You know, Joe, I have to disagree on Yair Margalit's "Winery Technology &
Operations" (I'm leafing through it now). I'm really less enthuiastic about
this book... although obviously you've found it of great value. My takeaway
impression was that if you already know your chemistry, this could be a good
reference but as an introduction this seemed more of a "Winemaking for
Chemists" book. I did encountered this book later, after already having
covered the less technical material from other sources more targeted to home
winemakers, so that may have some influence on my impressions of it.
With college chemistry (or even good high school chemistry) you can approach
the book's material, but I don't think it's a particularly good resource for
advancing the skills of an average home winemaker. I think it's better
suited for someone with a chemistry (or other science) background who is
considering going into semi-professional winemaking (say by opening their
own winery) ... which is actually the background and experiences of the
author (as he describes in the introduction).
I think the book will be frustrating for a lot of home winemakers because it
transitions quite quickly from descriptions of basic winemaking concepts and
procedures (which will be a bit boring for the experienced amateur home
winemaker) into fairly rigorous chemistry treatments with little or no
transition, and often presumes the availability of equipment that most home
winemakers won't have or won't know how to use (myself included). Other
times he seems to omit material home winemakers would find valuable. For
example, the short section on fining covers betonite, carbon, gelatin, egg
whites, and PVPP but omits Sparkolloid, a very popular fining agent for home
winemakers. The book is also presented in a very dry, outline (lettered and
numbered section) format -- a very declarative treatment of the material
like you find in one of those review books you might use to prepare for a
I recommend Philip Jackisch's "Modern Winemaking" instead ... I think this
book is much better written and organized, and a much more considerate
introduction to wine chemistry than Margalit's for those not already having
a strong chemistry background. Plus, an amateur winemaker can easily take a
lot of good info away from Jackish's book without even needing a deep
understanding of the chemistry.
Thanks for the lead on the "Understanding Wine Technology" book, Joe! I'll
check it out.
[Check out my winemaking homepage
>I picked a copy of this up and would recommend it to the group. My
> background is electronics with an emphasis on intrumentation and
> control so am comfortable with hardware but get a little (read a lot)
> out of my depth when it comes to chemistry. He is very good at
> explaining chemistry in laymans terms.
> For Europeans this is a great book since it covers a lot of the newer
> EU rules and regs. I'm in the US but consider it to be one of the two
> reference books I will start with when I need to do some research. The
> other one (which I have worn out) is Margalits Winery Technology and
> It's a great book.