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Science Project: Making Wine At Vintner’s Cellar In Plano

Fueled by the Lee Fuqua controversy in early May, I decided to make my own wine. I’ve toured hundreds of wineries but I have never gone through the complete processes of constructing a wine. I picked Vintner’s Cellars in Plano for my laboratory and with the help of owner, Larry McDowell, I began the long process of creating my own Viognier out of grape juice from Chile. (Here is my first report. And here is my second.)

Over the last few months, I have returned to Plano to participate in every step. On Friday, I returned for the last time. We siphoned the wine off the lees, tasted it, tweaked it to my specs (I added sugar,and hints of grass and apricot), bottled, and labeled 30 bottles. As I said before, I set out to produce something light, fruity, and sassy. The wine needs to sit until late December. Then we will decide if it is perfect or plonk. Or perfect plonk. (Did you note I said “we”?)

Please understand, this is not a paid advertisement or promotion. This is a venture I sought out on my own. I learned a lot about wine making. Like patience. You must have patience. BTW, I hope my sixth grade teacher, Miss Hyde, at Arthur Kramer Elementary School sees this video. She was always dissappointed in my early science projects. Perhaps she will be around when I pick up my double gold medal.

  • Kirk

    When you say you “added … hints of grass and apricot,” does that mean you added flavoring to the wine?

  • Nancy Nichols

    For the hint of grass we blended in Semillon
    grape juice which has a stronger grass characteristic and then we added concentrated apricot juice.

  • Kirk

    Is that common practice among winemakers?

  • Nancy Nichols

    Blending varietals is the common way to exchange and balance flavors such as black current, plum (Merlot, CabSav,and CabFranc), or cherry from Sangiovese. Not sure there is much terroir in the apricot juice, but I wasn’t blending at Chateaux Margaux.

    I will be in the Kiepersol winery blending room in an hour. I’ll ask the wine maker for more details.

  • Nancy Nichols

    don’t know if the above makes sense. I am trying to type from my phone. I’m sure you are trying to bait me, Kirk. But tried to answer straight in case someone really wants to know the answer.

  • @ V

    It’s just a matter of time before you get a Double Gold Medal, Nancy! Way to go.

  • DLP

    How exciting Nancy…
    How do I become one of “we” for the tasting in December?
    You really went to Kramer?

  • Worzel Gummidge

    NN: Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc?

  • Miranda McDowell Hull

    Thanks for the progree report, Nancy!Like most expert learners, Larry has attained a high level of mastery of his specific skill through both rigorous, academic study and technical, real-life experience. His enthusiasm for sharing his passion is what makes him an engaging and encouraging teacher. How many other girls’ dads would have been willing to spend time with their daughters debating the varying merits of say Boone’s Farm Wild Strawberry and a nice Entre-Deux-Mer? As Chaucer said,”…and gladly would he learn and gladly teach!” When do we taste this baby?