Winemaker Ben Spencer discusses winemaking tips for the micro-winery.

How to Make Cabernet Sauvignon – Tips for the Micro-Winery

Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beloved red wines. As a single variety and in blends, Cabernet Sauvignon has gained fame in Bordeaux and California, and around the world. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon are often dark, aromatic, tannic, and they can typically age well. It’s for these and several other reasons that I include Cabernet Sauvignon in my own wine program.

How to Make Great Syrah: Winemaking Tips for the Micro Winery

Syrah has long been the king of the Rhone Valley, in South East France. Historically, Syrah has been a ‘secret’ blending component in red Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. Today, Syrah is grown all over the world. In Sicily and South Africa, Australia and the United States, Syrah’s potential is well known as a single variety and as a component in blends. For the micro-winery, Syrah can be an indispensable part of your wine program.

Making Incredible Pinot Noir - Tips for the Micro-Winery

This is the first of a two-part series on making Pinot Noir. One of the greatest and most difficult wines to grow in the vineyard and make in the cellar is Pinot Noir. For all its troubles, Pinot Noir can also be one of the most rewarding wines to make. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a converted beer or spirits drinker say the wine that changed the game for them was Pinot Noir. It is for various reasons that Pinot is the great wine that it is. Now, let’s discuss how we can make a memorable Pinot of our own.

Tips for the Micro-Winery: Creating and Following a Successful Wine Program

It’s December. The cellar is quiet. The cacophony of harvest has faded. The wines have completed primary fermentation and are finishing in barrel. Now, we begin the slow journey through elevage – making decisions that will effect a wine’s arc of potability . It sounds like a heady task, but following a few very simple routines can result in a successful wine program.

Winemaking Tips: Blending, Fining, and Filtering

It’s almost a cliché – the image of the winemaker sitting in some kind of laboratory perfecting the blend for a final wine. In truth, it’s much more hands on. Wine is made in the cellar, after all, using tried and true methods and careful handling. For the commercial winery, the selections of barrels for blending can be very arbitrary – a final quantity taking precedence over a final quality. The micro-winery has a much greater incentive to strive for quality, having limited resources from which to create a final blend.

Winemaking: How To Make Wine Better

When I taste a finished wine, I am coming to terms with a number of important quality characteristics that inevitably lead me back to the wine’s elevage – its creation in the cellar. When I taste a young wine in the cellar, I am reading the wine’s health and potential – how it will taste the best many months or years in the future. Off-the-clock, I enjoy certain winemaking styles and varieties more than others. But knowing and making wine are two entirely different things. The flashpoint of any decision in the cellar is not when a wine is treated or blended with another, but when the wine reaches the consumer.