• What is wine?

    Wine Academy

    Wine is fermented fruit juice. Fermentation occurs when microorganisms called yeast metabolize the sugars in fruit juice, creating alcohol and flavor compounds. The yeast may occur naturally in the environment, or the winemaker might add commercially produced yeast

  • A short history of wine

    Wine Academy

    The oldest evidence of winemaking comes to us from the Caucasus region and the Middle East (where the present-day countries of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and Iraq intersect).

  • Winemaking

    Wine Academy

    Wine is not all one thing. Winemaking processes different from grape to grape, from region to region, from high-end to low-end, certainly from style to style. To break down this complicated subject at least a little bit, we will cover winemaking by dividing it into five g

  • World Wine Regions

    Wine Academy

    North America The United States     Prohibition of alcoholic beverages was repealed in the United States in 1933, but the effects are still felt—in federal wine labeling laws, in the marketplace, in the con

  • Wine and Health

    Wine Academy

      Moderate consumption of wine is widely thought to be “good for you,” decreasing the risk of heart problems, strokes, diabetes and cancer. Drink more than this and, so the conventional wisdom goes, the alcohol in the wine will have deleterious eff

  • Wine Chemistry

    Wine Academy

    Oxidation Oxidation occurs when a chemical compound loses electrons. Oxidation is considered beneficial in some winemaking circumstances, but excessive exposure to oxygen under the wrong circumstances can cause a wine to spoil. Oxidation sets in as

  • Viticulture

    Wine Academy

    The term “viticulture” refers to the art and science of growing grapes. Viticulture is a branch of horticulture. We use the term more specifically to refer to the agricultural production of wine grapes. Left to its own devices, a grapevine will snake it

  • Vine Diseases and Pests

    Wine Academy

    We have already covered phylloxera. Phylloxera might be the worst scourge ever to hit wine grapes, but it is by no means the only one. Vines are subject to attack from pests that range from deer to birds. We cover here the major fungal vine disease, several bacterial dise

  • Wine Environments

    Wine Academy

    a. Grapevines Need Temperate Climates Vines need long, warm periods during crucial flowering, fruit set and ripening periods After harvest, vines need to go dormant over the winter, so they can regenerate and marshal their nutrients for the next se

  • White Wine Grapes and Their Personalities

    Wine Academy

    What we call “white” wine grapes actually run from green to golden in color. We call these grapes and the wine they produce “white” for convenience. No prizes will be awarded for guessing which one we start with. a. Chardonnay: The Lady

  • Red Wine Grapes and Their Personalities

    Wine Academy

    We use the terms “black grapes” and “red grapes” interchangeably. In either case, these grapes produce what is commonly termed “red” wine. Red grapes vary immensely as to the climates they prefer, the acidity they bring to the table, an

  • Wine Grape Species

    Wine Academy

    Like all plants, we classify grapevines according to the system of taxonomy laid out by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Grapevines belong to the order called Vitales, the family called Vitaceae and the genus Vitis. The genus Vitis has about sixty different species

  • California Central Valley

    Wine Academy

    Shown in yellow on our California wine map, the flat Central Valley stretches more than 450 miles southeast to northwest through the center of the state. The flat, largely irrigated valley is about 40 to 60 miles wide. It features some of the most productive agricultural

  • Napa County

    Wine Academy

    Raw numbers often speak louder than refined wine: Napa county accounts for a full twenty percent of the dollar value of California’s wine grapes on just four percent of its volume.  Napa is so world renowned for its distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon that it

  • Sonoma County

    Wine Academy

    Sonoma is a patchwork quilt of wine appellations, several of which overlap. Visually, the lines formed by Sonoma’s AVA boundaries push down from the northwest to the southeast. We need to draw another important line that challenges this up/down statement, penciling

  • The Pacific Northwest – Oregon and Washington

    Wine Academy

    We tend to think of Washington and Oregon together, but the wine climates for the two states could not be more different. Even though Washington is further north than Oregon, the climate in its main wine producing regions is hotter than Oregon. As the topographical

  • Oregon Wine

    Wine Academy

    Oregon is the nation’s third largest producer of vinifera wine after California and Washington. Major wine grapes include Pinot Noir (more than half the state’s vineyard acreage), Pinot Gris (about 10% of acreage), Chardonnay (about 5%), Riesling, and Syrah.

  • Washington State

    Wine Academy

    Washington is the nation’s second largest wine producer (but it accounts for only one tenth the volume of California). Only one percent of Washington’s wine grapes grow west of the Cascades, although numerous wineries make their home in the Puget Sound area, m

  • Mexico

    Wine Academy

    The making of wine in Mexico dates back nearly five centuries to Hernando Cortés, the first conquistador. If Spain’s mission in the New World was to Christianize the natives and spread the faith, it needed sacramental wine. The wine, of cours

  • Australia

    Wine Academy

    These Aussie schoolchildren in the photo above, including the author’s granddaughter balancing on the rail in front, know to protect themselves from the unrelenting Australian sun. The country’s grapevines go out there without the benefit of hats. Australia be