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Home - Careful attention must be paid to fermentation to achieve great wine. We gathered experts from four different yeast laboratories to glean advice on selecting yeast strains, co-inoculation, optimal fermentation conditions, and more.

Avoiding Wine Kit Pitfalls - There are a lot of wine kits out there today, and their variety and quality is improving. Kits wines are designed to be easy to make, but they’re not foolproof. Even kit wines can go awry if you overlook the basics. Here are ten ways to make sure you produce the best wine possible from your kit. 1. Use the Right Equipment Some basic winemaking equipment is similar to cooking utensils or ...

What can I do to make my wine more dry and less sweet ... More experienced winemakers than yourself have spent eons trying to ponder the conundrum of a stuck fermentation. If you wanted the wine to be dry and it ended up sweet, it means that your yeast beasties, for whatever reason, could not ferment the sugar in their environment completely to alcohol. Here are some potential causes of a stuck or sluggish fermentation and some ideas on preventing ...

Acetobacter Problems - Well, it seems like you have been paid a visit by a colony of Acetobacter, aka acetic acid bacteria. They love air, eat alcohol, and turn it into carbon dioxide and vinegar. Not fun. The biggest issue is that no matter what, once you’ve got them and they’ve produced a certain amount of acetic acid, (aka “VA” or volatile acidity) there’s little you can do to remove it from your wine.

How long should I age wines made from fruit other than ... The most general guidelines the Wine Wiz can give you for aging wines from fruits, vegetables and herbs are these: Always cellar any wine at least six months before opening the first bottle and try to consume within three or four years. Many fruit and vegetable wines lack the natural acidity, alcohol content, tannin and phenolic concentration of grape-based wines, all of which contribute ...

I've read you can use bananas to give body to thin wines ... Home winemakers use bananas, both dried and fresh, as a source of perceptible sweetness and body. Both effects are derived from the complex polysaccharides (that’s a fancy name for big, long-chain sugars) that bananas contain. By cooking the bananas or by using dried bananas (as many recipes specify), you’re taking advantage of these sugars to the maximum extent possible.

What would happen if you added a vanilla bean to red wine ... The Wine Wizard replies: It’s illegal for commercial winemakers to add anything non-Vitis vinifera to their table wine and still have it be labeled as such. However, I’m sure that many an enterprising home winemaker has done what you suggest. Indeed, since vanilla (natural or artificial) is a lovely flavor and aromatic component of many foods and beverages, it makes perfect sense to ...

Making Maple Wine - Maple sap is a great source of natural sugar and certainly qualifies as home winemaking material. What is less certain, as you have found out, is how much of those subtle maple aromas and flavors will stick around in a finished wine. I’m glad you’re experimenting with adding acid. Like you’ve discovered, maple syrup just doesn’t have enough natural acid on its own to create a balanced ...

A Corker Conundrum - I hope I’m assuming correctly, but I’m imagining that you’ve got the smaller, lighter-weight red metal corker with adjustable spring-loaded bottle base and plastic jaws, sometimes called a “Portuguese” corker. These are decent corkers for a home winemaker with not much volume to bottle, but they can have their issues. Before I get into that, let’s talk about your corks.

Using Tartaric Acid - I absolutely recommend that you bring your TA up and your pH down after MLF is complete. This is best accomplished by tartaric acid, because wine bacteria will not consume tartaric acid; what you put in your wine will stay in your wine. This will certainly help with aging and color stability because both of these things are compromised by wines that have too high of a pH.

Oak Chip Recommendations For Chardonnay - First, make sure that the portion left over, i.e. the portion you are not bottling now and will be adding more oak to, will be stored in a completely full (or “topped up”) container. This is critical to protect wine, especially white wines, from the ravages of oxygen and aerophilic spoilage organisms. Now, on to how much more oak you should add and how much time it will take to notice the ...

Adding Oak: Tips from the Pros - Winemaker John Fletcher of Hillside Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada offers his thoughts on adding oak to your wine: Oaking Hillside Wines Many of the Hillside Estate wines are aged in 45-gallon French or American oak barrels, which are small by commercial standards. Some wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Sémillon, are fermented in ...

Post-Fermentation Acid Adjustments - I would only adjust with tartaric acid, and not an “acid blend” that contains either malic or citric acids. Both of the latter can be fermented by organisms in the bottle. On the other hand, tartaric acid will stay put after you adjust it. Wine is especially rife with bacteria that will very happily eat malic acid, spitting out carbon dioxide gas, possibly-offensive off-odors (like ...

I make mostly sweet fruit wines; what is the best yeast ... Choosing yeast I am new to the art of winemaking and have come to realize that there are many varieties of yeast available. I make mostly sweet fruit wines such as strawberry, watermelon, peach, etc. and was wondering what the best yeast might be for these types of wine. Josh Hemmendinger Park Hills, Missouri You want to know what my standard, go-to, never-fail, keeps-most-wines-happy yeast is?

Building Diamond Bin Wine Racks - Gum arabic can do so many great things for your wines, from improving mouthfeel, making a thin wine taste fuller bodied, rounding out rough edges of grape tannins, increasing persistence of bubbles in sparkling wine, prolonging the action of metatartaric acid, to treating iron-induced oxidation problems. With such a wide scope of impressive credentials, what’s not to like?

