SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
gcdyersb wrote:Is precipitate actually considered a result of poor stability? Or only in specific cases? I always get excited when I find a wine with lots of tartrates and other gunk because it seems "natural" for it to evolve in this way. As in there was minimal handling, and as TA and tannins subside to drinkable levels, the precipitate is expected. You wouldn't want that in a grocery store wine, but I'd be disappointed if a wine meant for aging had no gunk after several years.



The term stability refers to a few aspects of wine. Of course wine changes with aging, but wines that are not "cold stabilized" can form a lot of tartrate crystals when chilled. White wines that are not "heat stabilized" can become cloudy with precipitated protein if they get hot. Wines that are not biologically stable can have growth that affects aroma and flavor (virtually always in a negative way).

Biological stability is far more important to me than physical stability. I stopped using bentonite (a clay that binds and removes protein) over ten years ago. IMHO If a white wine is stored at 100 degrees for weeks, cloudiness will be the least of its faults, and I'll know why it doesn't smell and taste right.
Cold stability has been a bigger issue for us. As many of you have seen upon opening bottles of Wellington wine, quite a few of our wines form tartrate crystals in bottle. While this doesn't affect taste, we've had enough negative feedback that we've taken steps to avoid the most severe cold instability.

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
ScottHarveyWines wrote:Peter, hope it is okay to answer questions on your blog.
No filtration, the wine will be sterile filtered when bottled.
Final pH is 3.64. After the tartaric addition, the initial acidity goes up as the pH goes down. After the tartrats drop out the acidity comes back down, but the free hydrogen ions are left behind and the pH stays low enough.
Other wines will be blended into this wine.



Scott, I asked the question about TA purely because it would take a pretty significant tartaric addition to drop the pH from 4.20 to 3.65. From my experience, adding that much tartaric tends to give wines a fairly tart/unpleasant taste. For instance, I had a Riesling in Napa today(grown in the Oak Knoll District) that had a pH of 2.93. It kind of tasted like someone accidentally (hopefully) dropped a bag of tartaric into a fermentor. But that said, if you are using the wine for blending its probably a non-issue for you.

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
otolith wrote:Keep it up! So I take it you chose #2?

Micro was one of my more favorite classes in undergrad. We even went on a tour of one of the local microbrews. It's still my favorite beer.



Option 1. Finished year one of my Master's degree. Just two classes (distillation and readings in enology) and my thesis left.

I did brewery tours in one of my chem eng classes in undergrad. Makes me wish I could get some Wachusett beer in CA . . .

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
maddprofessor wrote:I'm working on a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology which a focus on virology (hep C in particular) I love the microbiology discussion. So can I get a job at a winery doing microbiology work and get free wine? Maybe I out to switch my focus from virus to bacteria. Wine is tastier than liver.



You'd be pretty bored by the micro that happens, even in large wineries. At most, the occasional look in the scope and plating out must on culture media to try and ID bugs. More often, samples just get prepped and sent out for sequencing and qPCR.

Good luck on the Hep C work . . . I'm always looking to add to my vaccination list.

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
SonomaBouliste wrote:
Cold stability has been a bigger issue for us. As many of you have seen upon opening bottles of Wellington wine, quite a few of our wines form tartrate crystals in bottle. While this doesn't affect taste, we've had enough negative feedback that we've taken steps to avoid the most severe cold instability.



Does that mean you cold stabilize at the winery, even with reds?

There's a certain irony in people viewing a tartrate crystals as unnatural when they likely wouldn't hesitate to buy an oak dusted wine or corn syrup-ed ketchup from a grocery store.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

maddprofessor


quality posts: 5 Private Messages maddprofessor
wombativ wrote:You'd be pretty bored by the micro that happens, even in large wineries. At most, the occasional look in the scope and plating out must on culture media to try and ID bugs. More often, samples just get prepped and sent out for sequencing and qPCR.

Good luck on the Hep C work . . . I'm always looking to add to my vaccination list.



