Post 10

“For so many years”

I have wondered past that place, the control room, the cockpit or the engine room of every winery. The place surrounded by walls with the odd large glass window or viewing platform where all in the cellar can be viewed without conductors of the winemaking symphony moving an inch. The place where quiet prevails and the only sound is the printer churning out work orders like some automated newspaper press just rolling them out one after another in a never-ending cycle. A quick glance is all I have the time for as I hastily move from one job to another having proudly covered great distances at each shift end and nearly always just catching up with the printer that never sleeps.

“What do they do all day?”

Seemingly unmoving with one or more glowing screens they stare into the labyrinth of words and tables transfixed as if hypnotized by big brother ready to print out that next order from the digital dictator that rules their existence at the touch of a button. I slip quietly into the Control centre like a thief in the night and scurry away with a handful of new orders hot off the press ink still drying hoping not to have disturbed anyone’s train of thought as they seem to be so transfixed by the glowing light as if working out their next move in a life or death game of chess.

“Well finally I think I know”

Thanks to the wine finishing course I finally have a better understanding of why the modern-day winemakers truly are unable to take their eye off the ball for more than a second. From the moment of conception, the road to a finished wine has but a few considerations:


  • Are my grapes ready is the Brix and acid at the right amount
  • Has the vineyard spray diary been checked for clearance
  • Have I the right tanks booked for the expected tonnage
  • What is the sulphur levels on the grapes
  • Is there adequate YAN for fermentation
  • Have I ordered the right yeast, fining agents and additives ready for fermentation
  • Are my fining products legal in the planned destination country
  • How will I clarify my juice
  • How will I filter my lees
  • When should I stop the ferment, what residual sugar do I need
  • If reductive should I feed my ferment if so when and with what
  • Should I aerate to assist volatilization
  • If volatile compounds arise are they varietal or negative fermentative
  • Do I need to remove H2S with copper
  • When can I organise a copper trial
  • What is the legal limit for CuS04 in the planned country of sale
  • Will copper work or do I need to add ascorbic acid first
  • When should I rack off ferment lees
  • How can I manage dissolved oxygen to avoid oxidation
  • What are my current levels of DO
  • How much DO can my wine take through each winery activity
  • How can I minimize O2 pick up in the cellar ops I give out
  • Just how accurate is my O2 meter
  • Have I checked the F/Tso2 and VA recently or gassed the ullage with CO2
  • When should I filter the wine
  • What type of filter should I use
  • Is my wine Heat and cold stable
  • Have I filtered the wine enough to remove microorganisms, yeast and bacteria
  • What is the DCO2 and is it in spec to ship out
  • What transport method should I organize for shipping, Flexi, ISO or trucks
  • Is the transport required available to book
  • Is the wine WECS certified in spec and ready to ship
  • If bottling what will my label look like
  • What shape bottle should I choose and what type of closure
  • Does my label comply with the international labelling law for country of destination
  • Have I declared any additives and are they legal at destination
  • Have I tracked the wine’s composition exactly with it’s GI correctly displayed
  • What is my target market how can I research them
  • How will I market the wine at the destination and organise promotions
  • Have I set up my marketing correctly, branding, pricing and web site design
  • Am I targeting the right consumer with this wine
  • Have I planned to minimize the risks for my shipment to its destination
  • Have I planted the right varieties for the growing markets
  • Are my winegrowing practices sustainable into the future
  • Have I covered all the above for all of my wines

So A final thanks

To NMIT for the enlightenment into the complex world of a winemaker

To Grammaly for patiently guiding me through my course without complaint

By Andrew Bassett


Bassett A (2020) Cellar master Vinlink Marlborough

Post 8

Globalization Of Wine

For many decades the interaction of wine across continents involved little more than the exporting of wine cuttings and traditional production expertise. Most wine was consumed locally in the country until transport and communication costs fell in the 1980’s. That made it more affordable for many producers to then focus on export even buying vineyards and wineries abroad to produce wine to blend and make large homogenous quantities to supply big supermaket chains with ” commercial premium wines.

This practise has seen the global wine exports rise from just 3% to over 25% from the late 1980’s to 2004. With the rise of bulk shipping technology enabling quantities of up to 24000 ltrs to be shipped in bladders the exporting of commercial premium wines offer greater opportunity to blend wines from any region of the world.

With Europe producing 65 – 70 % of world wine and New world countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South America all on the rise feeding the bulk market, so does this actually mean that some premium wine markets will see homogonization occuring around the world and more consistent flavours and aromas to offer the consumer.

The answer is both YES and No.

Yes as companies grow and expand and begin to blend larger and larger quantites the consumer can expect some consistency in brands they enjoy.


No many similarities in production methods across the globe still produce very different tastes in the same varieties simply because the soil, the fruit, and the climate are so different. Globalization in the industry has seen forms or vineyards bought by winemakers from other countries who have maintained their production standards just adapted it to the fruit and the harvest in different countries.

