The Michigan Wine & Grape Conference was Fantastic!

 The Michigan Wine & Grape Conference was Fantastic!

The winemakers who attended were great and willing to share what works well for their own wines and wineries. Vendors were on hand from all walks of the industry and wineries donated some excellent wines to sample. The workshops offered something for everyone. My favorite workshops, of course, dealt with the science. Jill Blume, from Purdue University, presented on sensory perception and wine flaws. It was really neat having all of that bad wine in one place and fun to compare flaws from oxidation, sulfur, cork taint and so on.

A couple of wines, however, felt contrived. I could actually smell the perfume from the fingernail polish remover that must have been added to illustrate the acetaldehyde we were looking for. Although it was very cool to smell these wine faults all in one place, it almost gave the impression that finding wine that bad must be difficult. The round table discussion on wine chemistry, however, clearly gave the opposite perspective. Winemakers were very candid about mistakes made that resulted in cork-pop and shelf pulling. They were equally open about the techniques used to prevent repeating these mistakes. The hosts all seemed to agree on the importance of testing and retesting lab data, carefully watching sulfur levels (especially when pH is high and alcohol is low) and testing for yeast available nitrogen (YAN) levels especially in Traminette. They also recommend using outside Labs to periodically confirm data and to frequently obtain new supplies of chemicals to maintain potencies. The accomodations were terrific and the views were breath taking, however, it was a struggle waiting for coffee until 7AM when the restearaunts open.  Consider adding a coffee dispenser for early birds.

The Michigan Wine & Grape Conference was fantastic!

The winemakers who attended were great and willing to share what works well for their own wines and wineries. Vendors were on hand from all walks of the industry and wineries donated some excellent wines to sample. The workshops offered something for everyone. My favorite workshops, of course, dealt with the science. Jill Blume, from Purdue University, presented on sensory perception and wine flaws. It was really neat having all of that bad wine in one place and fun to compare flaws from oxidation, sulfur, cork taint and so on.

A couple of wines, however, felt contrived. I could actually smell the perfume from the fingernail polish remover that must have been added to illustrate the acetaldehyde we were looking for. Although it was very cool to smell these wine faults all in one place, it almost gave the impression that finding wine that bad must be difficult. The round table discussion on wine chemistry, however, clearly gave the opposite perspective. Winemakers were very candid about mistakes made that resulted in cork-pop and shelf pulling. They were equally open about the techniques used to prevent repeating these mistakes. The hosts all seemed to agree on the importance of testing and retesting lab data, carefully watching sulfur levels (especially when pH is high and alcohol is low) and testing for yeast available nitrogen (YAN) levels especially in Traminette. They also recommend using outside Labs to periodically confirm data and to frequently obtain new supplies of chemicals to maintain potencies.

The location of the conference was great.  Grand Traverse Resort and Spa was a really nice, clean and had breath taking views.  My only suggestion is to offer a coffee dispenser for early birds.  Waiting until 7AM for restaurants to open is not nice for caffine junkies.

#MIGRAPEWINECONFERENCE

 

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