Somewhat unfortunately my work is more likely to get you more drugs and not a vaccine. This virus mutates like crazy which is part of why there isn't a vaccine. On the wine topic, I guess it would me more of a lab tech type of job. It is fun to have the science background to understand discussions on topics like these.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
wombativ wrote:You'd be pretty bored by the micro that happens, even in large wineries. At most, the occasional look in the scope and plating out must on culture media to try and ID bugs. More often, samples just get prepped and sent out for sequencing and qPCR.



As mentioned in the blog, very few microbes can grow or survive in wine. Unless you are involved in genetics research at an academic institution it would be very routine.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
gcdyersb wrote:Does that mean you cold stabilize at the winery, even with reds?

There's a certain irony in people viewing a tartrate crystals as unnatural when they likely wouldn't hesitate to buy an oak dusted wine or corn syrup-ed ketchup from a grocery store.



Standard operating procedure at large wineries includes cold stabilizing everything. We have started cold stabilizing reds if we have made any acid adjustment within a few months of bottling. We also are are doing some cold stabilization of Sauvignon blanc and Rose (the barrel fermented whites usually have reasonable cold stability without further treatment). We aren't aiming for absolute cold stability - we don't take the wines to below 30 F.

A lot of people in this country are more finicky about what their food looks like rather than what's in it or how it tastes. God forbid the wine be cloudy or the ketchup separate, or the citrus peel not have uniform color.

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
gcdyersb wrote:Does that mean you cold stabilize at the winery, even with reds?

There's a certain irony in people viewing a tartrate crystals as unnatural when they likely wouldn't hesitate to buy an oak dusted wine or corn syrup-ed ketchup from a grocery store.



I don't think its so much a case of viewing it as unnatural as it is a lack of wine education. A lot of people don't realize its normal for tartrates to precipitate out of wine over time, much less that polymerized tannins precipitate and that a lot of materials that stay in colloidal suspensions can fall out over time, even in a filtered wine. I've had some interesting talks with Gallo winemakers who have lots of stories about people thinking there was glass and other nasty things in their wine.

Wine is a surprisingly complex system . . . I had an entire class and lab devoted to wine stability earlier this year.

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ

So back to the Brett thing . . .

I've brought this up in a previous thread, but here is the thing I'll never understand about the thought process of some winemakers:

I'm fairly sure a lot of places accept and even encourage a little Brettanomyces growth in their wine, whether its a personal taste preference or a desire to make old world styled wines. That concept at least makes sense to me, even if I personally disagree with the style. However, microbially speaking, there is no such thing as a small amount of Brett. Unless its growth is stopped (0.45 micron filtration or dimethyl dicarbonate), the yeast will continue to grow in bottle and produce 4-ethyl phenol, 4-vinyl phenol, isovaleric acid, and acetic acid as the barrals and bottles age. Compound this with the fact that most wines I've observed this in are designed to age for a number of years and that just seems like asking to have a disappointed customer who's been saving the bottle for 10 or 20 years.

So, from a scientific point of view, I've always wondered why these winemakers don't keep the bolus of their wine clean, and then encourage Brett growth in one or two barrels (leave some RS, inoculate with Brett, up the pH, lower SO2, etc). Then, prior to blending, sterile filter these couple of barrels and blend them in to taste. That way, the Brett character won't get stronger over time.

So am I being too logical here?

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
wombativ wrote:So back to the Brett thing . . .

I've brought this up in a previous thread, but here is the thing I'll never understand about the thought process of some winemakers:

I'm fairly sure a lot of places accept and even encourage a little Brettanomyces growth in their wine, whether its a personal taste preference or a desire to make old world styled wines. That concept at least makes sense to me, even if I personally disagree with the style. However, microbially speaking, there is no such thing as a small amount of Brett. Unless its growth is stopped (0.45 micron filtration or dimethyl dicarbonate), the yeast will continue to grow in bottle and produce 4-ethyl phenol, 4-vinyl phenol, isovaleric acid, and acetic acid as the barrals and bottles age. Compound this with the fact that most wines I've observed this in are designed to age for a number of years and that just seems like asking to have a disappointed customer who's been saving the bottle for 10 or 20 years.

So, from a scientific point of view, I've always wondered why these winemakers don't keep the bolus of their wine clean, and then encourage Brett growth in one or two barrels (leave some RS, inoculate with Brett, up the pH, lower SO2, etc). Then, prior to blending, sterile filter these couple of barrels and blend them in to taste. That way, the Brett character won't get stronger over time.

