Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by NorCal, Nov 1, 2019.

Wine Making Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk by donating:

  1. Jan 15, 2020 #61

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    12,590
    Likes Received:
    7,841
    I'd be curious to know about their use of sulfite. Do they go with minimums recommended based on pH, or higher than that?
     
  2. Jan 15, 2020 #62

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    20,710
    Likes Received:
    10,543
    Location:
    Northern Nuevo Mexico
    Here is an easy one. I am pretty sure most if not all wineries in WA State do not adjust the pH at all. If the grapes come in at the proper phenolic/physiological ripeness they go with it. Much the same growing conditions in your area of NOCAL maybe even hotter. Do they mess with what Mother Nature brought them?
     
  3. Jan 15, 2020 #63

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Chronologically Gifted Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    5,987
    Likes Received:
    1,919
    Why would we want to make our homemade wines taste as bad as commercial wines?
     
    Boatboy24 and cmason1957 like this.
  4. Jan 15, 2020 #64

    Chuck E

    Chuck E

    Chuck E

    Supporting Members WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2018
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    201
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago burbs
    I want to make the best wine possible on a small scale. If I can duplicate the techniques of the best Napa wineries, that has to improve my wine; don't you think?
     
  5. Jan 15, 2020 #65

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

    Junior Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Messages:
    3,370
    Likes Received:
    2,042
    To me commercial is a relative term. Of course there are the large commercial wineries that turn out hundreds of thousands of cases a year that probably have several winemakers that never touch the wine, but then there are the boutique wineries which are also considered commercial but actually have a winemaker that is hands on through the entire process. I'm not sure but I believe this is the type of winery and winemaker @NorCal is referring to.
     
  6. Jan 15, 2020 #66

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    2,734
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Placer County, CA
    Good point, "commercial" is a broad statement. Since most commercial wines are sold for under $9 and while there are some good ones, there are a lot of bad ones. I want to make a the quality of wines that my favorite, local winery makes. I can get the same quality fruit that they do, but in blind tasting, I don't think my wines would fair well against them.

    The winery sells into the $25-$35 category and I have seen their winery grow a lot in the past 5 years. The owner/winemaker is passionate with intense attention to detail and the hired winemaker is a UCD grad and has really improved their wines since joining them around 5 years ago. They have plenty of 90+ point wine enthusiast, wine spectator wines and have done well at SF Chronicle event as well. They are the only wine club I belong to and I shake my head when I drink their wine, saying, why can't my wines taste like this. @4score have a list of 46 questions right now, so we are going to have to figure out how to make the session flow, without it being a big question answer session, while still getting the answers to the questions we want to ask.
     
    mainshipfred and Chuck E like this.
  7. Jan 15, 2020 #67

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    2,734
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Placer County, CA
    I will ask. The grapes from our area tend to be out of balance pH wise. I make Cab Franc out of the same grapes they make their Cab Franc out of. I dump a pound of tartaric acid in every bin (1,000 pounds) of Cab Franc I make, to bring the starting pH closer to 3.6-3.7, from 3.9-4.0
     
  8. Jan 15, 2020 #68

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Chronologically Gifted Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    5,987
    Likes Received:
    1,919
    Guys, please! I posted that in jest. (For some reason I can't get emojis to work consistently on my posts or you all would have understood that.)

    I know what NorCal means and what he is trying to do and I applaud his efforts. I am also sure that his wines are much better than the credit he gives them. I know this, a. because he is an old car guy (like I used to be with my Packard's), b. because I read his posts which are invariably accurate and sensible and c. because anyone who could restore that 'Stang like that has to be a perfectionist. In the patois of the classic car hobby, he is not trying to make just a "driver," rather he is going for Pebble Beach.
     
    Ajmassa likes this.
  9. Jan 15, 2020 #69

    1d10t

    1d10t

    1d10t

    stewbum

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2018
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    sitting on a park bench
    Would they let you hang around if you managed to get some vacation days at the right time/times?
     
  10. Jan 15, 2020 #70

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    2,734
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Placer County, CA
    You would think it would be that easy, but not in California where you cannot volunteer for a for-profit business. It is hard to believe, but it's true (article).

