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“Enologist related Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with job experience as Enologist. These questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job interview and quickly revise your concepts”

48 Enologist Questions And Answers

2⟩ Tell me what climate do you need to grow grapes?

Grapes are the largest fruit crop on earth. The grapevine prefers the temperate climate in which it evolved, with warm, dry summers and mild winters. Winters of sustained cold kill grapevines. High humidity promotes vine disease.


3⟩ Explain me what is viticulture and enology?

Wine grapes. Vineyard in Brhlovce, Slovakia. Viticulture is the science, production, and study of grapes. It deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. It is a branch of the science of horticulture.


5⟩ Tell me what must a wine be like to be beautiful?

That’s very subjective. Most score driven wines require them to punch you right out of the bottle. Some might consider this beautiful. I don’t. Beauty comes from sustainability. From age-ability. In my opinion.


7⟩ Tell me how is making music similar to winemaking?

The process of general to specific applies. And of course the more experience and success you have, the more you trust this process. Things can always seem in rough shape early on. A line without a surrounding story, a beat without a melody, etc.


8⟩ Tell me what is Enology?

By definition, (o)enology is the study of wine and wine making (Robinson 2006). The field of enology differs from that of viticulture, the science of grape growing, although the two are often intertwined in academic departments across the United States.

An (o)enologist is one that practices the field of (o)enology, and often understands the scientific principles associated with winemaking, including desirable characteristics associated with the grape itself. Enologists tend to understand wine analysis and can make educated decisions during wine production based on the analytical description and, potentially, sensory description of a given wine. Many enologists do not actually have a degree in “enology” per se, although enology degree programs exist throughout the world. In fact, many industry enologists have a science degree in chemistry, microbiology, biology, food science or another related field.


9⟩ Tell me what would you hope people say about your wine?

I just returned from a business trip on the east coast and I met a gentleman who told me that our 2012 Russian River Selection Chardonnay reminded him of Puligny Montrachet, but with a suntan. That is a great compliment and right on par with what I hope people will say about our wines. I like to hear people say that our wines are balanced, have just a kiss of oak and have lots of texture, spice and abundant aromatics.


10⟩ Tell me what is one aspect of your job that might surprise people?

People often think because I make wine I have a better palate than most. I think what surprises people is that I don't believe that to be true. The difference in our palates is what I call 'palate memory'. Meaning, I don't think I can taste any better than anyone else but because I’ve been making wine for so many years and tasting it at all stages my palate remembers what a wine will taste like in a month, two years or eight years if it tastes like this now. I've got this file cabinet in my brain so that when I taste something, I can know what's going to happen with this range of flavors, aromas and everything else. My actual tasting ability is no better than anyone else's. I just have a lot of information that's attached to my palate compared to an average wine drinker.


11⟩ Do you know how much does a vineyard make per acre?

So 1 ton of grapes yields about 60 cases or 720 bottles. If you put all that together, a very low-yielding vineyard that produces 2 tons per acre makes about 1,440 bottles, or 120 cases, while an acre that yields 10 tons produces about 7,200 bottles, or 600 cases.


13⟩ Tell me how important is tasting to the winemaking process?

I taste but at the end of the day, what am I gonna do with that? Once the fruit is in it’s a little late. Smelling the ferments helps me identify if there’s anything going off the rails. But other than that, I love to strap in and wait. Ask me again in a few years. I’ll probably change my mind on this.


14⟩ Tell me what is the name of a winemaker?

A winemaker or vintner is a person engaged in wine making. They are generally employed by wineries or wine companies, where their work includes: Cooperating with viticulturists. Monitoring the maturity of grapes to ensure their quality and to determine the correct time for harvest.


15⟩ Tell me how much do winemakers make a year?

Winemakers with less experience who were charged with tactical decision making, sometimes called a "winemaker 1" position, reported average earnings between $93,000 and $97,000 per year. Those acting as assistant winemakers earned considerably less, averaging $64,000 to $68,000 per year.


16⟩ Do you know which vitamin found in grapes?

In addition to providing us with conventional antioxidant nutrient like vitamin C and manganese, grapes are filled with antioxidant phytonutrients that range from common carotenoids like beta-carotene to unusual stilbenes like resveratrol, and the total number of different antioxidant nutrients in grapes runs well into ...


17⟩ Tell me for people who want to know more about winemaking, what do you recommend?

I would recommend taking a class - an appreciation for wine class is a good place to start. At first you'll learn about wine itself but in most of those classes there will be winemaking portions.

There are also tons of great books out there that you could read. I don't have any specific book recommendations, I would just find one that is interesting to you and start there.

Going on winery tours is a great way to learn about wine and wine making in an interactive atmosphere. You'll see and hear a lot of things that will give you a basic feel of how it's done, especially if you visit during harvest, which I recommend.

During harvest a lot of wineries are looking for help and you can get what's called a 'harvest job'. You'll get to do a lot during harvest with no experience. They'll throw you right into the middle of it. You might get laid off at the end of harvest but if you go back the second year they'll hire you back because they know you know what you're doing. If you do that a couple of times, they see you're interested and a lot of times you can parley the experience of a couple harvests into an actual winery job.


18⟩ Explain me what is an enologist?

An enologist is someone who is responsible for everything having to do with the science (chemistry and biology) of the wine. Their responsibilities vary a lot from winery to winery depending on the winery size, wines produced, and needs of the winery.


19⟩ Explain me what is the most difficult aspect of making wine?

The most difficult aspect of making wine is the capriciousness of it and those times when you don't have control over the process. The weather is the one thing we don't have any control over and when making the wine problems can arise for seemingly no reason. Wine is a living entity and it can sometimes veer off into unplanned directions for inexplicable reasons. They don't always behave the same throughout the process, including growing the grapes.


20⟩ Tell me why did you become a winemaker?

I grew up in apple country and one day I took a trip with my wife to an apple farm. It was during harvest, which would be October, and the place was packed with people like me, tourists, buying apples, apple cider and donuts. I saw that the whole family was involved - the kids were running around helping in the orchard and in the barn, along with their mom, dad and grandfather. I thought "This would be a great kind of atmosphere to raise a family." I was selling wine at the time as well as into drinking it and the ideas just came together.