So am I being too logical here?



I wouldn't go so far as to say a lot of places accept, much less encourage Brett. I would say that there might be a handful of wineries that acccept it. Most of us treat Brett as if it was bubonic plague. It is a fact of life in most wineries, but we do everything we can to control it: sanitation, maintaining SO2 levels in barrel, quarantining infected wines and barrels so as not to cross inoculate other wines. As I told a friend who's relatively new to the business and was shocked to discover Brett in one of his wines, "90% of wineries have Brett and the other 10% are liars".

The threat of Brett growth in bottled wine is the main reason for sterile filtration, since almost all reds and a lot of Chardonnays are dry and have completed MLF. A lot of wines that have no pre-bottling evidence of Brett are sterile filtered (I sterile filter all my Cabs - they are under 15% alcohol and intended to be ageworthy).

The one instance of intentionally producing "dirty" barrels and blending to taste that I know of involves sulfides. A very large winery has determined that a hint of sulfide/mercaptan stink is positive in their Chardonnay. They intentionally let a few barrels go very stinky, then carefully blend to a desired level of "toastiness" or whatever you want to call it (an almost subliminal amount of rotten egg, "hair perm", skunk, rotten garlic, natural gas tracer, canned corn, roast coffee...).

nallie


quality posts: 8 Private Messages nallie

As usual, SB, your depth of knowledge and generosity with that knowledge really enrich our community. Thank you!!

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - h.keller
"If you can do something about it, there is no need to worry. If you cannot do anything about it, there is no use in worrying." - j.white (and also Shantideva)

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee

Peter,

I thought you might get a kick out of this, local winery is selling their used wine barrels for $100 a pop. So obviously we need to find a way to get your used barrels to Nebraska cheaply and we'll sell em for $75!

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

lmacschaf


quality posts: 16 Private Messages lmacschaf
SonomaBouliste wrote:I wouldn't go so far as to say a lot of places accept, much less encourage Brett. I would say that there might be a handful of wineries that acccept it. Most of us treat Brett as if it was bubonic plague. It is a fact of life in most wineries, but we do everything we can to control it: sanitation, maintaining SO2 levels in barrel, quarantining infected wines and barrels so as not to cross inoculate other wines. As I told a friend who's relatively new to the business and was shocked to discover Brett in one of his wines, "90% of wineries have Brett and the other 10% are liars".

The threat of Brett growth in bottled wine is the main reason for sterile filtration, since almost all reds and a lot of Chardonnays are dry and have completed MLF. A lot of wines that have no pre-bottling evidence of Brett are sterile filtered (I sterile filter all my Cabs - they are under 15% alcohol and intended to be ageworthy).

The one instance of intentionally producing "dirty" barrels and blending to taste that I know of involves sulfides. A very large winery has determined that a hint of sulfide/mercaptan stink is positive in their Chardonnay. They intentionally let a few barrels go very stinky, then carefully blend to a desired level of "toastiness" or whatever you want to call it (an almost subliminal amount of rotten egg, "hair perm", skunk, rotten garlic, natural gas tracer, canned corn, roast coffee...).



I think it is important to point out the vast differences in 'cleanliness' practices between what US wineries usually go through compared to other parts of the world . . .

There are many many cellars elsewhere that are 'just asking' for brett to be present by their cellar cleaning standards (or lack thereof). It's not uncommon to go into wineries in certain parts of France, for instance, and find a lot of mold growing on the walls . . . Or many Aussie wineries have limited or no hot water due to severe droughts . . .

In addition, as you pointed out, it is possible to sterile filter a wine that has some brett to 'kill off' the potential of further growth in bottle - but you need to make sure your filter is working correctly and is not compromised at all. When doing this, though, it's impossible to 'dial in' a spcific amount of brett - you never know what you'll end up with . . .

Cheers!

larry schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com

andyduncan


quality posts: 32 Private Messages andyduncan

What about irradiation or UV pasteurization? Has anyone tried that with wine?

I'm putting WD's kids through college.

lmacschaf


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andyduncan wrote:What about irradiation or UV pasteurization? Has anyone tried that with wine?



