Wine Experts

Winemaking Tips: Blending, Fining, and Filtering

It’s almost a cliché – the image of the winemaker sitting in some kind of laboratory perfecting the blend for a final wine. In truth, it’s much more hands on. Wine is made in the cellar, after all, using tried and true methods and careful handling.

For the commercial winery, the selections of barrels for blending can be very arbitrary – a final quantity taking precedence over a final quality. The micro-winery has a much greater incentive to strive for quality, having limited resources from which to create a final blend.  

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An attorney by day and a full time wine enthusiast, Loren focuses on Italian wines for IntoWine.com

Recent Articles for Wine Experts

Which California Cabernet Sauvignons Deserve "First Growth" Status?

In 1855, the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris to showcase all that was good in France.  Emperor Napoleon III requested the leading Bordeaux merchants to rank the best wines.  The top wines were rated as First Growths.  Over the years, many people in the rest of the world have discussed what wines from their country would be First Growths.  I am often asked what I think the First Growths of California are.  It is an interesting conversation with lots of room for debate.

John Concannon of Concannon Vineyards - the IntoWine interview

John Concannon is the Fourth Generation Vintner at Concannon Vineyard, now celebrating its 131st Anniversary. Founded in 1883, Concannon is home of the Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 7, 8 and 11 which resulted from the highly successful, collaborative work between Jim Concannon and UC Davis in preparing for heat treatment cuttings from a single vine propagated from Cabernet Sauvignon that John’s great-grandfather imported from Château Margaux in 1893. The Concannon Clones played a key role in helping California Cabernet achieve international recognition and are by far the most widely planted Cabernet Sauvignon clones in California. The winery is also home of “America’s First Petite Sirah” among other significant contributions which John has been intensively researching over the past several years. A tireless advocate of environmental stewardship and historic preservation within the vineyard and the Livermore Valley, some of John’s most energetic endeavors have been focused upon revitalizing the landmark winery while preserving its history and the estate’s historic sense of place.

Beaujolais Nouveau - The Wine List - November 2014

There is a wine phenomenon every November when the cry goes out:  Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!  For more information about this phenomenon, go here.   

Beaujolais Nouveau is a popular wine to serve at Thanksgiving for a few reasons.  First, they are prominently displayed on the store shelves at the same time people are shopping for their Thanksgiving groceries, 2) they are affordable wines that should cost less than $15 per bottle and can often be found for under $10, and 3) they match surprisingly well with Thanksgiving Turkey, cranberries and stuffing. 

I find most Beaujolai Nouveau falls in one of two groups.  They are either fun wines or wines that I wouldn’t drink.  A good Beaujolais Nouveau will have lots of cherry fruit, perhaps a bit of banana aromas and should be smooth and easy to drink.  Here are ten in the first group; wines that are fun, taste good and provide value.  There are others out there as well, but these are go-to wines for me.  One bit of caution, don’t buy too many.  These should be consumed by the end of the year.  The best thing about them is their freshness.

Crazy Superstitions and Rituals of Winemakers - Part I

It seems most everyone has some kind of superstition: a lucky hat, the old stand-by the rabbit’s foot, a certain ritual before a specific event. We humans are curious creatures of habit and redundancy. Winemakers too have superstitions they employ during harvest to planting to verasion. So who in the U.S. is doing what, and when, and more importantly why? We do not judge, for these intrepid winemakers are doing great work so we can have great juice.