Midwest Veraison by Dileep Gangolli

Progress ain't always Progress

One of my favorite wine writers is Alice Feiring who is a big fan of the natural wine movement and is willing to give unusual wines a chance when most critics like Robert Parker want to stick with the big, heavy wines that made California and Bordeaux famous. Feiring recently published a new book on the wines of Georgia (not the state in the US but the country in Eastern Europe!). It deals with how wine is made in ancient ways and 180 degrees opposite of how most commercial wine is made. One of the most interesting aspects of Georgian wine is that it is fermented in tanks made of a type of clay called amphora. These vats allow the wine to microxidize in a similar manner to oak barrels but

Walk on the Wild Side

One of the hot topics in the wine making world is the use of natural or indigenous yeast to cause the fermentation process of sugar to alcohol. There are two approaches to working with grapes after harvest to begin fermentation. The most popular way to start fermentation is by inoculating the grape must with a manufactured yeast. This is popular for many reasons including allowing the wine maker to create flavor and aroma profiles through the use of specific yeasts, causing faster fermentation times, and most importantly guaranteeing the spark that causes fermentation to start. A constant nightmare for wine makers during harvest season is the possibility that after all the work during spri

Disaster in WI

A few weeks ago I wrote about the danger of early bud break. Bud break is when grape vines, after winter dormancy, start to grow again when weather warms and spring begins. All good right? Not so fast. In the Midwest, the biggest danger for vineyard managers is the threat that after bud break, there will be a cold spell and killing frost. When that happens, the buds will die and it becomes a disaster since the entire growing season is destroyed. That is what happened this week up in Wisconsin. One of the country's oldest wineries, Wollersheim Winery, experienced a freeze and has lost up to 80% of its anticipated crop for this coming season. The folks at Wollersheim import grapes as well

The Concept of Natural Wines

Natural Wines are getting more attention these days since consumers are seeking products that are local, pure, and unadulterated. So what exactly is a natural wine? The concept of natural wine comes from the belief that wine is made "out in the vineyard" and not created through manipulation in the wine cellar. Modern wine making has become very industrialized. Most cheap wines (and even some expensive wines) are brought to market through a manufactured process that may include oak additives, micro oxidation (to reduce time in barrels), adjusting for acidity levels, and the generous use of sulphites to allow for transportation and storage on retailers shelves. Natural wine making is just th

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