Andy,

Some wineries use a substance called Velcorin, otherwise known as Dimethyl Disulfide . . . It 'nukes' the wine and kills off all living yeast, including Brett. One 'side effect' of the use of Velcorin is that a by-product of the reaction is methanol . . . not something you want much of in your wine. Claims by the company that 'sells' Velcorin are that these increased levels are very small, within the legal limits . . .

Still, this is not something I would ever add to any of my wines or wines that I am involved with . . .

Just my $.02 . . .

Cheers!

larry schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
andyduncan wrote:What about irradiation or UV pasteurization? Has anyone tried that with wine?



We've discussed the use of heat exchangers to do essentially a high temp-short time treatment of must to inactivate laccase and other undesireable mold enzymes in classes. But finished wine is probably too heat sensitive to look at using that type of process.

I've seen some research pertaining to using UV methods to attempt to kill bactera/mold/yeast on equipment but not much related to treating wine itself. From my experience in vaccine making, materials aren't entirely the same after these sterilization techniques. UV treatment especially used to cause an increase in the precipitation of proteins in growth media and serum we used. Given, wine should be much lower in total protein count, but I don't think there's any definitive evidence out there that other important flavor, aroma, or mouthfeel components might also be bound or cross-linked by irradiation treatments.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
andyduncan wrote:What about irradiation or UV pasteurization? Has anyone tried that with wine?



Just back after a few days of roughing it in the high Sierra.

Unfortunately, these and other forms of sterilization, like heat pasteurization, will also affect aroma and flavor. UV lights are used in food plants; I haven't heard of wineries using them. We periodically "fumigate" our barrel cellars with ozone gas to cut down on molds and bacteria, and we use ozonated water, steam, SO2 and other means to treat the insides of barrels.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
lmacschaf wrote:Andy,

Some wineries use a substance called Velcorin, otherwise known as Dimethyl Disulfide . . . It 'nukes' the wine and kills off all living yeast, including Brett. One 'side effect' of the use of Velcorin is that a by-product of the reaction is methanol . . . not something you want much of in your wine. Claims by the company that 'sells' Velcorin are that these increased levels are very small, within the legal limits . . .

Still, this is not something I would ever add to any of my wines or wines that I am involved with . . .

Just my $.02 . . .

Cheers!



I did talk a bit about Velcorin in the blog. BTW, it's not dimethyl disulfide - that's a very potent smelling mercaptan; not something you want to add to your wine unless you're the large winery mentioned above that intentionally makes a few stink barrels for blending in their Chardonnay.

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
SonomaBouliste wrote:Just back after a few days of roughing it in the high Sierra.

Unfortunately, these and other forms of sterilization, like heat pasteurization, will also affect aroma and flavor. UV lights are used in food plants; I haven't heard of wineries using them. We periodically "fumigate" our barrel cellars with ozone gas to cut down on molds and bacteria, and we use ozonated water, steam, SO2 and other means to treat the insides of barrels.



Do you actually use steam for barrels? I thought conventional thinking in the wine world was that steam generators were too expensive to use? Its always surprised me that no where I've been to even uses steam to sterilize bottling lines. But then again, that's probably just my pharmaceutical background speaking again. . .

otolith


quality posts: 24 Private Messages otolith
lmacschaf wrote:Andy,

Some wineries use a substance called Velcorin, otherwise known as Dimethyl Disulfide . . . It 'nukes' the wine and kills off all living yeast, including Brett. One 'side effect' of the use of Velcorin is that a by-product of the reaction is methanol . . . not something you want much of in your wine. Claims by the company that 'sells' Velcorin are that these increased levels are very small, within the legal limits . . .

Still, this is not something I would ever add to any of my wines or wines that I am involved with . . .

Just my $.02 . . .

Cheers!


Well, the treatment for methanol toxicity is, ethanol!

That said, I'd much rather not have my wine sterilized by something that stinks or something that may produce methanol.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
--John Muir

lmacschaf


quality posts: 16 Private Messages lmacschaf
SonomaBouliste wrote:I did talk a bit about Velcorin in the blog. BTW, it's not dimethyl disulfide - that's a very potent smelling mercaptan; not something you want to add to your wine unless you're the large winery mentioned above that intentionally makes a few stink barrels for blending in their Chardonnay.



