Another quarterly update here!
This past quarter, the biggest struggle I have seen among wineries is getting wine stabilization order or winemaking techniques correct, as well as general bottling order.
Winemakers that wear multiple hats at a winery (think: needing to prune vines while also stabilizing those past vintage wines left in the cellar) often try to rush through stabilization and bottling. In these situations, a winemaker is prioritizing a bottling or release date instead of prioritizing the wine’s quality.
To prioritize wine quality, the winemaker needs to set aside the appropriate amount of time to complete each production operation that will benefit how the wine tastes and the wine’s general longevity. Each step is thought out for the individual batch of wine getting bottled.
In comparison the prioritization of a bottling date usually includes the phrases, “I have two weeks to bottle this wine. Which of these steps can I cut out or shorten?”
If you have heard your inner voice plan out bottling like the latter example, then I can help you better plan for stabilization and bottling. Listen to this quarter’s vlog, below, and follow up with the notes to get you set for bottling season!
Many struggle with figuring out when to complete cold and protein (heat) stabilization.
Protein stabilization is influenced by pH. Thus, any winemaking operation that influences pH can have a potential effect on shifting the protein stability. This includes:
- Cold stabilization: If a wine goes through protein stabilization before cold stabilization, the winemaker should re-analyze the wine’s protein stability to ensure the wine is still protein stable. The reason: traditional cold stabilization techniques can change the wine’s pH, which influences the wine’s protein stability.
- Blending or Acid Alterations (an acid or de-acidification addition): Acid/de-acidification additions, as well as blending different wines together contribute to pH changes. Again, pH influences protein stability. Thus, a change in pH can influence the protein stabilization.
- Use of a Tartrate Inhibitor: If a winemaker plans on using a tartrate inhibitor for cold stabilization, I encourage the winemaker to check protein stability in a bench trial with the wine and tartrate inhibitor in the samples. Complete the protein stability analysis prior to adding the tartrate inhibitor to the entire batch of wine. This step is necessary because tartrate inhibitors have been shown to throw off colloidal stability. A colloidal instability shows in the wine as a protein stability haze. Thus, testing the wine containing the tartrate inhibitor for protein stability can allow winemakers to assess an appropriate concentration of bentonite required for that wine’s stability.
For more information, check out our past blog post on protein stability.
Pre-Bottling Operational Order
With stabilization in mind, stabilization and pre-bottling operational order can also be a logistical challenge for winemakers.
Do you find yourself rushing through steps?
Incapable of waiting the 72 hours that’s required for a certain additive to stabilize?
Do you know how long you should let the wine sit in between filtration methods?
That is where the Pre-Bottling Prep Checklists (White, Rosé, Red, and Formula) come in handy! I use these checklists with my clients, especially for those that need assistance making operational order manageable.
Or, we use the Checklists as a way to discover where, in their own production, something needs changed to enhance wine quality.
The Pre-Bottling Prep Checklists are also a good general record keeping assessment to detail the operational order for a specific batch of wine.
Get More Winemaking Assistance!
Not everyone can afford a full-time winemaking consultant. I get that!
But, there is still expertise available for you.
You can get my recommendations for things like pre-bottling operations without having to pay my consulting client fee by signing up for the DGW Insider membership at $35/month. It provides you with access to my winemaking resources available in a number of formats (Cellar Tools, Lessons, etc.) to help you get through these tricky steps. It’s practical winemaking guidance available to you whenever you need it.
Or, if you want the extra boost of assistance, the DGW Elite membership is $120/month. You receive access to everything discussed in today’s video plus a bi-monthly invitation to our winemaking Q&A sessions. It’s at these sessions where I can help guide you and other members with your winemaking needs.
Don’t struggle! Join us. Find out more about our membership offerings, here.