Live virtual wine tasting event for the home winemaker - Done

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Discussions of terroir and climate are all very interesting, but I don't just want to hear about your wine, I want to improve mine! Am I asking too much?
There's a huge difference in the POV of the presenter and the POV of a home winemaker desiring to improve their wines. The presenter is presenting their wine, providing information regarding wine appreciation and pushing wine sales. Probably focusing on the latter more than the former.

Based on my own experiences with wine tastings, I don't expect the presenter to know much about grape growing and/or wine production. This avoids disappointment, although it's nice when the presenter actually knows something.

A panel discussion with successful commercial winemakers would be a better venue, assuming we can find a reason for them to join in.
 

Boatboy24

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I would like to say thank you as well. I enjoyed the presentation and the wine. I thought the reds were good, the Viognier was impressive. If I could offer my take and a suggestion for future events...

My main interest in this tasting was summed up in the question that was asked: How can we home winemakers step up our game and approach the quality of a successful commercial product? The answer I heard (my paraphrased version) was, "you can't". He then went on to explain some of the challenges stacked against us, like the one shot per year thing.

Now I know regular visitors to this forum will not be daunted by such challenges. I see from your comments that you found some value in the discussion. You're able to read between the lines better than me. And maybe that's the best we can expect. But I was thinking it might be helpful if potential presenters knew in advance that we seek information that will improve our own skills. Discussions of terroir and climate are all very interesting, but I don't just want to hear about your wine, I want to improve mine! Am I asking too much?

I've never been to a tasting where I gleaned anything that might improve my wines - until last Friday. Granted, a lot of the information relayed to us related to things that we as home winemakers just can't do. But it's good to know where our hands are tied and where we might do things to simulate or replace what the big guys are doing. That's what prompted my question about multiple yeasts. Fred has got me really interested in that after tasting some of his wines both before and after 'blending' where the only thing he changed was the yeast. Tasting them separately was almost like sampling completely different wines at times. That's an area worth exploring, in my opinion. It was interesting to learn from Jim that they just don't do that. They want a simple, reliable ferment, but are using grapes from 40 different growers on their Cab. That's huge potential for complexity that we'll never have.

But you bring up an interesting point: wouldn't it be fun to have a zoom call with a Tim Vandergrift, or Daniel Pambiachi (not that we could actually make that happen, but let's pretend)? I'm a member on a BBQ/Grilling forum that has done that in the past - not on Zoom, but general Q&A where someone would join for a week and answer questions from members.
 

NorCal

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I’m fortunate to have relationships with 6 or so local commercial winemakers, making very respectable wines. I‘ve had these discussions and @4score and I took two of them out to lunch to discuss this very topic.

There are many little things that can be done, that cumulatively can significantly improve home made wines. All the ones I know of are listed on this thread . The wines I’ve made the last three years are much better than the wines I’ve made in the past.
 

ibglowin

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This event was never billed as being an event to help us make/improve our own individual winemaking processes. They did know we are all winemakers yes but the speaker was not the winemaker nor had he even made any wine in years. He was a however a very experienced Somm. In order to do something like that we would need to recruit an actual commercial winemaker with the time, talents and enough commercial wine that is not only available but also affordable enough to attract a large enough crowd from this forum to make it worthwhile.

I just don't see that ever happening as most smaller commercial/boutique wineries in the area charge at least $40-$70 for a single bottle of wine without shipping added.

We literally have thousands of members on this forum and could only muster enough interest to sign up ~ 20 parties at an average bottle price of $35 shipped. Justin Winery produces approximately 300,000 cases annually now.
 
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SLM

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Yeah well I guess I'm looking for a magic charm that doesn't exist. I'm only a year into this and I'm trying to fast track to an advanced level without putting in the time. Problem is I'm getting on the old side and may not live long enough to be a good winemaker. I read a lot of good advice on this site, much of which I have yet to implement. Appreciate all the help I can get.
 

NorCal

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Yeah well I guess I'm looking for a magic charm that doesn't exist. I'm only a year into this and I'm trying to fast track to an advanced level without putting in the time. Problem is I'm getting on the old side and may not live long enough to be a good winemaker. I read a lot of good advice on this site, much of which I have yet to implement. Appreciate all the help I can get.
Just my opinion.

I found there are fundamentals (good fruit, sanitation, clean ferments, proper storage) that someone starting out can understand and execute to make wine that is just fine to drink (say $5- $12) bottle of wine. After that it is an accumulation of a number of actions that cummulatively raise the quality of the wine to the point it could be blind tasted against higher priced wines ($15-$30). Making wine that would stand up blind against 90+ (wine advocate, wine spectator) is truely a feat and there are plenty of professional winemakers that fail to achieve this in their careers.

The biggest factors that make it difficult for the home winemaker (which was mentioned during the call) is access to fruit, ability to make picking decision, temperature control and most importantly knowledge and experience.
 
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Yeah well I guess I'm looking for a magic charm that doesn't exist.
The most effective way to become a good winemaker is exactly what you're doing. Read, research, and discuss. There's no rushing this -- a lot depends on how you assimilate information and learn from previous actions. Add to that the seasonal / yearly cycle of fruit, and the need to use the highest quality fruit (which is rarely available).

IMO, focus on the best wine you can make today. Improve tomorrow's wine with what you learn and experience. Repeat the cycle as long as you can.
 

ibglowin

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Happiness in life is all about the journey. Not the final destination. Make the best wine you can with the time and tools you have. Enjoy it every chance you can with friends and family.

Problem is I'm getting on the old side and may not live long enough to be a good winemaker.
 
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Chuck E

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This event was never billed as being an event to help us make/improve our own individual winemaking processes. They did know we are all winemakers yes but the speaker was not the winemaker nor had he even made any wine in years. He was a however a very experienced Somm.

I used the event to "meet" the other 19 folks who are active on this blog, and collectively enjoy a wine tasting of a good wine. I wanted to understand how the Justin wine is crafted as a part of tasting & enjoying it. I took the liberty of opening some of my similar wines to taste with the Justins. I was pleasantly surprised that the quality of my wine was near the quality of the Justins.

The quality of the fruit at harvest is paramount to making a 90+ point wine. I always envy the winemakers here, who have access to the vineyards.
Still, I strive to make the best wine from the sources available to me.

I would be pleased if we can make this a regular event. Thanks again to all participants!
 
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