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December 15, 2008


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Jeff @ make wine

I think you are correct Adam. People have been making wine for thousands of years. A part of me wants to believe that the wine made in the days of Rome was just as good if not better than the wine we are creating today. And they were not using any sort of scientific yeast. The whole idea of combining science with yeast and wine is just a turn off for me.



You should read my three-post series about the issue of "wild yeasts" more closely. Perhaps then you will see that my summary of the topic is more ambiguous than one-sided.

There are many unanswered questions in this topic and one of them is how does S. cerevisiae get on the grapes to begin with - since the vineyard is not a good environment for this yeast. While I agree that a question can dictate its answer and data can be interpreted differently or put in a different light, I make a point to address the deficiencies in what we know about S. cerevisiae in the wild in my posts.


I agree that there are many variables in the winemaking process and they all affect the wine in a different way.

I do not believe that time on skins for the pinot noir grape will lend to a vast difference between the two wines unless it is a difference of, lets just say, for the sake of argument, 10 or more days. My point is that it would have to be more than a few days difference, which if I were guessing on this particular wine is more like a 1 or 2 day difference, but I will write the winemakers and find out for you.

The means and frequency of cap manipulation were very similar as they both simply employed minimal punch downs daily.

Peak and average temperature of the fermentations were similar and the fermentations finished just a couple days apart.

Both were aged in new and used traditional french oak barrels.

I will find out about the elevage for you but I am certain that it is very similar as well.

The wines I mentioned are made by a husband and wife and are handled virtually identically except for the fermentation regimen.

You are right, the wine does tell a story, but it should just tell the story of the land. That is my point in all of this. Let the wine speak of just the land.

Yes I believe the organisms that are present on the wine skins are desirable in the finished wine. I am not opposed to adding yeasts towards the end of the fermentations, but I believe wine should be allowed to begin to ferment the way God intended. It is part of the beauty and mystery of wine!

Jerry D. Murray


No offense intended but there are likely many differences in how these two wines were produced. Days on skins, means and frequency of cap manipulation, peak and average fermentation tempeture, size of fermentation vessel, cooperage, handling during elevage, etc can all have a tremendous impact on a wine. Are all of these variables the same?

I am by no means stating that you are in anyway wrong in declaring one wine more complex than the other, I haven't tasted these wines so I will defer to you. However I do think chalking this difference in complexity up to differences in yeast alone is problematic.

I agree the truth is always in the taste but the wines tell the story of everything that they have experienced not just one aspect. Though the wine tells us what it has been through there are simply elements of that story that we ( the editorial we ) cannot understand.

Again I will ask; are all of the organisms living in Must at the begining, during and end of fermentation desirable?


I am referring to the wines mentioned in the previous sentence. The Bien Nacido Pinot Noirs offered by Lane Tanner and by Labyrinth. The only difference is the way the fermentations were started. The "nothing else matters" quote refers to the taste. The truth is always in the taste.

Jerry Murray

"reason for this is because of the large number of different microbes that begin the fermentation. End of story. Nothing else matters." Are you implying that the other decsions made by winemakers have no bearing on a wines complexity?

Also SO2 is considered much more of a microbiostatic than a microbiocide, so there is some doubt as to it ability to "kill" the microbes you speak of. Are you sure that all of those microbes are desirable? At what point does "complexity" become a flaw?

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