Resources for Becoming a Professional Winemaker

Resources for Becoming a Professional Winemaker

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/bonus.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSMany home wine makers either start out wanting to go pro or decide to go that way soon after making their first few batches. After recording the last podcast with Holly Wells and John Garlich of BookCliff Vineyards Holly stuck around to share some great resources for those wanting to go down the path of professional winemaking. Holly’s Wine Industry Resources UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Jobs (VENJobs) Winejobs.com WineBusiness.com Walla Walla Enology & Viticulture Program Wine & Spirit Education Trust “If you’re passion is there just follow it and it will take you great places” – Holly Wells Things To Think About Before Going Pro Becoming a professioal winemaker sounds inherently awesome when you first think about it. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to make wines? The upside to professional winemaking could be amazing. Great wines, going to festivals, hosting tastings and club dinners. What’s not to like? Aside from these amazing benefits and the fun you could have as a professional winemaker there are, however, a few things you should think about though before going too far down this rabbit hole. Here are a few truths you’ll have to grapple with: You’re no longer making wine for fun but to put food on the table. Experimenting with your wine all of the sudden becomes very risky. You may have to make wines that sell and not only wines you personally enjoy. Professional quality wines require attention to detail and professional grade equipment. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these. The very definition of a “professional winemaker” is someone who gets paid to make wine. Their livelyhood is dependent producing good wine and being able to sell it. Making wine is one thing. Convincing people to shell out their hard earned pay for your wine is another challenge altogether. Also consider that your table is not the only one you’re putting food on. Most wineries have employees whose income is dependent upon how well your wine is made and how well it sells. If either falls through they will be looking to you. This brings us to the third thing to think about… you may have to make what sells and not necessarilly only what you like to make. Sure, you may have a following of customers that will love a good jalapeno peach chardonnay. But chances are that’s not what the majority of people walking into the tasting room are looking for. You may cater to whomever you please if it’s your winery, however, you do have to undstand the sales potential of different wines before you commit to making hundreds or thousands of gallons of it. As John pointed out during the interview in episode 15, you may have to do a bit of studying or get some training to go from making wine at home to making wine at the scale required for small wineries. It’s also a good idea to brush up on the legal requirements regarding sulfites, sweetening, labeling, etc. None of this is meant to scare...

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Wine Making Chemistry with Bookcliff Vineyards – WMA015

Wine Making Chemistry with Bookcliff Vineyards – WMA015

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma015.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS Wine Making Chemistry with BookCliff Vineyards Wine chemistry is a complex subject. There are so many things to measure, balance, and think about that it’s hard to know when to do what and decide what’s really important. To help us navigate this complex subject Holly Wells and John Garlich of BookCliff Vineyards have come on the show to walk us though the entire wine making process… from a chemistry perspective. We start with the grapes on the vine and discuss when to harvest and how to tell if the time is right. From there we cover each and every step along the way up to bottling your wine. Even if you are primarily a kit winemaker you’ll learn a lot from this interview. John was a home winemaker before he started BookCliff Vineyards and he shares a lot of tips that will help winemakers of any scale. To learn more about BookCliff Vineyards please visit: http://bookcliffvineyards.com/ Also, the BookCliff Vineyards’ Facebook page can be found here and here is a link to their Twitter profile.   Resources & Products Mentioned Refractometer pH meter* analytical scale (measures 1/100th of a gram, if you can find it John recommends 1/1000th of a gram accuracy) Holly’s resources available through the Core Enology Group Resource Page   *Digital pH meters require several calibration reagents as well as storage and cleaning solutions. Be sure to read the section on recommended additional products for more...

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Interview with Winemaker Jason Phelps – WMA014

Interview with Winemaker Jason Phelps – WMA014

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma014.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSInterview with Winemaker Jason Phelps The best way to improve upon a skill, winemaking included, is through personal experience. The second best way is by learning through others experiences. In this episode I’ve got a great interview with winemaker Jason Phelps where he shares many lessons learned through his ten years of wine making experience. You’ll hear about wines that went well and won medals, wines that didn’t go so well and had to be poured out, and what he learned by competing and judging winemaking competitions. So grab a notebook and a glass of wine for this episode. You’ll learn a lot but you’ll also be challenged to consider how you view your wine and how you make it. I know I came away from this interview needing to reflect on some of my own views and reconsider what direction to take my own wines. If you’d like to learn more about Jason check out his website, Ancient Fire Wine. Listener Questions Jason was kind enough to weigh in on several questions that came in from members of the Winemaker’s Academy Facebook group (email me for more information on that). How would you go about doing wine making bench trials? How do you recommend making wine without sulfites? Do you have any methods for reducing sulfur smells in a finished wine? Please let Jason and I know what you thought of the episode in the comments...

