Download &
print (pdf)

Pinot Noir Winemaking 101

The Decisions Involved in Making Pinot Noir

Source: Oregon Pinot Camp

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one”

Elbert Hubbard


Determining ripeness: sampling for sugar, acid, tasting for tannins and flavors, visual indicators of ripeness.

Picking: decision and timing, picking methods, picking containers.


Equipment & Processes: refrigerating/freezing picked grapes, dumping grapes from picking containers, sorting, de-stemming/crushing/whole clusters, jack sorting, method for filling fermenters.


Modification of Must: concentration, saiginée, chaptalization, addition of water, addition of acid.

Additions to Must: dry ice, SO2, tannins, enzymes, oxygen and heat, yeast and yeast nutrients.


Management of Extraction: fermenter size, shape, material, open top or closed top, cold maceration method and time, punch down/punch over/Pulsair/rack and return, mixing regime, temperature regime.

Pressing - Managing Tannins and Texture: decision to empty fermenter - before, at, after fermentation, extended maceration (length of timing and decision making), method for moving wine, method of emptying fermenter, type of press and method of pressing, separation or mixing of press and free-run.


Maturing: settling in tank (if yes, how long), aging in tank or barrel, alternatives to barrels (oak products, micro-ox), lees contact and stirring, racking regime - frequency, indicators, methods, malolactic fermentation (inoculated or not and when), SO2.

Barrels: barrel size and age (percentage new/used/how old?), oak origin (country and forest), cooper and toasting regime, method for filling and emptying barrels, system for storage of barrels, barrel aging regime (time, temperature, humidity).


Blending: purpose and methods

Stabilization: lab tests performed - purpose and techniques, fining (materials, purpose, methods), filtration (purpose, equipment, techniques), last minute adjustments (acid, SO

Previous article:
Pinot Briefs

Print entire newsletter