Sorry - I should have said dimethyldicarbonate - DMDC . . .

Cheers!

larry schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste

Anybody got any ideas for my next blog?
Previous editions have dealt with organic viticulture, barrels, growing conditions and microbes.

Thanks,
Peter

rpm


quality posts: 177 Private Messages rpm
SonomaBouliste wrote:Anybody got any ideas for my next blog?
Previous editions have dealt with organic viticulture, barrels, growing conditions and microbes.

Thanks,
Peter



Peter, I think the group might be interested in learning how winemakers and viticulturalists are trained; both OJT and academically.

Another topic that might be worth talking about is your perspective - as a winemaker and owner, not always the same thing - on how one perceives and works toward meeting the changing customer palate and 'wine demand' generally.

I'd love a small aside about your experiences with the various brush fires that the wine country is periodically subject to during dry years, and your thoughts on the effect, if any, on the wines. I particularly remember deep concern in both Sonoma and Napa during the Summer of 1966 when the smoke was thick in both valleys from that years fires.

I have more thoughts I'll toss out later....

Wine-tasting in 8 words:
Pull lots of corks!
Remember what you taste!

lurcher


quality posts: 8 Private Messages lurcher
SonomaBouliste wrote:Anybody got any ideas for my next blog?
Previous editions have dealt with organic viticulture, barrels, growing conditions and microbes.

Thanks,
Peter



Getting away from the science and more to the business side...

How does one price a wine?

Michael

otolith


quality posts: 24 Private Messages otolith
lurcher wrote:Getting away from the science and more to the business side...

How does one price a wine?

Michael



This is a great topic.

How much does that $2-300 futures 1st Growth wine really cost per bottle?

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
--John Muir

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
SonomaBouliste wrote:Anybody got any ideas for my next blog?
Previous editions have dealt with organic viticulture, barrels, growing conditions and microbes.

Thanks,
Peter



What about soil types? I think you touched on this in "The vines must suffer!" But only in passing. I'd definitely like to read some definitive information on soils and which varietals have affinities for certain soils. Limestone seems to get a lot of praise, but there's not a lot of readily available information.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
otolith wrote:This is a great topic.

How much does that $2-300 futures 1st Growth wine really cost per bottle?



One estimate suggests $13. Or for Petrus, 30 euros. Just a bit overpriced, I'd say, though it's not the cost of production that sets the price.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
lurcher wrote:Getting away from the science and more to the business side...

How does one price a wine?

Michael



I've cut and pasted below what I wrote about costs on a prior blog. Pricing, however, doesn't depend solely on production cost. Obviously, one must price for profitability in order to stay in business, unless it's a vanity label for a mega-rich owner. Reputation (and "scores") can have a huge effect on demand and what the market is willing to pay. Cost has progressively lower correlation with selling price in the higher price brackets.

