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

After The Harvest - Tasting Wine for Greatness

All the grapes have been harvested. They have been crushed, de-stemmed, macerated, the musts have fermented. The once exhaustive aromas of carbon dioxide and alcohol have subsided. For those of us in the wine-production industry, it feels as though the leviathan wind that threw open the doors and windows and scattered our effects has finally left the building.

Sulfur in Wine, Demystified

Everyone’s seen the labeling on wine bottles: “Contains Sulfites.” There is no shortage of opinions as to whether sulfur should be used at all in the vineyard or the winery. Much like anything, with opinions comes confusion. As a wine-industry professional, I would like to dispel some of the myths. When it comes right down to it, there is always going to be some sulfur in wine. Sulfur is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process (yes, small amounts of sulfur can be found in bread too) and it is one of the most useful tools a winemaker has.

Oak and Wine, from the Cellar to the Glass

Everyone talks about oak in wine, or the lack of it. It is such a prominent matter of conversation that any wine-tasting in the world will inevitably be seasoned with talk of the wood that has become the number one natural container of choice in the world for winemakers. But what is oak? Why is it so important? Why do some winemakers use oak while others eschew it in favor of other containers like stainless steel?

Rosé Wine - A Winemakers Perspective

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are on vacation. The sun is shining. You are lounging on a veranda and the countryside around you seems to roll forever into the distance like a daydream. In this instance, when your thoughts fade to the warmth of the sun and simple foods and pleasures, there is no reason to confound your bliss with a wine that requires explanation. What your bliss wants is a Rosé. There is no more perfect summer wine than Rosé.

The Perfect Vintage – A Merging of Luck and Opportunity

During the recent Masters of Food & Wine event in Carmel, California, Matthew Lane of Australia’s illustrious Penfold’s winery was asked about his philosophy regarding the treatment of grapes at harvest. Lane leaned into his microphone, and twisting a cork between his fingers said, " It doesn’t matter what treatment we apply to the grapes in order for them to ferment and age appropriately. The quality of the fruit has already been established in the vineyard. There is nothing more we can add to what nature has already done ."