The

Winemaker

In the beginning, there were fermented beverages. 

That might be putting the cart before the horse but throughout mankind’s history, the act of fermenting fruits, grains, and other organic materials has accompanied our journey. Some argue the creation of wine is the ultimate artistic expression of our fruitful gains. The transformation of grape juice to wine is sublime, romantic, and spiritual. Our life milestones are celebrated and heralded with wine.

Creating wine is a less romantic effort. An exacting exercise, winemaking requires planning, knowledge, and attentiveness to multiple steps, and having the time and fortitude necessary in shepherding the process to completion. A person doesn’t master winemaking in one, and even multiple tries. Taking the time to learn about the process and pursuing your own winemaking adventures eventually pays dividends, with a wine you truly enjoy and can be proud of. A wine you create and use with the toast at your daughter’s wedding!

The purpose of this Winemaking site is to walk you through the winemaking process. It is geared toward aspiring DIY winemakers, beginners, and intermediate creators.

The site is organized below around topic blocks, each linking to a webpage. There are two primary topic block sections. The first group of blocks contains a high-level overview of the winemaking process, reference materials, and equipment. The second section contains greater detail regarding each step of the winemaking process, including important techniques. 

Each webpage block begins with a high-level subject overview, with online links to source materials informing the topic. The online link sources are curated, and geared to provide reliable and comprehensive information from subject matter experts. In a sense, we’ve done the work for you. No need to sort through and evaluate multiple online search results to get to the information you need to create wine. Sources are continually checked and updated for relevance.

Section 1 - Winemaking Overview, Reference Materials and Equipment

Winemaking Process Overview

Winemaking is a multi-step process. Understanding each step and how one leads to another, is essential when learning to make wine. The Overview provides a high-level examination of the winemaking process. There are also sources specific to the unique characteristics of making white, red and rosé wines.

Reference Materials

Winemaking reference materials whether from books or online abound. The written word is paramount, because the winemaking process has many layers, with infinite detail. Winemaking is a scientific endeavor. Chemicals and substances interact in known, and unknown ways.

Equipment

Sources in this block provide equipment information from several sources, geared to both the beginner for starter kits and the more seasoned winemaker. There is nothing more valuable than having a local wine equipment supplier you can personally visit. In lieu of that availability, you can’t beat online shops and wholesale equipment providers as referenced in this block.

Section 2 - Winemaking Process Steps and Techniques

Cusher/destemmer and Press

Time to Make Wine

You enjoy drinking wine and find it special. Maybe you’ve taken the time to learn about the wine world and its history. You may have visited wineries and are intrigued by the experience. You’ve wondered whether you can create a similar experience and enjoyment? Why yes you can, feel free to jump in!

The Crush

Ask a winemaker their favorite date on the wine calendar. Assuredly, crush day is the answer. Year-long vineyard thought and hard work has lead to this critical milestone. Having come full cycle, wine creation begins anew with a new vintage. Excitement is in the air, a party may be in the works. But first, the crush.

Press and Fermentation

With the crush complete, the time is nigh for dealing with the must. You may have exceeded your energy limits to get to this point but that’s okay, don’t stop now. Carry forth, and either press the must or start fermentation.

Clarify and Age

With fermentation complete, you have wine. The magical sensual elixir and drink of Greek gods. Slow down, don’t get the chariot in front of the horses! The wine is cloudy, rough in taste and texture. If there are no obvious flaws or significant off-flavors, you should be able to pick-up some semblance of the grape varietal smell and taste. If so, you’ve done your job so far.

Bottle

You’ve come a long way and are nearing the finish line. You believe your wine may be ready to bottle, congratulations on successfully getting this far. If a mistake or two was made, that’s normal. The key is living the experience and learning from it. Time to complete the task and finish what you started.

Testing

Some argue making wine is an art, requiring equal parts knowledge, problem-solving, and creativity. While true, the buttress is science. Different chemicals and biological components combine and interact in ways directing and affecting the winemaking process. Testing at different milestones informs and helps direct winemaking activities.

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