For What It's Worth Tue. July 8, 2008

Dan Berger, one of the more interesting wine writers around, would occasionally list various production costs when talking about wine prices. Some were very accurate, but others out of line with each other, e.g. cheap glass with expensive corks. In light of recent discussions on the w00t forums about price, quality and value, I thought it might be interesting to list our costs and some idea of the range of various costs.
Dan always gave the most detail about bottling costs, so I'll start there. Most of our bottles run around $9.00 a case, with a range from $7.50 to $12.00. Industry ranges are < $5.00 to > $20.00. Our corks are around 30¢ each ($3.50/case), with an industry range of < 10¢ to > $1.00 each (there are also low cost alternative closures). We use tin capsules, at 17¢ each ($2.00/case). Polylaminate, PVC, heat-shrink plastic and other alternatives run 2-10¢ each. Front labels @ 7¢ and backs @ 4¢ adds another $1.40 a case for us. Label cost is probably the biggest variable in packaging costs because there is a tremendous economy of scale; small runs of ornate labels can cost a dollar a label. Mobile bottling is around $2.50 a case. If you have your own bottling line (a large capital investment) costs are considerably lower. Bottling labor for us is around $0.60 per case. We spend $19 a case to bottle our wine. Big wineries can get it done for $7-8, high end “vanity labels” may spend as much as $50 a case or more.
Grapes are the biggest cost in Sonoma and Napa wines, but not in the Central Valley. Cabernet averaged over $4000 a ton in Napa in 2007, but only $330 in Lodi and $260 or less in the rest of the Central Valley. The average grape cost in a case of Cabernet is over $60 using Napa fruit, and less than $2.00 using Kern County fruit. Growing your own grapes can be a lot cheaper than buying grapes. In 2006 our own grapes cost us $1160 a ton, our purchased grapes averaged $2040 a ton. Our grape cost per case averaged around $26.
French oak barrels are $1000+ a pop. That means $20 a case for a winery that uses 50% new French oak, a common practice for high end Napa and Sonoma Cabs ($80 a case for Caymus Special Select @ 200% new oak). American oak is $200-350 a barrel; staves, chips and sawdust range from pennies up to $2 a case or so. We average $5 a case for oak (ranging from $0 to 20, depending on the wine). Other winemaking and lab supplies add up to a dollar or so.
Large wineries realize tremendous economy of scale with winemaking labor, often spending less than they do on bottling labor. Counting labor overhead and a portion of my salary, our winemaking cost is $7 a case. I won't consider consultant's fees here, but some vanity labels pay “superstar” winemakers six figure fees to create cult brands.
Overhead can be quite variable depending on renting vs. owning, taxes, depreciation, loan interest, etc. We spent a buck a case on utilities before we installed our photovoltaic system, now we have to add both the accelerated depreciation on the solar energy system and the interest on the loan to our “book cost” for IRS purposes.
I won't make you do the math. Our direct cost per case is around $57. Two Buck Chuck probably costs about $9-10 a case to produce, and an elite Napa Cab might cost $140-200. Add a bit of tax, warehousing, marketing (can be a huge expense) and overhead and you get to the winery cost of sales. Assuming sales through the three tier system, markup will be 100% between the winery and the store shelf. Hence Two Buck Chuck and $40-50+ Napa Cabs.




SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
otolith wrote:This is a great topic.

How much does that $2-300 futures 1st Growth wine really cost per bottle?



In direct costs it may be only $15-20 per bottle, but if you figure in the cot of the money tied up in the land and facilities that number will escalate dramatically. Parcels of Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy have sold for more than $1,000,000 an acre. If you're producing fewer than 2,000 bottles per acre per year the return on investment isn't all that great even if the wine leaves the property at $100 a bottle.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
gcdyersb wrote:What about soil types? I think you touched on this in "The vines must suffer!" But only in passing. I'd definitely like to read some definitive information on soils and which varietals have affinities for certain soils. Limestone seems to get a lot of praise, but there's not a lot of readily available information.



I don't put as much stock into specific soil types as many people do. I think the main effects are due to drainage (especially important in regions with Summer and Fall rain, like Burgundy and Bordeaux) and fertility. Limestone parent material does make for well-drained, low fertility soils. The only other attribute which might influence vine growth and grape quality is the high pH of limestone. I know there are grower/winemakers out there who will argue the differences and virtues of volcanic soils, slate, etc., but I believe it all boils down to drainage and fertility.

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
SonomaBouliste wrote:I don't put as much stock into specific soil types as many people do. I think the main effects are due to drainage (especially important in regions with Summer and Fall rain, like Burgundy and Bordeaux) and fertility. Limestone parent material does make for well-drained, low fertility soils. The only other attribute which might influence vine growth and grape quality is the high pH of limestone. I know there are grower/winemakers out there who will argue the differences and virtues of volcanic soils, slate, etc., but I believe it all boils down to drainage and fertility.



What does high pH do in terms of development of the grapes? Raise the pH of grapes as well, leading to acidic balance earlier in the season at lower sugars?

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

brianrenn


quality posts: 0 Private Messages brianrenn

Thanks for the great columns, Peter! I always look forward to reading them.

Last spring, I planted a Cabernet Franc grapevine in my little postage-stamp sized backyard. I've been diligently watering it and checking up on it all through the summer.