2021 WineMaker Conference - SAVE THE DATES: July 15-18, 2021 San Luis Obispo, California COVID-19 Update for WineMaker Conference: Due to the quickly evolving status of COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our upcoming sold-out 2020 WineMaker Conference until July 15-18, 2021. The event will still be in the same exact location in San Luis Obispo, California. Our 2021 program will feature the same ...

Simple Sulfite Wine Chemistry - There is no denying: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) can be a source of headaches for winemakers — even without drinking any wine. Why does SO2 continue to be such a perplexing and confusing topic? All too often I am asked to help out with problems that seem completely unrelated to sulfite additions, though these are at the root of many problems when not used correctly or at the wrong time in winemaking.

Fining Fruit Wines - The short answer is that yes, I would absolutely cut down on the amount of clarifying agent you use if you don’t have enough wine volume for the recommended 5 gallon (19 L) batch listed on the packet. Because I don’t know what is in your “pre-measured packet,” it’s hard for me to get into express chemical details of what such little packets might do to your wine if added in excess ...

Natural Fining For White and Rosé Wines - Well, an old-timer winemaker I used to work with would say, “The most natural fining agent for any wine is time.” What he meant was that with time, solids fall out, proteins eventually coagulate and fall to the bottom of the aging vessel and tartrates reach an equilibrium so they aren’t in excess and big crystals will precipitate as well. The problem with this approach when referring to ...

I made a mead that has a sour taste. Will this mellow out ... Congratulations for tackling one of the most interesting and esoteric of brews, the braggot (also spelled braggott or bragawd). A beverage that combines what some would say the best of what mead and ale have to offer, braggott is a traditional Welsh drink made from malt, hops, honey and spices like ginger and rosemary. As I flip through my recipe books for reference, it seems like most recipes ...

Top 100 Wine Kits of 2020 - This past August, experienced judges evaluated a total of 767 wine kit entries as part of the overall 2020 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition that had a grand total of 2,519 entries. This large collection of kit entries was sent into the competition from across North America. The 767 wine kit entries were entered into over 30 different categories and represented a broad selection ...

Metatartaric Acid In Wine Kit - Your question about metatartaric acid is a good one and one that brings to mind similar confusion and questions many of us have when faced with a litany of fining agents (and specific directions about how and when to use them). It sometimes seems like we can wing it, skip or combine steps or eliminate some of those packets and vials altogether.

First-Year Vineyard Care - Planting a vineyard takes time, effort and planning. But your work is not over once the vines are in the ground. In order to have usable grapes by your third year, you’ll need to carefully manage the growth of your vines. Goals for the First Year The first year of vine growth is meant to establish a strong and vigorous root system and build stores of nutrients to hasten growth in subsequent ...

Home Glycol Cooling Systems - Glycol cooling systems have been fixtures in commercial wineries for many years. Often using large, permanently mounted refrigeration compressors, they circulate a chilled solution of propylene glycol through pipes arranged throughout the cellar. At each cooled tank, connections allow for the circulation of the chilled glycol through a jacket surrounding the wine or must.

Finding Ideal SO2 Levels - After reading a good deal of literature (including your book, The Winemaker’s Answer Book) there seems to be a plethora of opinions regarding the amount of SO 2 required at different stages and varying pH levels. I find much consistency with the “general” rules for maintaining adequate levels of SO 2, but when searching for more specific information, I find that there is a wider range of ...

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.

How do you sterile filter your wine? - The short answer to your question is: 0.45 micron nominal filter pads are the industry standard for “sterile” filtration. These pads prevent all yeast and bacteria from getting through. So, if you want to be as certain as possible, it’s best to filter with a 0.45 micron nominal pad. This will ensure that you take out the maximum amount of unwanted material. The 0.5 micron filter sheet is ...

Making Riesling: Tips from the Pros - Winemaker Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, California goes back to his early roots by offering his thoughts on making Riesling. Back in 1973, he and his wife made their very first homemade batch – 5 gallons (19 L) of Reisling – officially launching them into the world of winemaking. Tips on Riesling In that first foray into making wine, Rosenblum says he took the grapes to ...

Stuck Fermentations - Unfortunately, there are hundreds of possible causes of stuck and sluggish fermentations, and sometimes, even after careful investigation, we still can never understand what the cause may have been. With Mother Nature throwing us a different curve ball every year, add in the fact that the fruit always has a slightly different nutritional profile and you’re always making wine against a ...

Making Sangiovese: Tips from the Pros - Sangiovese is primarily associated with wines from Italy, especially from the Tuscany region. However, there are also a number of vineyards in the New World growing Sangiovese. The 2012 California Grape Crush Report shows winemakers in the state crushed 9,400 tons of Sangiovese. Here are two pros who contributed to that number. Steven Kirby is the Director of Winemaking at BARRA of Mendocino ...

Measuring Brix in Fermentation - Like most everything in winemaking, the glib answer is, “It depends.” The real answer, however, is much more complex and as you intimate, experience can play a large part in fine-tuning your sugar-measuring schedule during fermentation. During the alcoholic fermentation process, yeast cells convert the sugar in grapes (or other fruit) into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

The Mobile “Wall-Mount” Wine Opener - Footnote: Post 2020 WineMaker International Amateur Winemaking Competition, I can say that without a doubt this design was a success. Each opened over 1,200 wines each and besides a few temperamental corks, they operated flawlessly and corkscrews are still like new. I had to retighten the flange to the pipe connection each day, but that was the only maintenance required.

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