Okanagan Wine Festival Thoughts: Brewing vs Winemaking

Written by Damon on October 22, 2008

Last weekend I (gasp!) went to the Okanagan Wine Festival. I must, at risk to all my beer-cred, confess to liking wine. I’m not a very knowledgeable wine drinker, but I do appreciate a good quaff.

Okanagan Winery

Okanagan Winery

Okanagan Winery, photo courtesy www.thewinefestivals.com

Not only did I enjoy the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines over a short period of time, but I also learned a lot about wine and even a little about brewing

I got to taste a number of wines of the same variety and from the same vineyard but from different years for the first time. By the end of the trip, I was a lot more sensitive to how wines change with a year or two of aging.

We brewers have it easy. If the beer is a little young, wait a couple of weeks and try again. Winemakers have to wait months and years to see how their product changes and I think that makes winemaking more difficult to learn.

An experienced winemaker will no doubt know how the wine will turn-out in the end, but a beginning winemaker needs discipline to keep the wine until its ready (and I’m not even going to bother bringing time spent in cask in to this).

We homebrewers can tap the batch young and, by the time its finished, the beer will have hit its peak.

I have to conclude that if I were a winemaker, I probably wouldn’t like wine.