Denise Gardner Winemaking is designed in part to provide virtual wine making consulting options for wineries of all sizes.
Part of DG Winemaking’s mission is to move wineries into a realm of wine quality improvements when “good enough wine is no longer good enough.”
I work with clients that want to address their quality shortcomings and raise the bar on what they are offering regardless of climatic challenges that affect fruit quality or winery obstacles that may get in the way of offering a superior product.
The advantages of virtual consulting have allowed wineries to improve without paying expensive consultant retainer fees that usually come with traveling winemakers. Over the last three years, these virtual services have helped wineries:
- Move wine inventory out of tank or barrel storage and onto retail shelves on a pre-determined timeline.
- Create new wines not previously envisioned by the winemaker.
- Make decisions about how to treat a problem wine and improve its quality to a point of sale.
- Establish wine quality that, with some clients, has been recognized by esteemed wine reviewers.
- Improve the winemaker’s understanding of how to use wine analysis to their advantage.
- Cross into new formula wine product development without the hassle of guest work and lost wine quality.
PLUS, I provide a continuous educational service to winemakers that addresses the practices they need help to improve (e.g., sanitation, bottling, and use of sulfur dioxide to name a few) and is practical for winemakers at any experience level (e.g., using tartrate inhibitors, proper order of production steps to prepare wines for bottling, and developing a new formula wine).
No more searching through textbooks and trying to understand, or applying west coast winemaking techniques to hybrid grape varieties. This is wine making consulting for today’s winemakers across the U.S.
How Does DG Winemaking Serve You?
While all consulting options through DG Winemaking offer a virtual component, two consulting options are currently 100% virtual. This includes the DEMI and STANDARD-V consulting packages.
DEMI clients range from start-up operations to winemakers with decades of vintages produced. Clients in this consulting package can benefit from being a part the DGW winemaking community as well as accessing one-on-one consulting when needed.
A Community Feel for DEMI Clients
All DEMI clients are invited to my two monthly Q&A sessions on Zoom. These Winemaking Advice Hours provide a forum for winemakers to ask questions or contribute to group discussion. Winemakers can opt to send questions in advance or ask questions in real time.
Many winemakers or winery employees bring questions like:
- Why isn’t my wine fermenting to dryness?
- When and how do I add sulfur dioxide to my wine?
- Is it appropriate to ask for analysis and production information when we purchase bulk wine from another winery? If so, what should I ask for when we purchase the wine?
- Can you explain to me how to follow Scott Labs’ nutrient addition recommendations?
- How do I add exogenous tannins to my wine in a bench trial?
- How do you mitigate the existence of methoxypyrazine flavors in my wine?
- If my wine was cold stabilized and I just figured out it isn’t cold stable, what should I do now that we are in the middle of summer?
- Could you help me pick out a tartrate inhibitor to my wine?
- How do I test for protein stability and do I need to test for protein stability?
And much, much more! Because we have started discussing SUCH a wide range of topics at these meetings, I currently offer our summaries in written form. You can review one summary that is currently available, here.
One-on-One Consulting when Needed
One of the challenges for winemakers is finding information that is designed and applicable to commercial wineries. Thus, this consulting package is designed for winemakers that aim to make quality advancements using commercial practices with an experienced resource available when needed. It’s also the package where veteran winemakers tend to gravitate when they want to improve education for their team or maintain incremental upgrades in the cellar.
This is consulting on an ad hoc basis: when the winemaker determines help is needed. While all of the tools in the DGW Learning Center remain open to DEMI clients, many use virtual meeting time with me as:
- A quick resource for “double checking” winemaker decisions or reviewing options for a production step.
- An individual to make decisions for problem wines and save the winemaker time in figuring out what to do next. I create a path for how to treat the wine through production.
- Infrequent reviews of next-steps with use of various Cellar Tools to guide decision-making processes.
Real Life DEMI Services:
Prior to each harvest season, one of my clients and I set aside one to two hours annually to review a harvest plan for incoming fruit and the winemaker’s goals in terms of what kinds of wine are desired. During this review, we discuss next steps, using the DG Winemaking Cellar Tools:
- Enological Products Must-Haves to determine what supplies the winery should keep in stock at the start of harvest.
