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Captain Blends Hobby Into Flavorful Career Path

During his Area and Missile Technical Training on California's main coast, where wine is a way of living, Capt. Joe Clemmer, 2nd Area Operations Squadron, established an enthusiasm.

After taking pleasure in the warm California coast with world-class wineries and tasting rooms, the captain was assigned to the cold winter seasons of Montana, where he took his satisfaction of drinking wine to another level, by making his own.

"During the winters of my rocket tour in Montana it looked like the best time to start making wine," said Captain Clemmer.

He began with a cabernet sauvignon/shiraz mix wine package and the rest was history.

He went into the Winemaking Certificate Program -Viticulture and Enology- at the University of California-Davis and ended up the course in 2008. The course was spent for by Air Force Tuition Assistance.

"The program covered everything from finding out about the different wine making regions of the world to learning more about the microbiology and chemistry associated with all parts of wine making, to viticultural principles for growing your own grapes," said Captain Clemmer.

Viticulture is the science, production and research study of grapes which handles the series of occasions that occur in the vineyard, according to

According to Captain Clemmer, the total wine making process takes about one to three years using fresh grapes and only one to 2 months using a wine package.

"We've most likely all heard this before, however it's really real ... 'Good red wine is made in the winery; terrific red wine is made in the vineyard.' You'll never ever have the ability to make a genuinely great red wine unless you take the leap to looking for outstanding grapes from wonderful sources."
Captain Clemmer has actually fresh grapes delivered in from Lodi, Calif. and other locations to start his white wine making process.

September and October are the most demanding time to make wine, according to the captain. The procedure includes the crush, main fermentation, three-times day-to-day cap management punch-downs and more.

Squashing the grapes includes putting them through a crusher/de-stemmer device. This breaks the skins to enable the juice to come out, but keeps the seeds undamaged and eliminates most of the stems or leaves that may have been harvested, stated the captain.

Main fermentation entails the chemical conversion of sugar discovered in grapes to ethanol and co2.

"Without this we 'd simply have grape juice," said Captain Clemmer.

The three-time, day-to-day punch-down is actually the process of punching down the cap on the plastic barrel to prevent microbial spoilage.

After all these steps, it's a waiting video game.

For Captain Clemmer it's the experimentation procedure that eventually brings about a perfectly balanced wine.

His favorite part of the process is "exploring throughout the winemaking procedure and finding that best balance to develop a great red wine," he stated. "An excellent end product is what I pursue whenever. However, if I didn't find out anything from making a particular batch of white wine, then I did something wrong."

For the space operator, making wine is not just a hobby; he intends to turn it into a career one day.

"I plan to work at a couple California wineries within the next a number of years," said Captain Clemmer.

He said he plans to find out the industrial aspects of wine making and to broaden his knowledge of natural and biodynamic viticulture.

For the newbie white wine drinker, Captain Clemmer suggests going to red wine tasting events.

"A classroom-style wine-tasting event will teach you a lot and will not spend a lot," he stated. "Find the red wines you like to consume, and keep in mind that there are so many red wines out there you're bound to discover a white wine you like."

For those who wish to take it one action even more and experiment making their own red wine, the captain recommends purchasing a basic white wine making package.

"Skip the fruit for beginners and buy a wine package with a kind of wine you might like to make and consume. Follow the directions, and if you like it, you can begin experimenting with your own strategies like oaking and mixing and after that attempt having actually quality fruit shipped in from your favorite areas worldwide," he said.

For Captain Clemmer, what started as a simple satisfaction has actually developed into his way of living.