We offer comprehensive winemaking programs with certification via the National Wine School. We train students in all core skills any winemaker requires. From crush to bottling, this is a hands-on program that offers a level of instruction no other program outside a Masters’s Program in Oenology offers. To attend, students must first complete their core wine certification.
Elements of the Winemaking Class & Certificate Program
It’s difficult to describe something as inspiring, complex, and kinetic as our winemaking program. The program spans six months, starting with grapes and ending with bottles of the finished product you will bring home. It is science, fermentation, hard work, and great wine.
Students may start as wine enthusiasts but will evolve into winemaking veterans in many inspiring ways. Taking this program will open your eyes to the great potential in wine production. The program includes classroom, laboratory, and practical components. Along with the standard class price, there is a $100 lab & supply fee for each student. In this program, you will be making wine. Our students have made Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel, Columbia Valley Carmenere, and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winemaking class starts with working crush. Learning how to process fruit, take laboratory measurements, and build the perfect fermentation. Along the way, you will be tutored by a seasoned Napa winemaker, who will keep an eye on your work and assist when needed. A lot happens in those first days, so in-depth classes will unpack the complexities of why certain procedures are followed, and why a lot of the myths surrounding winemaking are incorrect.
Winemaking is the art of knowing how to turn raw fruit into a wine that will taste amazing five years from now, and that is a skill that can never be learned from a book.
After crush comes fermentation. You will spend time in the wine cellar. In this section of the wine course, you will learn how to guide grape juice into fine wine. What are the effects of enzymes? Why does pH matter? How does Brix effect yeast selections? What in the world is DAP? Or YANS? Or MOG? How do different types of yeast affect the end result? What are the potential problems, and how do we fix them? From punch-downs to running laboratory tests, you’ll be expanding your winemaking prowess.
Now it’s time to press off wine into the barrel! From running our bladder press to managing SO 2 and pH levels, you are becoming a seasoned professional. The last stage before taking the holiday break is to initiate malolactic fermentation (MLF). After that, it is quiet at the winery, and the only thing needed is to stir the lees and take the occasional chromatography reading. When classes reconvene, the last stage of winemaking will be close at hand. Once MLF is complete, it will be time to work on our final blends and prepare for bottling day!