Writer: WineMaker Staff

Can I use a fish aquarium as a fermenter?

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Dear Wine Wizard, Could I make wine in an aquarium or would the glue cause a problem? Dean Mehrkens Thief River Falls, Minnesota Wine Wizard replies: “This is the dawning of the

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Can I add yeast to Mountain Dew or Sprite to make it into a “wine”?

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Dear Wine Wizard, Can I add yeast to Mountain Dew or Sprite to make it into a “wine”? Dean Mehrkens Thief River Falls, Minnesota Wine Wizard replies: Whoa. Sprite or Mountain Dew?

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If a yeast packet says it makes 1-5 gallons (3.8-19L) of wine, what would be the difference between using it for 1 gallon or for 5? Will using it for 1 gallon give the wine a higher alcohol content or yeastier taste?

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Dear Wine Wizard, If a yeast packet says it makes 1–5 gallons (3.8–19 L) of wine, what would be the difference between using it for 1 gallon or for 5? Will using


What is your opinion of enzymes added to wine to improve color, mouthfeel and flavor?

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Dear Wine Wizard, Lallzyme EX is a specially-formulated enzyme that supposedly yields improved color intensity, greater mouthfeel and enhanced fruity, floral and spicy flavors in red wine. Have you ever heard of

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Is there a way to stop corks from leaking?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I recently made my first batch of white Zinfandel from a kit. I followed the directions and it’s coming along fine. I bottled and used synthetic corks in the


Weird Wines & Fish Tanks: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, My friends have been asking me weird winemaking questions. I can’t answer them. Can you? If a yeast packet says it makes 1–5 gallons (3.8–19 L) of wine, what

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Picking the Proper Wine Yeast: Tips from the Pros

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Stephen Smith attended wine appreciation classes at Denver University in 1982–84, winemaking seminars at the New Mexico Wine and Vine Society in Albuquerque from 1984 to the present, and extension courses at

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I was thinking of adding oak chips in cheesecloth to a gallon carboy of red Zinfandel for one month; any experience with this?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I was thinking of adding oak chips in cheesecloth to a gallon carboy of red Zinfandel for one month; any experience with this? Pierre Desocio Syracuse, New York Wine

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Can you remove excess sulfite from a batch of wine?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I had a great Riesling going this vintage, but now I’ve stuffed it up. I nursed it along until the last racking, when I seem to have put in


Grapevine Diseases

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One of the trickiest parts of being a good viticulturist is learning to deal with grapevine diseases. The literature on the subject is exhaustive in its breadth and complexity — and exhausting


Delestage Fermentation: Techniques

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As an enophile, I enjoy almost every type and style of wine. However, my true love is — and always has been — big, bold, oak-aged reds, the type built for the


Leaking Corks & Special Enzymes: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard, I recently made my first batch of white Zinfandel from a kit. I followed the directions and it’s coming along fine. I bottled and used synthetic corks in the

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Making Blueberry Wine: Tips from the Pros

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Two pros offer advice to make a great blueberry wine at home.


Do you have any suggestions for a wine that came out too “hot” with a higher than expected alcohol content?

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Dear Wine Wizard: Last fall I made wine from Petite Sirah grapes that were extremely sweet. I used Premier Cuvée yeast, which happened to be high in alcohol tolerance. This yielded a

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My wine has some kind of flies buzzing around the must. Do I need to throw this batch out?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I am following the recipe for tomato wine from the August-September 2002 issue. The recipe says to loosely cover the must in the primary fermenter with a plastic sheet.

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Wrecked Riesling & Adding Oak: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard: I had a great Riesling going this vintage, but now I’ve stuffed it up. I nursed it along until the last racking, when I seem to have put in

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Is filtering good or bad for your wine?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I have read several sources that discourage the filtering (at 0.45 microns or less) of wine prior to bottling. They argue that flavors are stripped away by the filter.


Can I add grape juice in place of acid blend to my wine?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I am considering making a five-to-six gallon batch of peach or apricot wine. A friend said I can add a can of white grape-juice concentrate (100% fruit) in place

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Fruit Flies & Hot Petite Sirah: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard: I am following the recipe for tomato wine from the August-September 2002 issue. The recipe says to loosely cover the must in the primary fermenter with a plastic sheet.

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2002 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition Winners!

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Winners from the 2002 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition

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I have some kind of grapes growing in my backyard, but have no clue as to what kind they might be. Is there a way to figure it out?

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Dear Wine Wizard: I have some kind of grapes growing in my backyard, but have no clue as to what kind they might be. Is there a way to figure it out?


Concentrate vs. Acid Blend & Filtering Concerns: Wine Wizard

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Dear Wine Wizard: I am considering making a five-to-six gallon batch of peach or apricot wine. A friend said I can add a can of white grape-juice concentrate (100% fruit) in place

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Art on a Bottle: The 2002 WineMaker Label Contest Winners!

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View the winning labels of the 2002 WineMaker Label Contest.

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Do fluted bottles serve any useful purpose other just for looks?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I am by training and inclination an environmentalist, as well as an avid wine, cider, and beer maker. Whenever I buy commercial beverages — which is not often given

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What would happen if you added a vanilla bean to red wine in hopes of getting some vanilla flavors traditionally given off by oak barrels?

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Dear Wine Wizard, I often hear about the vanilla flavors in red wines. I know that those flavors are derived over time from aging in oak barrels. I wanted to know what

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