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