- Pre-Harvest Prep Timeline to guide the winemaker in preparing the cellar for incoming fruit. This includes when the winemaker should finish bottling, check on harvest equipment, and prepare the winery’s lab for juice and wine analysis.
- And the Production Guides (Crush/Destem White, Whole Cluster White, Red with Sequential MLF, Red with Co-Fermentation) that provide chronological process flow diagrams, calculations for yield estimates and wine product additions, and when to analyze specific components of the wine during the production process.
This meeting was done virtually at a time that is convenient for both of us. At the conclusion of each meeting, I provide a summary of notes for everything that we discussed and any details that may have required some follow up at the close of our meeting. This call sets the winemaker up to get the wines in good condition by the close of harvest, upon which we have a second phone call to determine later processing decisions.
STANDARD-V services are more “hands on,” in that I meet with clients virtually every-other-week through the duration of the calendar year. If your winery is looking to make some next steps in addressing wine quality and getting the cellar staff motivated to maintain good wine quality, then this is where I suggest we start for consulting options.
The advantages to having our regular meetings allow STANDARD-V clients to:
- Stay on a schedule to reduce logistical chaos on an annual basis. STANDARD-V clients maximize use of their winemaking facilities while meeting production goals of getting wines bottled efficiently and safely.
- Monitor wines in real time during the harvest season and catch any potential problems before they become a long-term time investment for the winemaker.
- Immediately address any wine problems with options that work for their operation instead of relying on guess work.
- Keep wines in the best conditions as possible during storage and during later stage production options (e.g., barrel aging, time with oak, stabilization, and bottling).
- Keep the winery on track to bottle within an appropriate timeline and adequately prepare for the following season.
Real Life STANDARD-V Services – Example 1:
As a winery client has built up significant wine inventory, we worked together over the past year to maximize the quality of wines left in tank and get them moved onto retail shelves. This involved some time to address immediate harvest needs: how to bring in more fruit that was already contracted during the harvest year, which included creating enough tank space while wines were stored in tanks.
While solutions vary from winery to winery, we ended up selecting wines that would free up the most tank space to make room for incoming fruit while creating a few additional wine portfolio products that can get sold almost immediately post-bottling. This was altered from the original plan of bottling as varietals and keeping in bottle storage until previous vintages were sold.
During this process, we also updated fermentation nutrient strategies to minimize the incidence of hydrogen sulfide that occurred during fermentation. This helped the winemaker free up time to focus less on addressing problem wines, cut down on processing steps that were eating up the winemaker’s time, and get the wines to bottle quicker.
After a year, every wine bottled that was taking up tank space was available for sale to consumers. We fixed several of the wines to improve quality prior to bottling and were able to open up enough tank space to accommodate incoming harvest fruit.
Real Life STANDARD-V Services – Example 2:
When one of my clients approached me, they were in the middle of exploring canned wines and wanted to address some potential post-packaging issues. As the wines were getting distributed, maintaining product integrity in the can as well as wine quality were primary client goals.
When we started working together, we started from scratch: reviewed chemical details of the wine and discussed packaging details with not only the can suppliers but also the canner. This allowed me to develop a list of chemical specifications of the wine going into the can (i.e., outline acidity, sugar, sulfur dioxide, alcohol, etc. ranges), determine can liner options for the wine, and pinpoint specific risk factors associated with the canning process and post-packaging. From here, I designed an outline of the ideal way to monitor the wine as it went from tank-to-can and the appropriate order of operations to meet the client’s goals.
Due to the fact I’ve had previous experience in this field, we were able to troubleshoot the process within two to three weeks over the course of two practice packaging runs as opposed to “learning as they went” with actual product and risking the potential of failed packaging errors once the wines were canned. Such post-packaging issues could have resulted in lost sales for the client.
Join the DGW Community
There is still time to sign up for wine making consulting assistance through 2020 and into 2021.
Do not wait until after harvest!
If we work together through harvest, we can set you up on a better path going into 2021, making it more obtainable to reach your winemaking goals. While it is often underestimated, most clients express how essential these planning weeks are to provide a bigger picture on their winemaking decisions.
If you want to talk about what possibilities could be in store for you this year, please inquire today at email@example.com. I look forward to talking to you!