The essentials of an enology degree in six easy lessons

Designed to benefit winemakers at all skill levels from the amateur novice with no knowledge of chemistry to the seasoned professional with many years of experience.


"Smith teaches at Napa Valley College, UC Davis extension, and CSU Fresno, where he has a reputation for making complex concepts accessible."

-David Darlington, Wine and Spirits Magazine

"Over my many years as a wine industry professional I have worked with innumerable master winemakers, but Clark Smith truly stands above them all. He possesses the most comprehensive understanding of the complexities of wine of anyone I've ever known in the business, and his ability to communicate his knowledge to his clients and his students is unparalleled."

-Dr. Stephen Krebs, Dean, Viticulture and Winery Technology, Napa Valley College


This popular six-part program provides insights into the interplay of chemical reactions that occur in wine and in winemaking, establishing the necessary background for informed decisions on wine processing. This is a course in winemaking theory and practice, and does not provide training in methods of wine analysis.
First we summarize freshman chemistry concepts of atomic structure, the periodic table, nomenclature, and polarity and use them to illustrate the difference between pH and TA as an introduction to chemical equilibrium.

Next we consider all aspects of sulfur dioxide in wine as a case study in wine chemistry.

We move from the theoretical to the practical as we delve into crush chemistry techniques, fining, spoilage treatment choices and explore wine’s phenolic structure and reductive properties. Discussions include vine balance, ripeness, fermentation strategies, oxygenation, uses of oak, microbial stabilization strategies, and emerging winemaking technologies such as micro-oxygenation and reverse osmosis.

A full list of video segment topics and running times is in the Requirements section below.

As soon as you enroll, a hard copy of our 550-page syllabus will be mailed to you containing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of winemaking topics. You will use this as a ready reference for many years to come.

What you'll learn

  • Principles of vineyard enology for growing high quality grapes.

  • Determination of harvest maturity.

  • A system for achieving targeted pH and TA in fermentation, cellaring and bottling.

  • Correct management of sulfur dioxide.

  • Understanding of fining for heat and cold stability and tannin management

  • Methods of microbial stability and treatment of spoilage.

  • Tannin terminology.

  • Principles of phenolic extraction, structural integrity, aromatic integration & graceful longevity.


Participants should have a basic grasp of the winemaking process. No knowledge of chemistry is required.

The full course content follows:

Video Topic Running Time

Introduction and Orientation

Welcome to the course! 1:40

Purpose of the course 3:57

Setting your expectations 4:24

Interacting with the Instructor 2:01

Your relationship with the course design 3:40

Recommended reading 4:29

Why study wine chemistry? 4:48

Two kinds of trust 4:58

Course structure – a tour of the syllabus 7:14

Introduction to Winemaking 29:42

1. The Basics About Acids

Atomic structure and the Periodic Table 15:28

Molecules, bonds, and

the special nature of carbon 15:39

Water as a unique polar solvent 3:11

Ionization and water solubility 3:27

What is an acid? 1:23

Wine’s “weak” organic acids 4:22

Equilibrium and mass action 9:07

What is titratable acidity (TA)? 7:49

What is pH? 6:18

Why do we care about TA?

Why do we care about pH? 8:39

Ionization curves and pKa’s 3:15

Diprotic acids 2:21

The special role of tartaric acid 2:38

Two realms: white winemaking at

low pH/red winemaking at high pH 5:52

Getting to know the wine acids 11:46

Many acids but just on pH 2:19

Testing your grasp of Section 1 3:30

The answers: Cementing

your understanding 7:09

The magic of tartaric acid wine chemistry 21:51

2. Sulfur Dioxide in Wine

Sulfur Dioxide Acid Chemistry 4:19

Free SO2 Equilibrium: The Three Species 1:37

Characteristics of Molecular SO2 6:09

Characteristics of Bisulfite 5:20

Characteristics of Sulfite 8:41

Measuring SO2 14:34

Summarizing modern SO2 doctrine 16:27

SO2 and health 13:33

3. Crush Chemistry

Green Juice Club vs Brown Juice Club 6:43

Acid and SO2 management

in ideal conditions 6:48

High pH, high TA 16:11

Methods for reducing acidity 8:48

Low pH, low TA 5:39

Acid and SO2 management

in light reds and big reds 7:06

2,000 choices 4:29

Vineyard considerations 7:13

White wine fermentation 13:55

Four ways to make white wine 16:55

Feral ferments 9:29

Red wine fermentation 21:03

Monitoring malolactic fermentation 13:16

Making harvest decisions 10:12

My favorite crush gurus 3:14

The Microbial Triangle 9:01

4. Fining and Stabilization

Introduction to Phenolics 9:37

Measuring Phenolics 5:41

The Magic of Enzymatic Analysis 3:54

Modern Phenolic Chemistry: 7:55

monomers vs polymers

A Simplified Overview of Phenolic 5:06

Chemistry in Red Wine

Tannin and mouthfeel terminology 10:19

Protein fining to remove phenolics 4:53

Heat stabilization: Bentonite fining

to remove unstable proteins 11:23

Introduction to Cold Stabilixation 5:06

Crystallization kinetics 4:22

Freeze testing for cold stability 8:23

Measuring cold stability vs conductivity 5:24

Cold stabilization alternatives: KPa, STARS 11:15

Tangential flow technologies 26:17

5. Spoilage and Its Treatment

Headspace management 14:37

Alcohol Adjustment 27:39

Volatile Acidity 13:15

Brettanomyces and Pediococcus 26:24

Smoke Taint 37:32

Sulfides 15:13

Cork taint 48:18

6. Postmodern Winemaking

Controversies in Sensory Evaluation 16:13

Hypothesis Testing Demystified 32:02

The Solution Problem 13:35

Graceful ageing 42:08

Vineyard enology 17:19

Enological oxygenation 30:00

Four methods for making white wine 35:04

Micro-oxygenation 40:36

Seven functions of oak 22:22

Four ways to make white wine 35:04

Oxygen appetite 26:49

Flash Détente 8:10

Liquid Music 1:02:20

Sulfite-free winemaking 40:32

Bonus Material

Take-Home Messages from the Course

Winemaking Basics

Navigating the Postmodern Calendar

About the Instructor

Clark Smith is one of California’s most widely respected winemakers. He has built many successful brands, consults on five continents, judges at several competitions and teaches at six universities. Smith has made wine for 61 vintages (including 14 in the Southern Hemisphere). Wine Business Monthly named him 2016 Innovator of the Year and listed him among the 48 Most Influential People in Wine in 2018. His revolutionary book, Postmodern Winemaking, was Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 2013 Book of the Year.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee
This course includes:
  • 18 hours on-demand video

  • Full lifetime access

  • Access on mobile and TV

  • Certificate of course completion from Grapecraft Wine Academy

What They're Saying:

"What a great learning experience."

"I didn't think I would be teachable, but I walked away with a lot of information."

"I've had 17 vintages...I learned a lot of new and valuable information about winemaking."

"It doesn't matter if you have a hundred years of winemaking or are just a beginner."

" I have a degree in political science so I never got the chemistry. This was a great course to help me in the winery lab."