Join winemaker Olivier Humbrecht MW, of famed estate Zind Humbrecht in Alsace, for a deep dive into these key components of winemaking: yeast and fermentation!
Presenter: Olivier Humbrecht, MW
Olivier Humbrecht studied wine together with wine marketing and wine business for five years in Toulouse, and then got the chance to do his ‘military service’ working for Sopexa in London. He learned about and enrolled on the MW course, becoming France’s first ever Master of Wine in 1989. He began to work with his father, and converted the family domaine to biodynamics in the early 1990s. His father had painstakingly built up a unique collection of hill-site vineyards over the decades, notably clearing and replanting a quarter of the great historic Grand Cru of Rangen de Thann with Olivier in his later school years. Olivier has continued to build on this, notably with the recent acquisition of a parcel of Sommerberg to complement the family’s Grand Cru holdings in Brand, Hengst and Goldert, and to complement its other holdings of Rotenberg, Clos Hauserer, Clos Jebsal, Heimbourg, Herrenweg and Clos Windsbuhl.
Olivier’s respectful, non-interventionist winemaking, combined with his and his father’s fastidious viticulture, has given the world vintage after vintage of magnificently differentiated, nuanced bottlings: global white-wine references. He has never stopped experimenting and improving on his work, using biodynamic practices, changed row orientations and re-thought canopies recently to produce a much greater percentage of dry wines than before.
The use of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), often just referred to as “sulphites”, in winemaking has become a much-debated and even sometimes emotive topic in the 21st century.
Since the advent of readily available SO2 in tablet or powder form, dating back roughly to the 1950s, winemakers have relied on this all-purpose elemental substance for everything from cleaning barrels to protection against oxidation and its abilities to kill stray yeasts and bacterias. It can seem almost alchemical in its ability to transform a cloudy, off-smelling funk into a estar-bright, fragrant smelling wine.
But in the last few decades with the growth of the natural wine movement, excess use – or sometimes any use – of SO2 has become increasingly frowned on. Some wine drinkers even claim they are intolerant to SO2, and that they can no longer drink conventionally vinifed wines without getting headaches.
This webinar looks at SO2’s properties, and why it is so useful in winemaking. What quantites are typically used, and which rules and regulations govern sulphur use? We will also dig into the science behind the intolerance claims. How many people are really allergic to SO2, and are the normal levels found in wines likely to cause issues or not? And why does just about every bottle of wine on the planet have those words “contains sulphites” on the back – even those made by natural winemakers who claim not to add any?
What are the challenges of making wine when a winemaker decides to minimise or completely do without the use of added SO2? What can go wrong, and how much do we know about the scourge of natural wine known as mousiness?
This session covers the whole spectrum of winemakers and winemaking, looks at the varying attitudes to sulphur usage, and what this ultimately means in terms of the quality and properties of what ends up in your glass.
Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English author and wine writer, currently based in The Netherlands.
An acknowledged expert on the developing niche of natural wine, he's written for Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.
Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns.
Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking. His second book, Foot Trodden, a collaboration with photographer and wine communicator Ryan Opaz, was published in October 2021. It is described as a journey deep into the soul of Portuguese wine.
Simon is also active as a presenter, editor, wine judge and translator.
Have you read all about winemaking from books, but still struggle with confusing concepts? Have you ever wanted to dive deeper into a particular winemaking topic but didn't know anyone to ask? Winemaker and Master of Wine Nova Cadamatre is back for the second of a three-part series that will pull back the curtain on different winemaking styles. This second webinar covers Red winemaking. The third part will cover Dessert, Sparkling, and Fortified winemaking later this year. If you missed part one, do not worry; it is available here, but you don't have to attend part one to enjoy parts two and three.
A winemaker with a broad and diverse background, Cadamatre started in wine on the East Coast as a winemaking apprentice with Stargazers Vineyard in 2003. After graduating from Cornell University in 2006 with a Bachelor's in Viticulture, Nova moved to California. During her time in California, she worked with fruit from all over the state, eventually settling in Napa and focusing on Bordeaux and Burgundian varieties from some of the top vineyards in the area, including To Kalon, Vine Hill Ranch, MacDonald, Detert, and Hyde Vineyard. In 2015, she started her brand Trestle Thirty One, in the Finger Lakes of NY. In 2020, added Snowshell Vineyards for Naked Wines and, in 2022, will be launching Fiadh Ruadh, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap AVA in Napa. She currently goes back and forth between Napa and the Finger Lakes to manage both her CA projects and her projects in NY.
