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Wine Making


Historically, the vine for Carco wine can be traced to Madeira (Portuguese, northwest of Africa) ... the Iberian Peninsula to Madeira and was field blended ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wine Making

Wine Making
  • The adventures and trials of a chemist learning
    to make wine the Benedictine Way

  • Something about myself
  • Something about the chemistry of wine
  • The genesis of my wine making and a look at its

Personal Information Education
  • B.S. Chemistry, St. Procopius College (now
    Benedictine University) 1971
  • M.S. and Ph.D., University of Illinois, Physical
    Chemistry 1980
  • Doctoral Thesis Entanglements and Crosslinking
    in Polybutadiene

Personal Information Experience
  • Clinical Chemist in Renal Research
  • Melt Spinning of Liquid Crystal Polymers
  • Electronics Design and Manufacturing
  • Environmental Audits and Design for the
  • Formulations Chemist for Electronic Materials
  • Currently Technical Conference Director for IPC
  • Winemaker (year 2)

The Chemistry of Wine
  • History
  • Chemistry
  • Personal experience
  • The future

  • Vitis Vinifera The grape. The word wine
    derives from vinus (wine)/vine (grape) (Latin),
    but may be traced further back to Greek.
  • The grape is a relative of Boston Ivy and
    Virginia Creeper originally thought to be from
  • Alcoholic fermentation may date back as far as
    10,000 years. And grapes may not be the original
    source of the sugars fermented to produce
  • A possible origin of alcoholic beverages they
    are food which has spoiled, e.g. cheese.
  • For years fermented drinks served as a source of
    clean liquid refreshment (compared with many
    sources of water) and as a relief from the stress
    of a hard life.

  • In Greece, wine was considered a staple by 700
    B.C. (In Greek, the word for breakfast,
    akratidzomai, means to drink undiluted wine.)
  • However, Italy proved so compatible to the grape,
    that sometime after 200 B.C., the Greek word for
    Southern Italy was Oenotria (land of the grape).
  • After the fall of Rome (410 A.D.) and the
    dissolution of the empire in the dark ages, the
    knowledge of wine making and fermentation were
    kept alive in Europe by Christian
    communitiesprimarily the monasteries. (There are
    a variety of Islamic writings on wine,
    fermentation and distillation, although their
    extent is lesspossibly due to the ban on alcohol
    in Islam.)
  • The first European grapes were successfully
    planted in California by the Franciscan order and
    the many wineries along the Mississippi got their
    start from the early French missionaries.
  • Today California is the largest U.S. state
    producer of wine.

  • Grape-based wines are often classified by either
    generic or varietal names region, although the
    wine may not be from that specific location, e.g.
    Burgundy, or grape type, e.g. Pinot Noir.
  • Wine may be made from a variety of fruits or
    starch containing grains, e.g. Sake.
  • Vintage refers to a wine made from grapes of a
    single year. (Blended wines of different years
    are generally not assigned a vintage.)
  • A varietal wine may have a mix of grapes, but the
    primary grape will make up at least 75 to 85 of
    the total, e.g. Merlot.

The Top 10
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • United States
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • China
  • South Africa
  • Chile
  • Germany

Some Chemistry
  • Fermentation from the Latin fervere, to boil.
  • The anaerobic process by which yeast reacts
    (eats) sugar to produce carbon dioxide and
  • First described in detail by Louis Pasteur

Some Chemistry
  • C6H12O6 ? 2 C2H5OH 2 CO2
  • C6H12O6 ? 2 CH3COCOO- 2H
  • CH3COCOO- H ? CH3CHO CO2 (acetaldehyde if
    allowed to oxidize will yield vinegar acetic
  • CH3CHO NADH ? C2H5OH NAD (Nicotinamide
    adenine dinucleotide)

Some Chemistry
  • All this occurs only in the absence of oxygen.
  • In the presence of oxygen, the reaction proceeds
    all the way to carbon dioxide and water as end
    products aerobic respiration. (In humans this is
    the Krebs cycle carbon dioxide and water.)
  • In the presence of oxygen AND bacterial
    (acetobacter) contamination acetic acid,
    vinegar, is formed from the ethyl alcohol.
  • Generation of high-energy molecules as part of
    anaerobic respiration the energy cycle for the
    yeast. (In humans the end product is lactic
  • Yeast eats sugar and produces waste alcohol.
  • Note the above is a simplified view of a
    multi-step biochemical process with many side

A Little More Chemistry
  • The simplest process of JUST sugar and yeast,
    allowed to react in the absence of air, would (at
    the simplest level) produce alcohol in the form
    of diluted vodka.
  • This would deprive the world of the great
    opportunities for snobbery which are inherent in
    the culture of wine making (to say nothing of
    other alcoholic beverages such as single malt
    scotch, tequila, bourbons and even, shudder,
    light beers).
  • So lets talk about the various (simple) things
    that allow humans to move from simple chemical
    thoughts to the madness of wine tasting…

  • Grape Type
  • Variety
  • Location, especially soil quality (French
  • Weather conditions
  • When the grape is picked, e.g. in German
    spatelese or auslese wines.
  • Skins or no skins red, rose or white
  • Long skin contact red
  • Short contact time rose
  • Filtered juice white

  • Blended or not using one season's crop or
    multiple seasons.
  • Pre-fermentation natural yeast or added yeast
  • Bulk fermentation natural yeast or added yeast
  • Temperature of fermentation
  • White wine 18 20 C
  • Red wine up to 29 C
  • Beaujolais below 20 C preferably around 10 C

  • Sugar natural or added changes the level of both
    alcohol and sweetness.
  • Length of fermentation to the bitter end or
    halted and stabilized
  • Temperature shocked
  • Alcohol doped
  • Sulphite killed
  • Filtered to remove all yeast/bacteria
  • Aging
  • Bulk aging
  • Bottle aging
  • With or without settled yeast (the lees)
  • Temperature
  • Type of container

  • Added flavors Oak, tannin, glycerol, raisins,
  • Fortification added brandy or spirits
    (originally developed to preserve wine in sea
  • Other fermentation processes
  • Bottle fermentation sparkling wines
  • Whole grape fermentation or carbonic maceration
    (fermentation of un-crushed grapes) to produce a
    distinct fruit flavor, e.g. Beaujolais.
  • Malolactic fermentation (bacteria based)
    converting malic into lactic acid done either
    during primary fermentation or afterwards to
    produce a smooth buttery taste.

Chemistry Side Effects
  • Other products of the fermentation process
  • Aldehydes
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Acetic acid (acetobacter contamination)
  • Ketones
  • Mercaptans
  • Fusel oils (higher weigh alcohols)
  • Thiols
  • Di-carboxylic acids
  • Aromatic compounds such as terpenes, phenols and
    norisoprenoids that add bouquet to the wines.
  • Added sulphite (usually in the form of potassium
    meta-bisulphite) as a sterilizing agent.
  • At any stage of the game, cross contamination by
    bacteria or other yeast strains may highjack
    the process and result in spoilage.

Personal Experience
  • St. Procopius Monastery (124 years old)
  • The grapes
  • Process
  • Results

St. Procopius

The Vineyard at St. Procopius
  • Monastery records indicate that the vineyard was
    planted somewhere around the turn of the century.
  • The exact date is not known although wine
    production is mentioned in letters from the early
    part of the 20th century.
  • Thus the vineyard has been in continuous
    cultivation for 100 years.
  • Three grape varieties
  • Concord
  • Niagara White
  • Carco Red

The Vineyard at St. Procopius the Early Days
The Vineyard at St. Procopius Today
The Vineyard at St. Procopius
  • Concord the grape juice grape
  • Niagara White a hardy white grape common in
    Illinois wineries.
  • Carco Red ?

St. Procopius Carco Red
  • There is no specific strain called Carco Red.
  • However research with the University of Illinois
    and wineries in the area yielded the following
  • Historically, the vine for Carco wine can be
    traced to Madeira (Portuguese, northwest of
  • Most probably it came via the Iberian Peninsula
    to Madeira and was field blended with Malvasia
    grapes and taken to Corsica.
  • It is also cultivated in France under the name
  • In Spain, it would be known as Vin Santo
  • This vine is most probably a variant of
    Vermentino/Vin Santo brought here from either
    from France, Spain or Corsica. 

How I Came to be Involved
  • Alumni of St. Procopius College (way back when)
  • Still identify with monastery and know many monks
  • Through the lay program at the monastery, I
    learned that the vineyard and orchard were still
    active (last of the 1000 acre original farm)
  • Volunteered to help and in return asked to be
    taught how to make wine (no wine had been made
    for two years when I started)
  • During my first year half of the grapes were
    given to food pantries. Half I got to play with!
  • In my second year my wine making has expanded in
    size and scope to include wine and cider making
    using the apple orchard.

