mature all of its fruit.

Merlot: Noble grape of Bordeaux

. . . Merlot is the most common grape variety grown in France with about 280,000 acres.

Nero d’Avola: The red grape of Sicily

. . . Sicily’s legacy of red wine is all about Nero d’Avola, second only to Catarratto Bianco. There are almost 18,000 hectares (about 46,000 acres) of Nero in Sicily.


To understand Montepulciano the grape, you also have to understand the difference with Montepulciano the place. Chik Brenneman takes you on a tour of eastern Tuscany, Italy in this issue.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Master Class

Grab a seat, take out your pencil, and get ready for an introduction into the master class on the world’s most popular grape. Guest lecturers include three experts on making Cabernet wines.

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