ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there a kind of “wine concentration” in liquid form which can be used to make wine? Is there a better name for this kind of stuff?

—Nicole, Ontario

Dear Nicole,

Sure. Many home winemakers use grape concentrate to make wine, and it works pretty well, especially if you’re just learning about the art of fermentation. It’s also super-convenient because it’s available year-round, not just at harvest time. Look for “grape concentrate” at your fermentation supply store or on the Internet.

Because it’s not the same as using fresh grapes, wines made from grape concentrate tend to be simple and on the sweet side, meant for early consumption. Turning grapes into a syrupy concentrate usually means they’ve been cooked for a long time, which isn’t the case in commercial winemaking.

Speaking of commercial winemaking, vintners are also allowed to add grape concentrate to their wines, typically to supplement color or sweetness levels. Winemakers don’t usually brag about it, but when it’s used, it’s at levels of tenths of a percent, and typically more for the bargain wine level than for higher-end wines.

—Dr. Vinny


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