Winemaking Online Class, Lesson Five at WSU

Barreling, clarification, blending and bottling were the topics explored in this lesson. It began with a discussion of barrels and differences between French, American and Hungarian barrels. The instructor talked about the characters that barrel aging could add to wine as well as the degree of toast and a barrel’s lifespan.

Clarification of wine was presented with mentioning it was a slow process, however certain items such as bentonite can be added to clarify wine. Some wineries that have the funds may use centrifuges. Racking will also help with clarification of the wine. The instructor discussed the chemistry behind fining agents, and in addition to the bentonite he discussed polyvinyl-polypyrrolidone, agar and gum arabic, activated carbon and copper sulfate. The practice of cold stabilization was also presented as a means of clarification. Filtration was then discussed.

The practice of blending was presented. It is as much of an art as a science. There was certainly an emphasis of the need to conduct trial blends and collect some quantitative data.

Labeling regulations for wine bottles was presented. Such words as vintage, AVA and vineyard designation require a certain percentage of a particular grape from a particular location to be in the bottle.

The next part of the lesson was about sensory evaluation. It seemed to be somewhat out of place and would have made a nice lesson by itself if expanded. It actually goes hand in hand with blending. The wine aroma wheel was presented as well as different ways to evaluate wine. Once again there was an emphasis on collecting quantifiable data.

The final part of the class dealt with bottling and enclosures. Although there was a certain amount of science and math in this lesson, the general public could benefit from many of the concepts presented.

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