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Winemaking Corkers – WMA013

Winemaking Corkers – WMA013

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma013.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSWinemaking Corkers There are many different styles of corkers out there. What differentiates them from one another, beyond price, is how easy it is to insert a cork. Smaller, less expensive corkers are convenient for those reasons, however, they often don’t provide the mechanical advantage needed to make it an “easy to use” corker. In this episode you’ll get introduced to the most popular amateur wine making corkers. I’ve covered how they work, how much they cost, and which ones require the use of a mallet to use. Additionally, you’ll get introduced the both the mechanical and vacuum corkers that small wineries use. Corkers Mentioned During The Main Topic Mini Corker Plunger Corker Dual Lever Corker (Matt’s recommended corker for beginners) Gilda Compression Hand Corker Colonna Capper & Corker Floor Corkers (Matt’s recommended corker for amateur wine maker’s making larger batches) Large Format Corkers Mechanical & Vacuum Corkers Listener & Reader Questions Answered To make a sweet wine do I just add sugar to taste? After two months my banana wine is not clearing. What should I do? Should I put my fruit in a blender to extract more flavor? My wine was clear when I bottled it but now it’s cloudy. What happened? What is the equation for calculating alcohol content? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned How Long Do Primary and Secondary Fermentations Last? Wine Alcohol Content Calculator Specific Gravity Temperature Correction Calculator Photograph by: Jameson...

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How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma012.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSBottling Your Wine Bottling is the final step in the wine making process (aside from aging). If done correctly your wine will be protected from oxygen and spoilage preserving your wine to enjoy for possible years to come. In this episode I will go through the entire bottling process. The first thing covered is determining when to bottle which is equally as important as knowing how to bottle your wine. From there you’ll learn about cleaning and sanitizing bottles, back sweetening, bottle filler options, and much more. Listener & Reader Questions Answered What can I use to degas my wine? Is there a time to just stop degassing and proceed to the next step? Will potassium metabisulfite protect my wine from a fruit fly that landed in my wine? How much dry yeast should I use to make my wine? Why do we put water in the air lock? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned Wine Whip How to Use a Degassing Tool Wine Gas Getter Plastic Bottle Filler Multi-Bottle Filler Vacuum Bottle Filler Zork Closures Winemakers Academy Podcast Episode 11 Matt’s Wine Here are some pictures from the wine I’m making and discussing in the “Matt’s Wine” segment of the show. This is a raisin wine that is currently in secondary fermentation.    As you can see there is some sediment in the bottom of the airlock which was a result of the fermentation foam getting up into the airlock. Not a good situation. The water in this airlock could be contaminated and if it comes into contact with my wine may spoil it...

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How Wine Clarifiers Work – WMA011

How Wine Clarifiers Work – WMA011

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma011.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSHow Wine Clarifiers Work There are a lot of clarifiers out there. But how do they work? Is there one that is better than the rest These questions and more will be addressed in this podcast episode. While not always completely necessary clarifiers have become a key component of the modern wine maker’s repertoire of tools used to craft a quality wine. You do have to be careful with them though because if you over do it you could strip out more than just the cloudiness. The trick is to use just enough to get the job done and no more. Questions Answered What does bentonite really do? How do I dry my racking tubes? What would be the consequences of mixing both French oak and American oak in the secondary? My wine’s titratable acidity dropped. What could cause this? What yeast strain should I use to make dandelion wine? Should I top off my kit wine or not? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned A Guide to Fining – Washington State University A Clearer Understanding of Fining Agents – Winemaker Magazine Interview with Pier Benci – Cellar Dwellers Podcast Understanding Wine Acidity – Winemaker’s Academy Yeast Strains Chart – Winemaker Magazine Winexpert Instructions Memo Private Preserve Inert Gases Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook Stafidine Recipe (Greek Raisin Syrup) Photograph by: Domas...

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