Writer: Bob Peak

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When you make your own aperitif wines at home — such as sweet and dry vermouth — you can then make your own cocktails with them. Learn the basics of making these drinks, plus three cocktail recipes sure to appease even your guests who aren’t wine drinkers.

Thinking Outside the Bottle: Presenting Your Homemade Wine

With the holiday season approaching, presenting your homemade wine to friends and family should be a point of pride. Bob Peak offers readers several pointers to take a fun and festive approach to an evening pairing of your wine with guests.

Using Tannins: Purposes, sources, and use in winemaking

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.

Determining Ripeness

Determining when grapes are ready to harvest is one of the most important decisions of the entire vintage. Here’s what to look for.

Making Wine From Juice

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 Additives

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.

Controlling Fermentation Temperature

Many hobby winemakers believe that fermentation temperature control is beyond their reach — but this isn’t so! Discover how to keep temperatures in the proper range.

Adjust Your Must

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.

Crushing Grapes

Supposedly there are many ways to skin a cat, but we’re not familiar with any of them. Luckily for winemakers, Bob Peak knows many ways to crush a grape, and is willing to explain.

Proper Equipment Storage

When done using your winemaking equipment, make sure it is properly cleaned and stored so it will be ready to use next harvest season.

Fermentation and Aging Containers

Fermentation and aging vessels winemakers have to decide between include oak, glass, plastic, and stainless steel. Each has its own pros and cons to be weighed.

Fermenter Options for any Size Home Winery

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

Tannin Chemistry in Wine

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

Red Wine Color Stability

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

15 Facts About Wine Yeast

For more than 10 years I have been a home winemaker and for almost that long I have also brewed beer. Before that, I was general manager at a company that sells

Winemaking by the Numbers

There are lots of ways to help winemakers learn or refine their craft. Most of those involve lists of equipment and supplies, along with step-by-step or time-based instructions for what to do

Performing Bench Trials

It is always recommended to do a bench trial prior to making any big adjustment or blend. Learn how to dial in an exact adjustment/addition rate and then scale it up to the full batch.

Maceration Tips and Techniques

“Maceration,” says the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is to “soften by soaking.” In red winemaking it is so much more! Indeed, maceration may be viewed as the very essence of what distinguishes the

The Science of Food and Wine Pairing

“Carignane and goat cheese,” said Tony Ross, wine educator at Passalacqua Winery near Healdsburg, California. During a judging session for a local home wine competition, Tony and I were on the same

Fining Your Way to Clear Wine

Fining of wine is the addition of one substance to remove another. It is a diverse subject with several classes of materials involved in its use and lots of different intended outcomes.

Pairing Yeast with Grape

Start with the grapes. Whether you make wine at home from fresh grapes, juice, or frozen must, there are many influences over the quality and character of your wine. Grape variety itself

Blending Fruit and Grape Wines

“Blending is a natural procedure, honest, necessary, and in accordance with historical events.” With that quote, eminent wine authority Emile Peynaud gives us permission to play with our wines. While he was

Back Sweetening Wine Techniques

In ancient Greece and Rome, honey was sometimes stirred into wine just before serving. Maybe they just liked the taste of honey. More likely, though, the sweetness of the honey corrected some

Chaptalization and Fermentation

Jean-Antoine Chaptal lacked one major benefit we enjoy today: The work in microbiology by Louis Pasteur. (Chaptal lived from 1756 to 1832 and Pasteur lived from 1822 to 1895.) Chaptal was, nonetheless,

Making Fortified Wine

The word “fortified” is prohibited on commercial wine labels in the United States. Yet we are surrounded by a fascinating array of fortified wines when we visit a good wine shop. Fortified

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