    Thanks @Rocky for your impression of my capabilities, but I truly feel like I'm still on the wine making learning curve and that I should be producing better wines than I am, with the fruit that I have available. I feel like I can make wine that is clean and free of faults, but I don't see them winning 90+ points from a major review source. Hopefully I'll gain some info to close the gap between where I am and the commercial quality wine I aspire to make.
     
    mainshipfred and sour_grapes like this.
  11. Jan 16, 2020 #71

    Johnd

    Johnd

    Johnd

    Large Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Messages:
    5,866
    Likes Received:
    5,453
    Location:
    S Louisiana
    I subscribe to the theory. You can learn to make wine without flaws, and you can duplicate many of the techniques, the hardest part is getting your hands on the fruit. Some techniques may be a bit of a stretch if costly equipment is involved, carbonic maceration comes to mind.

    One of my favorite wineries is Del Dotto, I’m using the same yeast and barrels that they do for some of their cabs, but couldn’t weasel much more info about their production process, there are so many other variables to consider. Without the fruit, whether it’s from the best areas of CA, or WA, or OR, it’s hard to duplicate superior results. I’m satisfied making the best wine I can from the fruit I am able to get, at least for now....
     
    Boatboy24 and Chuck E like this.
  12. Jan 16, 2020 #72

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

    Junior Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Messages:
    3,370
    Likes Received:
    2,042
    That's interesting, I often help out at wineries as do many others. I wonder if Virginia has the same law.
     
  13. Jan 18, 2020 #73

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    2,734
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Placer County, CA
    We had our meeting. It FAR exceeded my expectations.

    There were 4 home winemakers, the owner/winemaker and the hired UCD winemaker. We were there for a total of 3 hours and included tasting all their wines and the owner/winemaker tasting ours. There is a lot of information and I want to gather everyone’s collective thoughts/take aways and I won’t be able to do it until Monday.

    Suffice it to say, I have a number of things that I know I can do that will make a substantial difference.
    38AC995D-110F-4458-BB60-471E4322509E.jpeg
     
    Dom Lausic, ibglowin, Chuck E and 7 others like this.
  14. Jan 18, 2020 #74

    jburtner

    jburtner

    jburtner

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    542
    Likes Received:
    333
    That’s great news. Looking forward to reading your notes.

    Cheers!
    -johann
     
  15. Jan 18, 2020 #75

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Just a Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,373
    Likes Received:
    2,724
    I smell a future editorial piece for winemaker mag.
     
    Dom Lausic and Boatboy24 like this.
  16. Jan 18, 2020 #76

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    12,590
    Likes Received:
    7,841
    Could you contract out for $1?
     
  17. Jan 18, 2020 #77

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    12,590
    Likes Received:
    7,841
    I'd be surprised. There are a ton of places that wouldn't get harvest done if it weren't for volunteers. Granted, the volunteers usually eat and drink fairly well when the work is done, but they certainly aren't paid.
     
    mainshipfred likes this.
  18. Jan 19, 2020 #78

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    2,734
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Placer County, CA
    CA requires min wage $12, going up $1 hr each year for the next 3 years. Love the weather, not fond of the politics.
     
    Boatboy24 likes this.
  19. Jan 19, 2020 #79

    bshef

    bshef

    bshef

    Highland Meadow Vineyard

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    55
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Virginia
    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits employees from volunteering at a for profit business. So how does all that work in Virginia? It can get complicated. The vineyard on a farm winery may be an agricultural entity that sells grapes to the winery. Depending on the number of employees on the farm, the farm may be exempt from the agricultural provisions of the FLSA. Some Virginia vineyards really rely heavily on volunteers. Others not so much or none at all. Virginia is heavily supporting agrotourism so it appears the state is not worrying about a little volunteerism. The feds are too understaffed to bother enforcing volunteerism by rich wine geeks when the minimum wage and overtime laws are ignored for folks earning $7.25 per hour.
    The California situation was the state of California enforcing the state minimum wage and overtime laws. That was not the feds. The feds are more concerned about migrant workers not being paid and being housed in hovels.
    This may change in Virginia. OSHA has started inspecting small wineries so who knows what is next?
     
  20. Jan 19, 2020 #80

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    Boatboy24

    No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    12,590
    Likes Received:
    7,841
    Sounds like you need a firm, fixed price contract with them. ;)
     

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder