Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir these are just a few types in the long list of wines available. Some wine is made in a small vineyard with only a small patch of grapes while others are produced in vineyards composed of rows upon rows of grapes.
Wine is well known around the world especially in Italy but did you know that Canada also has a growing number of vineyards and is the world’s 39th largest producer? However, when it comes to Ice wine Canada is the world’s largest consistent producer. This type of wine is harvested in the colder months and certain regions in Canada are ideals because there are sustained periods of harvest temperatures below to -8 degrees and colder.
Wine is a significant contributor to many countries GDP and there are so many people involved. That’s why today FoodGrads is giving you the facts about winemakers and providing you with some insight into this interesting career.
1. Winemakers make wine
“professionals who create wine by following the process of wine-making from grape to bottle. Their job will depend on the size and focus of the winery but essentially they are responsible for ensuring that grapes are grown and processed into wines to meet market demands. They lead and manage teams so that wine are produced in compliance to regional regulations. They might perform analytical tests such as pH, titratable acidity and dissolved oxygen. Finally, when short staffed they conduct cellar activities and other necessary tasks.
2. Winemakers have this education
Although formal education might not be required, it is much easier to become a wine maker is you have a degree. It is possible to start your way from the bottom and work your way up. However, it is common for employers to look for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in viticulture, enology, chemistry or food science.
Due to the popularity of wine making there are many schools that offer actual degrees in wine making. In Canada, Niagara College offers a two-year program to become a Winery and Viticulture Technician. In this program student learn about winery operations, viticulture and sales. Courses for this program include viticulture biology, wine chemistry and winery management.
3. Winemakers direct operations
Winemakers do not personally grow all of the grapes by themselves but work with qualified professionals. In order for things to go smoothly, winemakers direct overall operations from harvest to bottle. If successful they will produce high quality wine that exceeds the guests expectations.
4. Winemakers keep track of records
Winemakers maintain a meticulous record of all winemaking activities as this helps them along the winemaking process.
There are different methods available such as a hand written logs or computerized versions but this depends on personal preference. These records help winemakers to identify the wine and its components which include vintage, appellation and alcohol tax class throughout a wine’s stages of life.
5. Winemakers have developed leadership skills
Making wine by yourself is almost an impossible task unless you own your own small strip of grades. Unfortunately, this isn’t the typical case in the wine industry as vineyards are composed of many team members. Wine makers must have well developed leadership skills to supervise other staff and ensure that the development of wine goes smoothly.
6. Winemakers are planners
You might be familiar with the fact that some wines can have a vintage meaning that a wine is made from grapes that were all, or primarily grown and harvested in a single year. To produce wine that is aged takes time and a certain amount of planning. Winemakers effectively know when to harvest grapes and the subsequent processes required to bottle and age wine. Everything comes together to create an incredible drink!
7. Winemakers need to know technical knowledge
On the surface making wine is simple but there is a lot of more to winemaking than meets the eye. Winemakers must acquire a large body of technical knowledge through experience and independent study. Having strong technical knowledge allows winemakers to problem solve by understanding the biological and chemical events that occur during winemaking.
8. Winemakers have these sets of skills
- Patience- Some wines age for a few months while others for many, many years. Winemakers need to be patient during the wine making process as this leads to a superior product in the end. Furthermore, grapes take time to grow and rushing produce is simply something you can not do!
- Creativity- Winemakers need to be creative as wine is an art and a science. Wine makers need to understand a grapes terroir and coax in order to bring out it’s maximum potential. Professionals who are creative can create new tastes never “tasted” before
- Taste and Smell- Any winemaker will tell you that a winemaker needs to have a superb sense of taste and smell to distinguish the smallest of details. Through analytical and acute tasting winemakers can make decisions that will impact the overall taste of the beverage.
Author: Veronica Hislop – Veronica is a recent Chemistry grad from Ryerson University and loves looking at the science in the kitchen. She has a passion for bringing awareness to sustainability in the food industry. When Veronica is taking a break from her food endeavours you will find her at home reading a great novel and playing with her cats.
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