Grape Breeding and Enology

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Welcome to the Grape Breeding and Enology project website!

Located at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, we conduct research in the Department of Horticultural Science and at the Horticultural Research Center.  Our focus is on grapevine cultivar development which includes: wine grapes, table grape varieties, and ornamentals that survive and thrive the cold-climate conditions.  We also focus on understanding the mechanisms of disease and pest resistance so that we incorporate these traits as a way to improve sustainability for Minnesota growers.  In addition to developing grapes, we focus on developing and teaching enology best practices for cold-hardy grapes.

Wine maker's nightmare:  Re-fermentation and unstable sweet wines, and how to avoid.

Drew Horton, Enology Specialist

Matt Clark, Assistant Professor


No doubt about it, one of the worst things that can happen with a wine is re-fermentation in the bottle. Instead of a beautifully-colored wine with brilliant clarity, you discover a once-perfect wine has become cloudy and bubbly, or even worse, numerous "bottle bombs" are exploding in the cellar or on winery or retail shelves, or at the least, corks are pushing  out of the bottle. This is a disaster.

Volatile Acidity in Wine Making

Volatile Acidity in Wine Making

Drew Horton and Matthew Clark
Dept. of Horticulture, University of Minnesota


Volatile Acidity, or "VA", is caused by a type of bacterial spoilage which produces large amounts Acetic acid (vinegar) which is a serious wine fault, the metabolization of acetic acid and alcohol (ethanol) can produce ethyl acetate which smells like nail-polish remover and is also a serious wine fault.


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