Viticulture Week 10 – The pressure is on!

In Course notes by Classtoglass


Week 10 already. Study leave is only 2 weeks away then da da daaa… dreaded exams. I have two: wine chemistry; a gruelling 2 hour written paper (that I should be quite good at in theory) and an oral presentation for wine making. External wine judges are going to sample my brews. The pressure is on!!  

On top of all that I still have a hefty list of assignments, a forklift course for 5 days during study leave, AND we are moving house! (Hence the lack of pictures this week) Will I crack under pressure? Of course not… crack open some celebratory bubbles maybe! Our new place has space for a Class to Glass HQ and a garage/winery. No more tripping over the wine press several times a day, hurrah! 

Top 3 things I’ve learnt this week:

1. I need to work harder

I have always worked best under a bit of pressure. Despite repeatedly telling my students to start assignments early and not leave things to the last minute, I’ve not exactly taken that advice. Reading too – I must do more. 

I maybe slightly guilty of assuming this course would be a doddle with my academic background. Fascinating yes, easy to grasp yes, but not exactly a doddle. Assignments take time. It’s not too late to make us proud though and it is all under control. I just need to magic a little time and work a wee bit harder! 

2. Social Media Statistics

Some surprising social media statistics that I have used for a marketing assignment: 

  • A significant 90% of marketers said that social media is important to their businesses.
  • A sizeable percentage of marketers (74%) use visual assets in their social media marketing, up from 71% in 2015.
  • 14% of marketers are currently using video and 73% intend to increase their use in the future. (STELZNER, 2016)
  • “There are few skills that will make or break your social media success more than posting frequency.” (Patel, 2016)
  • “Customers have come to expect quick customer service, via whichever channel they choose to contact you. When people reach out to you on social media and receive satisfying and fast responses, their feelings of connection to your company are heightened, and they’re far more likely to … recommend you to their friends.” (Grant, 2015)

3. To filter or not to filter? 

Once upon a time, the market demanded crystal clear white wines and pale rosés that sparkle even without bubbles. Whilst to a point that is still true – for example in France, where they use spectrophotometry (special machines to measure the colour of light) to ensure consistency of colour, it is becoming less so. With an emerging emphasis on supporting local producers, there is a growing fondness for a bit of a rustic haze. However, not all hazes are created equal in wine. Some like in Pét Nats are caused by yeast and fruits from the final stages of fermentation in the bottle. Others are caused by harmless floculated or suspended solids, but occasionaly a haze can indicate something altogether more sinister! 

Once in a while, over time, a bottle can develop a haze, especially under varying temperatures. This haze can be due to proteins or polysaccharides from the grapes becoming unstable (becoming less soluble). Other bad hazes can be caused by metal contamination. Fining can be used to counteract the more sinister hazes, but it is mostly filtering that ensures that your wine becomes crystal clear and safe from microorganisms. But, say for example, your wine is likely to be sold locally within the year, like so many are? You are less likely to have issues with microbes and instability, so producing wines without these final steps is not so problematic.

Furthermore, my little brew is too little for filtering by modern industrial standards. The machines are too big and would simply absorb my 5 litres. So I’m opting for rustic! 

The rest: 

Moving, moving, moving… my rosé got perhaps its last racking to help clarify it, I finished my 2nd assignment and I dressed up as Mr Potato Head for a party… Next up we attend a Shiraz masterclass amidst the move, I have some serious Chemistry practicals and I take my first wine tasting exam! See you next week.

Thanks for reading