Writer: Chik Brenneman

73 result(s).

LaCrosse or La Crosse? True diversity in a grape

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Elmer Swenson helped revolutionize the greater wine world with his cold-hardy grape breeding program. One such grape varietal that emerged from all his work was LaCrosse, with five species of grapes in its heritage. Learn about this grape made popular in colder climates — for good reasons.

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Rosy Roussanne: A grape that doesn’t mind a little heat

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In its homeland in the south of France, Roussanne grapes love some heat . . . probably one reason that it’s found a new home in the Texas Hill Country. Learn about this white grape that can stand up to being a varietal wine when conditions are right or blended with others.

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Primitivo: The early-ripening varietal

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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.

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Baco Noir: The emigration of a French hybrid

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Originally bred in southwestern France, Baco Noir is a French-American hybrid whose acreage has declined in its native country, but has since emigrated to American soil. Learn about this grape that has found success in some cooler-climate North American vineyards.

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 20, 2019.


Pinot Meunier: The forgotten grape of Champagne

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When it comes to the grapes found in Champagne, most casual wine drinkers can point to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but Pinot Meunier is often left off that list. Find out about the forgotten grape of Champagne, its history, and why you may want to give it a try if you can.

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Foxy Concord: Finding the sweet spot with this American classic

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The grape of North America, Concord has come to dominate the grape juice and jelly markets, but making a solid wine with it can require a little more care than most vinifera grapes. Chik Brenneman digs deep to come up with a solid game plan to making a worthy wine from this grape variety.

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Get groovy with Grüner Veltliner

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Towards the end of the fall 2018 harvest I was looking for a little respite in my calendar, and I came across an appointment scheduled for a Friday night in late November

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Beyond Beaujolais: Get acquainted with Gamay Noir

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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com 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

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Riesling Revisited

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Riesling is one of the noble grapes of Germany and can produce a wide array of complex white wines. Learn some of the key elements and techniques that winemakers can utilize when crafting wine from these grapes.

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Stable Sémillon

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Sémillon is a grape variety that is used to produce some of the great white wines of Bordeaux. Learn about what makes this grape so versatile and one that breaks the conception that white wine should be consumed young.

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Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 14, 2018.

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Trebbiano Family Tree

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Grape descriptors and the region of origin were often used in the Old World in the naming of a grape. In the case of the Trebbiano family of grapes, this was indeed the case. Unfortunately what they didn’t quite know is the family is much more diverse than just a few varietals.

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Noble Nebbiolo: Time to raise it from the fog

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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.

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Making Chardonnay

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White wine Case Study Chardonnay is one of the world’s most popular wine grapes, as evidenced by widespread plantings in France, Australia, South Africa, South America and the United States. The grape


Making Cabernet Sauvignon

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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

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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.

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Norton: New World nobility

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The experts surmise Norton is likely a cross between V. aestivalis and an unknown V. vinifera species. There is possibly some contribution of V. labrusca.

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Verdelho: More than Madeira

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Verdelho is the most widely planted grape on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

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Tempranillo: Spanish nobility

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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.

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Colombard: Crisp and versatile

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Despite its innocuous character, Colombard is a good choice for home winemakers, as it is easy to work with and allows for a wide scope of techniques and styles.

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Sauvignon Blanc: The ‘wild white”

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Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of France, and people started cultivating it as a wine grape starting sometime in the 19th century.


Grenache: An international blender

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

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Riesling: German nobility

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To this day, I consider that Riesling vintage one of the best wines I ever made, and I wish I could find a bottle or two in my cellar to taste what I had predicted to be a very graceful aging wine.

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Merlot: Noble grape of Bordeaux

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

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