Winemaking Online Class, Lesson Two at WSU

If the first lesson didn’t convince me that this is a science class the second lesson certainly did. This lesson dealt with the preparation of the must and juice. In addition to the chemistry there was a healthy dose of math. I wonder if there is an iPhone app for winemakers.

wsupict2Several slides discussed creating the must. Then there were a number of slides presenting possible additions to the must including sugar, water, acid, sulfur dioxide, yeast, nutrients, enzymes and tannins. The slides were informative and basic until one reaches the acidity adjustments. Then the science kicks in and I kept trying to remember my high school chemistry class. The math was less of a challenge. One of the important things that I can take away from this lesson is the importance in testing the must. Tartaric acid should range between 6g/L and 10g/L while the pH should range between 3.1 and 3.7. If your must is within these ranges you’re in luck, if not you’ll have to add something to bring it within these ranges. It seems that adding tartaric acid to increase acidity may be easier than adding calcium carbonate to reduce acidity. In acid reduction, one must calculate how much of the must to treat and how much to treat it with. Eight slides out of 44 were devoted to acidity.

The lesson then turned to the addition of sulfur dioxide that can have both positive and negative effects. Both the molecular form of sulfur dioxide and the bisulfite form were discussed. How much the winemaker adds depends on why it needs to be added.

The next set of slides looked at adding yeast and yeast nutrients. The presentation continued with enzyme and tannin additions. The lesson concluded with pressing.

This lesson was too much science and math unless you plan to work in the lab where you will be testing the must and calculating what and how much to add. The lesson was informative but aimed at the winemaker who has to perform the tests and calculations. Most clients at Vint Hill Craft Winery and Tin Lizzie Wineworks will leave these tasks in the hands of the winemakers. I, for one always liked my chemistry class. So I plan to spend some time in the lab.

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