3 Keys to a Creating a Useful Winemaking Log

3 Keys to a Creating a Useful Winemaking Log

Keeping a winemaking log is critically important of you’re to your growth as a winemaker. However, if you’re not logging useful information it won’t do you much good. Short and Long Term Benefits of Keeping a Winemaking Log In the short term a well kept winemaking log can help you keep the timing of each step straight. It also serves as a double check of how much of what additives you’ve put in and when you did it. The long term benefits, however, can be much more valuable. Think about this, the time between when you get your grapes (or wine kit) and opening the last bottle of wine those grapes made may be six months to ten years. By the time you open that last bottle there’s little chance you’ll remember what you did during it’s production. If your last bottle is terrific you won’t know what you did and therefore can’t replicate the process. On the other hand if it’s horrific you won’t know what might have gone wrong so you can avoid that mistake in the future. By not keeping a log you’re setting yourself up to make a lot of mediocre wine because you can’t learn from what you did right or wrong. Don’t fall into that trap. 3 Keys to a Useful Winemaking Log Here are three keys to creating a useful winemaking log that will benefit you for years to come in your winemaking ventures. 1. Keep it simple. Yes you could create a sexy spreadsheet that calculates the standard deviation of your specific gravity readings but that’s really not necessary nor is it helpful. What you need is a straight forward, journal style log of what you did and when you did it. I suggest using a simple notebook that you can keep with your wine. It’s easy to use and won’t short circuit if you spill a sample on it. Also, by keeping it accessible you’ll be more apt to write things down. If you want to re-type everything on your computer or blog that’s great. But also keep a paper version with your wine for easy access. 2. Write down everything. You never know what’s going to be important when you’re trying to solve a problem. If you’ve recorded your every action you’ll have a great chance of figuring out what happened if you do end up in trouble. Or let’s say three years from now you uncork the final bottle of your first Chardonnay and it’s simply amazing. Your first thought is going to be, “Wow! How did I do that?” With a detailed winemaking log you’ll know. First, always record the date and time. Follow that with as many observations as you can make. Such as: Ambient temperature Must temperature Airlock activity level Color Aroma Tasting notes (Get a sample? Take a swig!) Specific gravity Additives (be clear about the quantity too) pH Titratable Acidity Also write down how long you stirred the wine if you did, as well as anything else you notice. It may seem tedious to record each and everything you do but it will...

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