January 2019

Happy New Year! Now that the vines have gone to sleep for the winter, we are looking toward the New Year and making plans for sensory sessions and new experiments, as well as turning our efforts toward the wines in the winery. This newsletter will focus on volatile acidity, its causes, and its remediation.


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Sensory Sessions

Sensory sessions are coming! We are busy planning sensory sessions for the New Year. Each session will center around 1-2 general themes with several experiments related to each theme. For example, our first session on Jan 23 will explore Production of Thiols in Aromatic Wines and Methods to Treat Protein Instability. Please consider attending tastings in your area. This is an opportunity to experience the wines for yourself and participate in discussion of the projects and concepts. Your sensory impressions also provide statistical data for the project. If you have suggestions of how to make the tastings more meaningful, please let me know. Newsletters will coincide with the themes of the tastings, so even if you are not able to make it to the tasting, you can still have access to the information that is shared.  

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Bentonite Trials

Which bentonite product is right for you? There’s a trial for that, and we need your help! One of the experiments we will be tasting at an upcoming sensory session is a “Consumer Reports” style trial of bentonite products. We are excited to have a number of vendors participating in this trial. The trial itself will look at cost, efficacy in removing protein, compaction rate, and of course, sensory effects.  In conjunction with the product testing, we want to know about your usual practices for protein stability. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey. Your answers will be kept anonymous. Results will be tallied and shared at the tasting and on the website as part of this study.

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Vineyard Trials

Now is a GREAT time to start planning vineyard experiments for next year. We would love to partner with you as you try out new approaches or implement more traditional methods in a “modern” setting. For WRE trials, we prefer if the trial culminates in wine that can be analyzed and tasted, however if you want to do a pilot study of grapes or juice only, we can still help set things up. If you are thinking about a vineyard experiment, please let me know if you would like this included as a WRE trial or just want some help with experimental design.


How to Treat High VA Wines

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Despite our best efforts in the vineyard and good decision making in the winery, many winemakers still face a few lots from 2018 with higher VA than desired. As we learn the lessons of this vintage, and consider our options going forward, here are a few notes on VA:

Volatile Acidity: Definition, legal limits, sensory thresholds

Where did it come from? Causes of Volatile Acidity

What to do now? Using Filtration to remove Volatile Acidity


To contact Joy Ting, Research Coordinator: VaWrex@gmail.com 434-284-3095