Writer: Chik Brenneman

99 result(s).


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.

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.

Groovy Gewürztraminer

While it may not look like a white wine grape, Gewürztraminer is well known to produce world-class white wines. Learn some best practices to work with this grape varietal that can thrive when grown in cooler climates.

Rooted in History: Craft Your Own Alsatian-Style Wines

The Alsace Valley produces some of the world’s finest wines. Get pointers on making wines like the Alsatians.


A grape variety that has recently garnered a following thanks to its tannic structure and ability to retain acidity in warm climates, Graciano was traditionally a blending grape. But when made into a varietal wine, it can show impressive complexity as well.

Cabernet Doré

A new flock of hybrid grape varieties in the market is turning heads, not only for their disease and cold tolerance in the vineyard, but also in the winery for the qualities that they can carry to the bottle. Meet Cabernet Doré.


With its home along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, this white grape is starting to find its way to the U.S. for good reason. Learn about the history, viticultural tips, and winemaking styles of Vermentino grapes.


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.

Notably Norton

A grape with a proud following regionally, Norton has roots that remain shrouded in a fog. Learn about its past, how to best tend to it in the vineyard, and bring out its bright qualities in the winery.

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman that took place on November 30, 2022.

Verdant Verdejo

Spain’s fifth most planted white wine grape, Verdejo, enjoys warm climates while being able to retain some acidity. Learn the merits of this grape from the Iberian Peninsula and how to make the best wines with it.

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.

Classic Catawba: America’s first true wine grape

Some people have called Zinfandel “America’s grape,” others say it should be Concord. Chik Brenneman is here to make the case for the first true North American wine grape variety: Catawba.

Cayuga White: Get hooked on its feeling

A hybrid grape that came out of Cornell University’s breeding program in the 1970s, Cayuga White has found great success while being made into a wide array of wine styles. Learn about its qualities plus a recipe to craft your own at home.

Malvasia Bianca: A Greek grape that has gotten around

A grape of Mediterranean origins, Malvasia grapes spread throughout the region under the umbrella name. Get the scoop on this unusual family of grapes and the variety brought to North America under the title Malvasia Bianca.

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.

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 23, 2021.

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.

Flexible Frontenac: Making a case for this hybrid

Scattered throughout the Upper Midwest and Rockies, Frontenac wines are making waves as winemakers learn to coax a lot of flavor from this red grape. Chik Brenneman offers several tips and tricks to working with this hybrid varietal.

The Illustrious Chardonnay: Fine-tuning the classic

The king of the white wines, Chardonnay can be expressed in a wide array of styles. Chik Brenneman takes readers on a journey through this grape’s story and tips to creating his favorite version of wine from Chardonnay grapes.

Bold Brianna: A strong and healthy grower

Elmer Swenson’s grape breeding program has had a profound effect on the North American wine scene. One such grape to come from his program is Brianna, a grape that required an estimated 93 crosses to produce. Learn about this grape’s heritage as well as how to best work with it.

Melon De Bourgogne: Or Muscadet or just plain Melon

More commonly associated by the wine it produces, Melon de Bourgogne is the grape varietal behind Muscadet wines and the sur lie aging technique. But its mystique doesn’t stop there. Learn more about this old grape varietal known by many names.

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.

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 19, 2020.

Grenache Blanc: Some lessons from the Old World

Grenache Blanc is a grape from the northwestern region of Spain and, as the name implies, has evolved from Grenache Noir. Chik Brenneman provides instructions on making this grape shine, starting in the vineyard and taking it through to bottle.

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