The Wine Making Process as I Learned It
  • In the early Spring, vines are pruned and weeded
    to reduce the number of grape clusters increased
    grape size.
  • In late summer as grapes appear, care must be
    taken to protect grapes from raccoons and deer
    (electric fence).
  • Grapes are picked when they have no trace of
  • Vines are harvested as they mature, with grapes
    being stored in a walk-in cooler. (In 2007, we
    picked about 800 poundsof which 400 were made
    into wine. In 2008 we harvested almost 2000
    pounds of which nearly 1000 were made into wine.)
  • When all grapes have been harvested they are
    crushed mechanically using a hand powered crusher
    or the old fashioned way by stomping. (Some
    grapes were also used to make a Beaujolais style
    wine carbonic maceration with no crushing

The Wine Making Process as I Learned It
  • Potassium Metabisulphite is added to the crushed
    grapes (must) to reduce bacterial growth.
  • In contact with the skins, the grapes pre-ferment
    from natural yeasts for one to two weeks or until
    the must is floating on the juice.
  • At that time, the grapes are pressed and juice
    separated from the must.

Grape Cold Storage by Experimental Variable
Cleaning the Grapes
The Mechanical Crusher
Pre-Fermentation Must Crushed
Pre-Fermentation Must Stomp
The Wine Press
The Wine Press
The Wine Press
Pre-Fermented Pressed Juice
Sugar and More Yeast
Filling the Jugs
The Variations We Experimented With
  • In 2007 by changing the levels and types of yeast
    and ratios of sugar to juice, we ended up with 12
    variations on a theme.
  • In 2008 we chose the most popular formula (Br.
    George's recommendation that I was too stubborn
    to accept the first time but input from our
    tasters proved him right) from 2007 and used
    experimental variables of
  • Constant ratio of 4 gal juice, 1 gal water (7 lb
    sugar per gallon) with one package of Champagne
    yeast per 5 gal of the mixture.
  • Grape type (all varieties including the wild
    grapes were separated by type)
  • Pruning used
  • Light prune
  • Heavy Prune
  • Prune with and with out weeding
  • Crushing used mechanical or foot
  • Bulk aging until bottling with and without
    contact with yeast lees

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Other Wines for 2008
  • Apple Wine
  • Apple cider
  • 1 lb sugar and package of champagne yeast per 5
  • Small quantities of tannin, pectin enzyme, yeast
    nutrient and Vitamin C added.
  • No stabilizers were added at bottling.
  • Beaujolais style wine
  • Remaining grapes in cooler were inoculated with
    71B-1122 Saccharomycus Cerevisiae and Champagne
  • They were allowed to crush under their own weight
    in a barrel saturated with carbon dioxide, i.e.
    carbonic maceration
  • Primary fermentation lasted 3 weeks in cool
  • Grapes were pressed and allowed to secondary
    ferment for 2 months.
  • Wine was racked and stabilized by addition of
    stabilizers (KMBS, Potassium Sorbate and Vitamin
    C) and grain alcohol.

Results 2007
  • 246 (0.75 l) bottles.
  • 8 bottles of fortified wine also produced.
  • 17 tastings by 8 tasters done during process
    as quality control.
  • General conclusions
  • Ratio of juice to water appears overshadowed by
    yeast although a high juice to water appears
  • Use natural yeast if possible or added yeast with
    extra sugar.
  • Decanting to remove sludge not needed.
  • Based on tasting the decision was made to
    separate by grape type in the next year and
    compare heavily pruned (thin skin) with lightly
    pruned (thick skin) grapes. The 41 ratio of
    juice to sugar/water with Champagne yeast was
    picked as the best candidate formula.

Results 2008
  • Approximately 450 bottles of wine are expected.
    (As of 1/23/09, 60 bottles representing the wild
    grapes, the white and rose grapes, the apple and
    the Beaujolais wine had been bottled.)
  • 3 bottles of fortified wine have also been
  • Tastings by 5 tasters done during the process
    as quality control suggest
  • The wild grapes have produced the best wines.
  • The Carco Rose evokes strong feelings Some like
    it and some dont!
  • The White Niagara and the apple are good but dry.
  • The Beaujolais is rated good but has some vinegar
    overtones indicting the process needs to be
    tightened next year.
  • For next year the decision to prune heavily or
    not will depend on the taste results from the
    Concords that are still aging.

The Future
  • Work will start on the 2009 crop, pruning and
    weeding, in early spring.
  • Bottling of the Concords should be complete by
  • One wine tasting for the monks was done in July
    of 2008. An initial sampling of the early bottled
    wines was held for the monks in January 2009.
  • As volunteers we continue to be at the disposal
    of the community and hope to continue to assist
    in preserving this Benedictine heritage.

  • On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee
  • Wines Their Sensory Evaluation, M. Amerine and
    E. Roessler
  • The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil
  • Winery Technology and Operations, Yair Margallit
  • Wine Chemistry, Yair Margallit
  • The University Wine Course, Marion Baldy