Pacific Rim
January 5, 2022 | Pacific Rim

12 Questions to Ask a Winemaker

Winemakers seem to have a low-key, secret, and somewhat mysterious lifestyle, creating and then hiding away all those delicious potions in barrels.  While they do produce a great beverage, most people have very little idea about the lives of winemakers. The general belief is that winemakers' work is only related to the collection of grapes and the process of fermentation. After a few weeks or months, the winemaker fills the wine bottles and sells them to the public.  That painting of a winemaker is not far off from reality, but winemakers do a lot more behind the scenes than meets the eye. Vineyards and the winemaking process itself have some aspects that you’ve probably never thought of. If you ever get a chance to sit down with a winemaker, here are a few wine questions you should ask to get a better idea of what he or she does.

Questions About Wine

How did you get started in the wine business? The wine business is not for everyone: most of the people who enter the business have had a long-standing family interest in the profession. Those in the second group enter this business because they simply love wine and want to learn to make it, and the third group is made up of those who love nature and like living in the countryside. They look at the wine business as a happy way for them to make a living.

Do you have to go to college specifically to learn about winemaking? For the most part, winemakers may have learned the trade while observing others, and very few have academic credentials in winemaking. Despite all the scientific talk, winemaking is an art that comes with experience. What is the art of winemaking?  That is one of several interesting wine questions to find answers to, and, almost certainly, with every winemaker you speak with, you will get different answers.

Is being a winemaker a difficult job? Winemaking may appear to be a luxury dream job, but it does require an enormous amount of labor and time. From growing the grapes, to the production of the wine, many things can go wrong, and one has to be attentive to issues all the time. The grapes have to be harvested at the right time, the blending has to be just perfect, the wines have to be stored correctly, and, finally, the beverage has to be marketed.

How often do wineries go bankrupt? Well, because winemaking is dependent on the quality of grapes, changes in the climate, along with natural disasters (e.g., flooding) can wreak havoc in the industry. Too hot or too cold weather can quickly destroy a lifetime's work in a matter of months. 

Are you constantly trying to make new wines? Most winemakers are creative people and love to make new blended beverages. They may try different types of blending techniques to make wines that the public will like.

Is winemaking a profitable business? In general, winemaking can be very profitable. The main reason is: restaurants. Thousands of restaurants offer wine on their menus. In addition, many wineries also sell their grapes to liquor stores, grocery stores, and local markets, which can also bring in a decent income.  It would be interesting to get each winemaker’s perspective on these questions about wine.

Can anyone get into the winemaking business? The answer is yes, but, there are some barriers to entry. The business does require a hefty investment. The startup may require anywhere from $1 million to $2 million for a small winery. It will take time to become profitable if you are starting from scratch. Most people invest in a winery business that is already operating.

What is the most critical time in the winemaking business? The harvesting of the grapes is the most crucial step. You have to have a good idea about the ripeness of the grapes, and this requires regular monitoring of their acidity, sugar, and tannin levels. Winemakers use these parameters to create different types of wine.

What exactly is a sommelier? Does a sommelier need to have a history of working at a vineyard?  A sommelier is a wine steward, also known as a professional who has good knowledge about wines and fine dining. The majority of sommeliers have formal training and obtain a certificate. They are usually knowledgeable about wine and food pairing, wine service, and storage of wines. They usually work for multiple restaurants, organize wine parties, train staff, and develop wine listings for each establishment.

Is it necessary to dress up when visiting a winery? No, you can generally wear what feels right to you, unless you are wine tasting at a formal event, of course.

How do I acquire good knowledge about wines? The best way to acquire knowledge about wines is not only to read about them, but to actually taste the different types. This will help you get to know the subtle differences between the various types of wines.

Can inexpensive wine taste good? Yes, absolutely.  Wine does not have to be expensive to be a good wine.

Some wines you might begin sampling include the following:






For answers to questions about wine and more wine questions, don’t hesitate to call Pacific Rim and Company at 1-503-863-5454 or visit them online.  The wine experts at Pacific Rim have a wealth of information they are happy to share.


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