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Vinovation

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Jim Hickman

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Vinovation

by Jim Hickman » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:02 pm

Article on CNN.com regarding the rising alcohol content in wine.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflif ... index.html

It also mentions the process of vinovation in reducing the alcohol content in wine. Anyone knowingly had a wine that's been through this process? Was it still good? Just seemed a little strange the way they take out the alcohol and the water and then added water back in.

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David Creighton

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Re: Vinovation

by David Creighton » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:01 pm

well, the purpose is to make it good - or should we say 'better' - than it is before the removal. you don't process the entire batch - but rather say 10% of it and then do trials with adding various amounts back and see which tastes best. of course you might also be trying to get below 14% for tax purposes. a VERY large number of CA wines have undergone this process or similar ones to reduce alcohol. we don't have that problem in Michigan.
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Larry XYZ

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Re: Vinovation

by Larry XYZ » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:52 pm

Clark Smith is pretty tight lipped as to who is clientele is, but has alluded numerous times to how busy he is with the process and the number of wineries that employ him or others doing the same thing . . .

There are a number of reasons why a winery may choose to do this. For larger productions wines, there is a very big economic advantage to having wines under 14% - there are serious tax savings . . . For other wineries, it is simply a matter of balance - they want to release the best wines possible and for numerous reasons, the alcohol content is not in balance with the other components of the wine . . .

I'm not necessarily for or against the concept - I personally prefer to do as little as possible to wines . . . but it is a nice tool to have if need be . . .

Hope that helps. Cheers!
Larry Schaffer
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Jim Hickman

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Re: Vinovation

by Jim Hickman » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:01 pm

Thank you David and Larry,

I have probably drunk many of these wines without realizing it. I, too, subscribe to the less is more philosophy in the wine making process, but if it balances a wine that would otherwise be too hot, I can see it being a good thing. And, as pointed out, the tax implications could be huge on mass produced wines.

Thanks again,
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Duane J

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Re: Vinovation

by Duane J » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:49 am

I know we do alcohol reduction on the wines we make at work. The savings in taxes pays to have it done.
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Larry XYZ

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Re: Vinovation

by Larry XYZ » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:49 am

One other point to make on alc reduction - there are a few different systems / ways to accomplish this. Vinovation takes a very small amounts and gets that to nearly zero percent with the stuff that they keep being 170-180 proof, IIRC, and then you blend this lower alc stuff back in. There's another system whereby the entire lot is put through and the stuff that you won't keep is an 11% alc mixture . . Have not compared and contrasted the 'results' but would be interesting to see . . .

The wineries I would be most interested to 'explore more' are the ones using this not to save on taxes but to put their wines into 'better balance' . . . Would love to taste 'before and afters' . . .

Duane, can you tell the difference on your stuff? Thanks!
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Duane J

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Re: Vinovation

by Duane J » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:38 pm

I know where I used to work we adjusted the alcohol to hit the "sweet spot". The person doing the adjusting must of been able to tell the difference. We did a blind tasting of Zin at work a while back and a person picked a Zin that was at 12.3% as being hot and high alcohol. Makes you wonder if people can tell the alcohol content or not. I have heard that the balance all changes when you add food to the mix. Seems to me all things considered this issue can become very complex.
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Brian Gilp

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Re: Vinovation

by Brian Gilp » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:21 am

Duane J wrote: We did a blind tasting of Zin at work a while back and a person picked a Zin that was at 12.3% as being hot and high alcohol. Makes you wonder if people can tell the alcohol content or not.


I for one have reached for the bottle to check the alc content of wines I thought were hot only to find labeled alc in the low 13%. Not sure that I have ever thought anything as low as 12.3% was hot but have had wines labeled over 15% that I did not think of as hot so I believe that there is more than just the alcohol content that influences the impression of a wine that is hot.
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Victorwine

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Re: Vinovation

by Victorwine » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:43 am

Larry wrote:
There are a number of reasons why a winery may choose to do this. For larger productions wines, there is a very big economic advantage to having wines under 14% - there are serious tax savings . . . For other wineries, it is simply a matter of balance - they want to release the best wines possible and for numerous reasons, the alcohol content is not in balance with the other components of the wine . . .


Not only do they save money because they could now place their wines in a different tax bracket, they also save a considerable amount of money during the harvest operation, (able to pick their grapes in a “single” pass).

You can get the “same result” by picking a block of grapes “earlier” in the harvest season when the grapes are ”ripe” obtaining a wine with 12% alcohol. Another block of grapes “later” in the harvest season when the grapes are “mature” obtaining a wine with 16% alcohol. Later on in the wine making process these two wines can be blended in equal parts to obtain a wine with 14% alcohol. If both batches of wine are deemed “desirable” and of “high quality” a percentage of each can be “held back” and bottled separately.

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Larry XYZ

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Re: Vinovation

by Larry XYZ » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:04 pm

Victor,

Very interesting points indeed. Not having worked with alc reduction, I didn't think of the implications of picking much riper and some blocks and underrripe on others and then adjusting the end product . . .

Of course, you could just get lucky and pick at the right moment . . .
Larry Schaffer
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