In 2017, Nova was the first female winemaker in the US to achieve the title of Master of Wine. In addition, she has been named to Wine Enthusiast's Top 40 under 40 list and has numerous 90+ scoring wines to her credit from both coasts.
Every drop of wine we ever drink is the product of observation, intervention and craftsmanship. Without intervention, every wine would be oxidising and turning to vinegar; without craftsmanship, every wine would be rough and unpalatable. Advances in craftsmanship have brought us the extraordinary beauty and diversity we are all familiar with and that we celebrate in today’s wine world.
What have been the key winemaking advances of the last two decades, and what changes and challenges await in a world of rapid and unprecedented climate change?
Among the many topics our expert panel hopes to touch on are
The panel will discuss these and other questions in an accessible, non-technical style, with the emphasis on those changes most clearly evident to wine students and keen wine drinkers.
Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford, speaking from France, will be bringing together a panel of key thinkers, writers and winemakers in four countries to talk through these and other issues.
Fiona Morrison MW is a writer, winemaker and wine merchant based in both Bordeaux (where with her husband Jacques Thienpont she manages Ch Le Pin, L’If and Le Hêtre) and in Belgium, where she manages the family Thienpont négociant business; she obtained her MW in 1994.
St Helena-based Rosemary Cakebread owns and makes the wines for the much-admired Gallica; she is a former winemaker and consulting winemaker for Spottswoode.
Consultant and writer Pedro Ballesteros MW is a qualified agronomical engineer and holds a Masters degree in viticulture and oenology, as well as having obtained his MW in 2010. A polymath and polyglot (working in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Italian), Pedro is based in Brussels where he formerly worked for the European Union.
Tuscany-based Alberto Antonini was cited by Decanter magazine in 2015 as one of the five most influential winemaking consultants in the world. After training in Tuscany, Bordeaux and in Napa and working for Frescobaldi and Col D’Orcia, Alberto now consults in Italy, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, California, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Armenia, Russia, Israel and Australia.
In this intriguing discussion on winemaking in the modern era, Clark Smith will discuss the principles explored in his book, Postmodern Winemaking, named Wine & Spirits Magazine 2013 Book of the Year. He will share his views on the causes of the rift between wine lovers and winemakers and how it might be healed, and will illustrate application of postmodern principles through the production of Eurocentric wines in California under his own WineSmith label.
Clark Robert Smith is one of California’s most widely respected winemakers. He has built many successful brands, consults on five continents, judges wines at several competitions, teaches wine technology at CSU Fresno and online Wine Appreciation for Professionals at Florida International University and directs the curriculum of the GrapeCraft Wine Academy.
After attending M.I.T. and graduating as the top student at U. C. Davis, Smith served as the founding winemaker for The R. H. Phillips Vineyard for its first seven years, where he implemented night harvesting and published ground-breaking research on vineyard variables affecting wine quality.
In the 1990s, Smith went on to patent reverse osmosis methods for alcohol removal and volatile acidity correction, founding the world’s largest wine technology provider, Vinovation, and pioneering the implementation in American winemaking of micro-oxygenation, ultrafiltration, tartrate stabilization through electrodialysis, alternatives to sterile filtration, and a host of other wine quality enhancement techniques, serving for a decade with the international body O.I.V’s. Groupe d’Experts sur la Technologie du Vin. He sold Vinovation in 2008 to concentrate on winemaking, writing, music and exploring the new American wine scene.
In 1993, Smith started WineSmith to explore a range of California terroirs with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Roman Syrah made in a European style, emphasizing balance, structural integrity, aromatic integration, profundity and graceful longevity. In 2007, he began making the wines for Diamond Ridge Vineyards, a unique high altitude site in Lake County. He is actively engaged in production consulting for some two dozen wineries on an ongoing basis.
Smith is recognized as a leading authority on the enhancement of wine structure and a vocal proponent of living soil and barrel conservation. His popular class on Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry has been attended by over 4,000 participants since 1986. David Darlington’s biography of him in Wine & Spirits magazine won the James Beard award, perhaps a more dubious distinction for the subject than the author. He directs the Best- of-Appellation wine evaluations for AppellationAmerica.com, and writes a monthly column, “The Postmodern Winemaker,” for Wines and Vines magazine.
In recent years, Smith has become increasingly interested in the study of the relationship of wine and music cognition. A composer and vocalist, he is currently engaged in the production of a CD of original songs about real life in the Wine Industry. He resides in Santa Rosa, California.