Several weeks ago, I was horrified to come out and find it covered with tiny black insects. A little research on the web identified them as aphids. Long story short, I nearly killed my grapevine in my naive attempt to get rid of them...

So on that note, I'd like to put my vote in for a blog entry on *insect* beasties of the wine world. Aphids, ants, ladybugs, spiders....

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
brianrenn wrote:Thanks for the great columns, Peter! I always look forward to reading them.

Last spring, I planted a Cabernet Franc grapevine in my little postage-stamp sized backyard. I've been diligently watering it and checking up on it all through the summer.

Several weeks ago, I was horrified to come out and find it covered with tiny black insects. A little research on the web identified them as aphids. Long story short, I nearly killed my grapevine in my naive attempt to get rid of them...

So on that note, I'd like to put my vote in for a blog entry on *insect* beasties of the wine world. Aphids, ants, ladybugs, spiders....



Oooohhh, I like this idea. Seperated into good and bad. Excellent idea!

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
gcdyersb wrote:What does high pH do in terms of development of the grapes? Raise the pH of grapes as well, leading to acidic balance earlier in the season at lower sugars?



The main effect of high pH soils is micronutrient deficiency (iron and/or zinc). Iron deficiency causes chlorosis (yellowing of leaves), while zinc deficiency is seen more in the growing tips and also can result in poor set (smaller crops).

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 238 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
brianrenn wrote:Thanks for the great columns, Peter! I always look forward to reading them.

Last spring, I planted a Cabernet Franc grapevine in my little postage-stamp sized backyard. I've been diligently watering it and checking up on it all through the summer.

Several weeks ago, I was horrified to come out and find it covered with tiny black insects. A little research on the web identified them as aphids. Long story short, I nearly killed my grapevine in my naive attempt to get rid of them...

So on that note, I'd like to put my vote in for a blog entry on *insect* beasties of the wine world. Aphids, ants, ladybugs, spiders....



Good idea! Fortunately, insects generally aren't a big deal in vineyards, so just a paragraph or two will probably suffice. I guess I'll incorporate this with some suggestions by RPM and wombativ for my pre-crush blog. This year I've tried to get away from the "day in the life" approach I used from 2007 through 2008 and write about single topics in a little more depth. This coming blog will have to be a little more of a potpourri. After that the next one will be a crush summary, probably in November.

brianrenn


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SonomaBouliste wrote:I guess I'll incorporate this with some suggestions by RPM and wombativ for my pre-crush blog.


Thanks! Looking forward to hearing about any insect run-ins you've had over the years. When I noticed the aphids going to work on my grapevine, I pictured waking up one morning in a vineyard to find hundreds of acres of similarly afflicted crops.

Glad to hear that insects generally aren't the sort of plague I pictured...

Good luck with the crush, looking forward to the next blog entry.

Cesare


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Future blog material

-il Cesare
Sole Absolute Triple
Exalted High Tastemaster Supreme
“In the entire world there are only a few sounds that bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the murmur of a kitten purring. Another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And the third is the pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle of wine.” —George Taber

yumitori


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Cesare wrote:
Future blog material



An interesting article, but I suggests he goes a bit too far in 'outing' wine manipulation -


Winemakers will also pump up or tone down the organic material in wine. Is that Cabernet not tannic enough? Add some powdered tannin. Is it too tannic? Fine it with isinglass. Is the Chardonnay not tart enough? Pump it up with some tartaric acid. Is it too tart? Initiate malolactic fermentation. Want to unlock flavors of rose petals? There are at least 20 strains of cultured yeast that will do that for you. You just have to choose which one you want. Want a deeper color for your Pinot Noir? There are a dozen enzymes for that, too.



Equating techniques such as fining or selecting one strain of yeast over another with some of the more questionable behaviors mentioned does a great disservice to the discussion.

On the other hand, I would definitely like to hear more about 'Mega Purple'...




Cesare


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yumitori wrote:
On the other hand, I would definitely like to hear more about 'Mega Purple'...



Mega Purple. It comes in white, pink, red and purple!

-il Cesare
Sole Absolute Triple
Exalted High Tastemaster Supreme
“In the entire world there are only a few sounds that bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the murmur of a kitten purring. Another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And the third is the pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle of wine.” —George Taber