The positive to the consumer is the diversity and taste that can be available from globalization. Certain indigenous varieties from climatically different areas also bring great diversity. The different environments that the grape variety develops in will bring out different aromas so the consumer now gets to choose from what country they enjoy say a cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay for instance. Another benefit of globalization is there are now so many different types of wine for different types of consumer-available for all to try.

Choosing wine for dinner.” Look darling made from a blend from NZ. They don’t have covid there let’s buy It”.

In Closing, I would add that diversity is available from all corners of the earth and with changing climates and movement toward organic farming to protect the environment. Biodiversity becoming more important creating even more choices. The consumer is the winner hands down.

By Andrew Bassett

ref :


Post 7

International Labelling and GI laws

GI Joe

Did you know a popular theory links the term to the early 20th century when “G.I.” was stamped on military trash cans and buckets. The two letters were an abbreviation for galvanized iron which the material was made from. GI was reinterpreted as a ” government issue” and that’s where most people have heard the term.

Not So with Wine

G I in its simple form stands for Geographical Indicator. I use the term “simple” as from an EU point of view this term becomes more and more complex after the EU adopted new laws introduced in 2009.

Wines from the EU can now be;

Protected Designation Of Origin (PDO)


Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI)

The EU takes in most of the significant wine-producing countries in Europe which produce about 60% of the world’s wine. In 2009 they introduced a three-tier system of wine classification in which most countries could fit their own complex classification systems into so as not to cause unrest for the people who were already familiar with their own historical systems.

The OIV ( The International organization of vin and wine), has set out

Compulsory Information

Set Out By The OIV
Use of the word “Wine”
Country of Origin
GI or Appellation
Alc %
Additives ie contains sulfites
Nominal Volume
Batch ID
All must figure in the single field of vision


Name of viticulture holding
Vintage/ year
Type of wine
Medals and distinctions
Traditional terms of quality ie Grand Vin, cru, superior wine

Each EU country has its own more traditional quality categories which correspond to PDO or PDI based on historical factors. In France for instance they go even further with regulations on Appellations according to the region right down to a single vineyard or Chateaux.

In Germany wines are classified based on the ripeness of the grapes, the traditional term for the PDO classification is Qualtatswein and Pradikatswein, for the next tier down Tafelwein and Landwein. These self-imposed extra regulations can open up membership to organizations of top quality wineries which of course once you have the stamp of approval, you can charge a premium for your product.

In Italy PDO is DOCC, and PDO changes to IGT, all are traditional terms used to show the consumer the number of hoops a winery will jump through from the type of grape only used or the tonnage harvested per hectare even down to regulative vineyard practices and stringent winemaking rules, all in the hope that the wine will target the end-user as a high-quality product.

So back to the land of the American GI’s ( in fact AVA), the American Viticulture Area is their registered GIs with different states having different rules. With the globalization of wines, every destination for your wine’s label must be considered.

It’s no wonder that most winemakers in the New world breathe a sigh of relief as now most New world GI or Appellation systems solely focus on the geographical area where the wine is from very similar to NZ GI. This in turn makes the system less complex than that of the PDO systems of the EU and other old world countries.

Thank Goodness for progress

By Andrew Bassett


Power point Presentation (

Post 6

Packaging and Logistics

You Know after many years in the wine industry one of my most satisfying jobs has always been loading in bulk, mostly Flexi tankers and I.S.O’S. There something hugely rewarding in dispatching such large volumes in just one go. Filling a 24000ltr container with finished wine in less than half an hour really gives you the feeling of just how quick wine is exiting your business. Yes, in reality, filling ISO’s and Flexi’s really is the equivalent of selling 64,000 bottles an hour and if that doesn’t give you job satisfaction knowing just how many people you are serving in one sitting around the globe then nothing will. Obviously, I’ve spent way too many hours working out that Santa clause is the only other person reaching that many people at once.

This, of course, is only possible due to industry leading logistics management systems and planning by bulk shipping companies such as JF Hillerbrand who provide safe, reliable, and cost effective service in bulk wine transportation. Not only do they manufacture their own flexitanks, prepare and fit them out ready for loading, but organize haulage to port, then sea freight, and finally haulage to the consignee. Once the Flexi bag has been recycled they organize the bulkhead recovery.

Why do I think bulk is the way to go ?

  • Economical – container hold 24,000 ltr compared to just 10,584 bottles
  • Environmental benefits – reducing the carbon footprint
  • Bottling at destination – Further reduces carbon emissions

All this minimizing our carbon footprint

Phew!! Out the door it goes, pat on the back..

This may be what seems to be the end of the road for that delicious wine you made this year as you sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive, but it is always wise to consider just what are the risks for that wine on its journey.


Rail Networks

Blank sailings

Ocean forecasting

Conjestion Demurrage

Risk Delays Ship Capacity

Inventory Detention

Trucking logistics

Global Pandemics

As the demand for containers plummets, this year due to the lack of exports globally, shipping and trade routes have been hugely disrupted. In fact, the global container industry lost over 5.7 million TEU’S ( 20 ft equivalent units) cargo capacity in the peak of Covid 19 and lockdowns compared to 2019, which is a staggering -7%.

