Smart Dog WineryTM

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My Winemaking

The story of my journey through home wine making.

In this section I will be posting the story of my wine making experience with links to the whole story by Crush years (when the grapes are harvested).

I am proud to say that I have gotten several recognitions of my wine.  For more information see my Awards & Recognition.

For my past years see: Previous Crushes

Every year the first decision is what kind of wine I am going to make. For this year 2018 I am going white - Chardonnay.

September 2018

Due to several issues totally out of my control, I decided to go with Brehm Vineyards again.  I (and many others) have made some excellent wines using the Brehm frozen must and juice.  They are very good for making wines, high quality and excellent sources.  But, once you get into using fresh grapes, it is difficult to go back.  But for this year I did.

On Friday 12 October 2018 I placed an order for four (4) pails of Chardonnay from Carneros, Sonoma County CA.  They were delivered on Wednesday 17 October.  I unpacked them (very well packed) and stated letting them unfreeze. 

2018 Brehm Boxes

On Saturday 20 October 2018 I started the process.  The first step was to open the pails, which actually was the hardest part.  First I cleaned and sanitized the tops (after cleaning and sanitizing all my tools).  The stripped off the zip strips around the edge of the lids.  Then using a pair of channel lock pliers I pod the lids off.

2018 Brehm Pails

2018 Brehm Juice

Next I took readings to verify Brehms analysis.  Fits off I got a low specific gravity which meant a low Brix, then after slapping myself in the face I stirred the pails vigorously  and low and behold the specific gravity came up to where it needed to be.

Pail       SG     Calc    pH
    1     1.098   23.9    3.79
    2     1.098   23.9    3.82
    3     1.098   23.9    3.78
    4     1.098   23.9    3.8
Brehm 1.097   23.6    3.8

In general I have found that a good additive addition is to use the More Wine BF995 - Brehm White additive pack.  They are just enough for about 5 gallons and are premeasured and packaged.  Also the pack is cheaper than buying the additives independently.          

Added at start           

            • TAN250 — Tannin FT Blanc Soft (3g)

            • AD356 — Opti-White (15g)

Added about 1 hour later    

            • DYW56.  — Dry Wine Yeast - ICV-D47  - (8g)

            • AD343 — Go-Ferm Protect (10 g)

to b added 2 days later        

            • AD345 — Fermaid K (8 g)

December 2018

I have now gone through mt first and second racking.  In mid November I racked to four (4) 5 gallon carboys and adjusted the acid and the SO2.  I also added a couple ounces of medium toast American oak cubes (  I actually bought about a pound because I wanted some for other uses.

In november I had racked to clean 5 gallon carboys, and added the oak.

5 Gallon Nov 18

In mid December I checked the pH and SO2 and they came in ataround 3.56 pH and 40 ppm SO2, whihc is good for this satage.  Also the oak flavor was where I wanted it, so I racked to three (3) 6 gallon carboys (due to lees and oak removal).

6 Gallon December 18

Now to let it age for about 6 months, checking periodically.


MIke Albrecht, P.E.

Or my excursion into winemaking

My first effort at making my own wine was in the late 1960’s (I was a teenager about 17 years old) in Florida trying to make orange wine.  Not knowing anything about, it was less than successful (miserable failure is a good description).   Fast forward 40 years, and here I go again, but this time I spent more time and effort learning what to do.  Where possible I will place worthwhile references under the links heading.

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