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Happenings at 4.0 Cellars

Carl Hudson
 
July 3, 2019 | Carl Hudson

Wine Yeast Selection Criteria

One of the most intriguing issues facing a winemaker is the choice of a yeast strain to convert the sugars in sweet grape juice into wine. Simplistically, there are two basic choices – natural or native yeast that is present on the grapes themselves when harvested, or a designed commercial yeast strain. Both types of yeast will convert sugar to alcohol, but the choice of yeast can, and usually does, impact the aroma, flavor, and texture of a wine, as well as the conditions & rate of fermentation.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
May 8, 2019 | Carl Hudson

What does Reserve mean on a wine label?

When a wine is offered for tasting at 4.0 Cellars that includes the word “Reserve” on the label, customers and tasters typically recognize the designation and are curious as to what it means. In the United States, and several other key wine countries (Australia, New Zealand, Chile), the term Reserve has little or no meaning, at least that which is defined. The following explores this issue and will hopefully inform the reader about the term Reserve on a U.S., especially a Texas, wine label.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
April 24, 2019 | Carl Hudson

Aging Wine on the Lees

Recently the question was asked of me, “What are lees, and why do winemakers age wine on the lees?” First of all, lees are essentially dead yeast cells that have already done their job of fermenting sugar in grape juice into alcohol in wine. Once the fermentation process is completed, these dead yeast cells, let’s call them lees from this point on, begin to settle to the bottom of tank or barrel, allowing cloudy wine to become clear over time. Discussed below are several options that the winemaker now has regarding handling lees, and some technical descriptions of what lees actually do for and to a wine.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
March 13, 2019 | Carl Hudson

Frost Protection for Texas Grapes – 2019 Update

In April, 2017, following a trip to the Texas High Plains, Carl’s Corner addressed the topic of protection for grapes from spring frosts and methods available to mitigate freeze damage to young vine tissue and grapes. Texas in general, especially the High Plains, is noted for turbulent and unpredictable weather that often brings frigid temperatures soon after bud break when grapevines are most susceptible to frost damage. Just in the past week or so we have experienced overnight temperatures in the low twenty-degree range here in the Texas Hill Country. This has raised serious concerns for not only grapevines but peach trees, too. Posts on Facebook and Instagram have highlighted these concerns, and just in the past few days limited information has become available about the damage that was or was not observed. More on this part later.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
January 16, 2019 | Carl Hudson

Oak Barrels & Oak Alternatives

Over two years ago, now, a four-part series of Carl’s Corners were posted covering many details of the use of oak barrels in wine production and aging. Since much Texas wine, especially reds, from the 2018 vintage is resting comfortably in oak barrels this winter, it seems a good time for an update on oak and wine.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
December 19, 2018 | Carl Hudson

End of the Year 2018

This will be the last Carl’s Corner for 2018, and I would like to reflect on the topics covered during this fun-filled year. In January there was a post on Wintertime in the Vineyard highlighting the many tasks required of a vineyard manager during this period of vine dormancy. Following a growers’ panel at the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) Grape Camp event in Fredericksburg, Vermentino – Quality White Grape in Texas was posted to describe why Texas growers and winemakers are having such success with this hearty variety. Leading up to the 4.0 Cellars Wine Club Pick-up Events in February, the subject for Carl’s Corner was the wines for the first release of 2018.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
December 5, 2018 | Carl Hudson

Crazy Wine Questions

“When do they add the cherries (blueberries, tobacco, vanilla, etc.) to the wine?” This question is often asked after tasting room visitors read the tasting descriptions for wines they are offered. The answer is relatively simple, but may not be totally satisfying to a customer. Most fruit and other flavors found in wines are generally produced naturally during the fermentation process via yeast conversion of sugars to alcohol and a number of minor by-products that results in the myriad flavors wines can offer. Other flavors are derived during the aging process, especially from toasted oak barrels or alternatives. It is always fun for winemakers to go through the winemaking process and see what aromas and flavors result from their efforts.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
September 26, 2018 | Carl Hudson

Flavor Adjustments for Wine

An interesting article about adjusting the flavor profile in wines caught my attention last week. Since the Texas grape harvest is essentially done, and most of the fruit is in the process of being converted into wine, it seems like a good time to discuss various techniques used to adjust flavors in the 2018 vintage wines we will be enjoying in 2019-2020.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
August 15, 2018 | Carl Hudson

Texas High Plains Vineyards, Aug-2018

Many Texas wine drinkers don’t realize that about 80% of all wine grapes in Texas are grown on the Texas High Plains, mostly west of Lubbock. Folks are generally surprised to learn that the vineyards producing these grapes are located a 4-6 hour drive from where most of the Texas wineries and tasting rooms are located. During harvest season, usually late July through late September, a LOT of trucks and trailers can be seen on Texas highways hauling grapes and grape must to be processed by wineries in the Red River area, Central West Texas, and the Texas Hill Country. After enjoying a wonderful 5-day adventure to the Texas High Plains where the 2018 harvest was just beginning, it seemed a good idea to address this distance gap between Texas grapes and Texas wineries and tasting rooms.  Continue »

Carl Hudson
 
July 7, 2018 | Carl Hudson

Customer Service in the Tasting Room

One of the best sessions at the Texas Hill Country Wineries (THCW) Symposium, held 11,12-Jan-2018 at Horseshoe Bay Resort, was a guided panel discussion on Customer Service in the Winery Tasting Room. I have been in this business long enough to understand how important customer service is to an enjoyable wine country experience. And, it is one of the three key parts of a great winery/tasting room experience that includes a first-class location with an inviting and comfortable tasting room, top-quality wines, and great customer service.  Continue »

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