Decline in container shipping

So all in all it could be a long wait for that cheque….

By Andrew Bassett




Often heard the term “thiols” before? Well, there are a couple of types of volatile thiol compounds or commonly known as “sulphur compounds”. The ones produced during fermentation are usually undesirable because sulphur containing aromas can smell like the mud pools in Rotorua on a bad day.

The other varietal sulphur compounds actually originate in the grape berry and can be quite desirable especially as a well-known aromatic in our very own NZ savvy. This happens when yeast converts odourless precursors into volatile thiols producing…….you guessed it grapefruit and passion fruit.

During fermentation, the fermentative sulphur compounds such as Marcaptans, di-Sulphides, and Dimethyl Sulphides all evolve from Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), but it’s good to note that sulphur compounds can also develop later during storage or aging. H2S is particularly noticeable during ferments when there isn’t enough nitrogen or YAN available for the yeast in the juice when converting sugars to alcohol. This means that simply H2S cannot be reconverted by the yeast back into amino acids and is then released back into the juice. It as this point that winemakers can make additions of Diammonium phosphate (DAP) this is because when there is a high demand for amino acid production DAP additions at this stage will reduce the final H2S.

The temperature of the environment in which the yeast are growing also affects the amount of sulphides produced. Less H2S is produced at lower temperatures mainly due to the fact that H2S is more soluble in colder liquid and has less chance to be removed into the air by the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. That is why glycol tank cooling systems have become such a large part of winery development to ensure ferment temperatures can be controlled to the degree.

Glycol cooling
Really there is no better way to keep those unwanted sulphides at bay than to ensure that the environment that the yeast is in has the right amount of elemental sulphur on the grape skins from the vineyard, choosing the right yeast strain with less H2S production, ensuring good amounts of YAN and vitamins with additions at the right time and with controlled ferment conditions with available oxygen and removing off old lees. If all these contributing factors are kept in check this will keep the yeast stress to a minimum and will reduce autolysis and ultimately reduce the production of sulphides.

By Andrew Bassett


Butzke, C.E., (1997). Of Rotten Eggs, Burnt Rubber & Cooked Cabbage – A Review and Update on Sulphide Formation

Zoecklein, B. W., Fugelsang, K.C, Gump, B.H., Nury, F.S. (1999). Wine Analysis and Production. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Aspen Publishers, Inc.

Zoecklein, B. W., (2007). Factors Impacting Sulphur-Like Off Odors in Wine, and Winery Options, Part 1.

Post 3 Wine Filtration

Why on earth would a winemaker filter a beautiful bouquet filled wine down to less than 0.45 microns and risk removing some of those compounds which ultimately are the building blocks of a full and complete great tasting and aromatic wine.

A common answer across the board is simply to be competitive in the current world market as the majority of consumers seem to have developed an expectation of how they want most wines to be presented with any chance of rogue unwanted yeast or bacteria microbial removed, pretty much in the same way we expect our food to be. Clean sterile and safe to drink.

As if it isn’t enough to have been clarified in many of the old techniques like settling off solid lees and racking off fining tartrates, we now can save a huge amount of time in the process of clarifying by using diatomaceous earth filters or RDV’s ( Rotary drum vacuum) with perlite, push through pad filters or more commonly in bigger wineries these days using new technology mechanized membrane crossflow filtration units capable of filtering any type of wine down to less than 1 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit) measurement of clarity or turbidity in wine quickly and efficiently.

It seems as if The crossflow has really taken off as it has a high return rate with very little waste (retentate) which in turn can be refiltered through more robust forms of filtration. Many wineries are choosing to move away from using D.E filters now as they have their own health and safety risks associated with inhalation of dust particles and RDV ‘S can be pretty messy at times with expensive removal of waste.

Perlite goes to land fill at present

So just what are we trying to Filter out exactly:

Visible particles

Mammalian Cells

yeast and Moulds


But wait, filtration needs to be monitored otherwise we risk the removal of substances or molecules that make up the very structure of the wine. These include the sugars, acids and alcohols, and larger molecules such as colloids which naturally occur in wine such as Tannins, Pectins, Polysaccharides, coloured phenolics, and proteins. Crossflow filtration has the capability of filtering down to 0.2 microns which allows all those important molecules for wine structure and flavour through but still removes unwanted nasties.

We must not forget those unfiltered wines presented to market which have had a great deal of attention to detail during the winemaking process. These wines need to be microbially and physically stable through natural processes and not filtration.

“A brave move these days in my view”

By Andrew Bassett


Reeves G., et al. How to choose a wine cross-flow microfiltration system. The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker. April 2005. 87-92

Cross-flow filtration: A new approach to wine clarification. (2007). Filtration & Separation, 44(2), 36-39