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Making Master Vintner II, Rack and Roll, and I Feel Fine

Nothing brings a smile to my face like lots and lots of wine does. A few weeks ago I started ten Master Vintner Kits (as one does). It was time to do some racking. In order I was going to  Gather my equipmentSanitize my carboys, bungs, airlocks, racking hoses, hydrometer and test jarTest and record the specific gravity [...]

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The End of the Bottle: Kegging for Winemakers

The rare Colby salvaging bottlesKegs for Beer Beer on tap is an awesome advance for homebrewers. Instead of filling and capping four dozen 12-ounce bottles and then carefully storing them, the brewer racks their beer into a keg, hooks up a few lines and adjusts their gas pressure, and in no time they can pour off [...]

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Making Master Vintner

Life is like a box of wine juice. You never know what you're gonna getThey're Here!Master Vintner Launched its Winemaker's Reserve line of kits this month, and I was ecstatic. It's the first new wine kit introduced into the USA in a long time, and the very first one produced exclusively for a US company! That [...]

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Tasting Master Vintner® Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay

One of the fun things about curating Master Vintner® is making and drinking the wine. You can do all the labwork in the world, but the real analysis begins when you do all of your cellar work, age the wine, and then pull a bottle out for an in-depth analysis of its potential. When I first started [...]

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Airing Things Out - The "Why" of Headspace

That's the stuffNote: Making your own wine from a kit is pretty straightforward: the instructions are clear on what to do, and when to do it, and your friends at Master Vintner are always there to answer questions. But new winemakers are universally curious and thoughtful, wanting to know the 'why' behind the what and when. From [...]

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Mice and Men, Fruit and Flies

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley —Robert Burns Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.  —Groucho Marx Know Your Enemy Spring is coming and for winemakers that means a return to the cellar, checking carboys, doing rackings and making room for more wine. It also means the inevitable return of our sworn enemy, [...]

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Stirring Words

More stirring = more better Stirring is a Big Deal with kit winemaking, both at the beginning and on fining and stabilizing day. Very aggressive stirring is one of the procedural steps modified to accommodate kit winemaking to the extreme brevity of the usual 4/6/8 week production schedule. Mixing It Up Water and grape juice concentrate do not [...]

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No Matter How Long You Soak, You Still Have to Scrub

Never let your carboys get this dirtyCleanliness Is Next to Goodliness Nothing can spoil a batch faster than bacteria or wild yeast living on the remains of a previous effort. That’s why winemakers are always vigilant with rinsing bottles after they’re empty, and slosh sulfite around their equipment with great abandon. Keep your equipment and bottles free of debris and [...]

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Perception

Not Just Your MouthThere's an old saying in the restaurant industry that customers eat with their eyes. (You'd think this would make spicy food less appealing!) It is of course a metaphor for how perception informs reality: if you think something is going to taste good, then it will taste good to you. Seems clear [...]

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Why you need a Portuguese Floor Corker

CorkersThere are several types of corkers available. I recommend the Portuguese floor corker shown in the video. Hand-held corkers rely on human muscles to compress the cork and push it into the bottles. This makes them a bit more work, especially if you're not a big ogre like me.Floor corkers use levers and mechanical advantage [...]

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