Photograph by Hendrik Schmidt/dpa/Corbis
Art or Science?
Making wine is an art, though Taybi, the home winemaker in El Sorito, Calif., says the process can get a boost from science. He uses testing equipment and keeps logs from prior years on such things as the kind of yeast he used, the temperature at which the wine was fermented and how much oak was added. Still, things can go wrong. "We had an oxidized merlot once," says Taybi. "We turned it into port."
$11: Triple Scale Hydrometer and jar -- oakbarrel.com
$53: Hanna Checker Digital pH Meter (to measure sugar and acid levels) -- eckraus.com
$15: Glass wine thief to sample and test -- oakbarrel.com
$20: Vinometer to determine alcohol content -- letsdowine.com
$2,457: Running Tally