Making Cabernet Franc: Tips from the Pros

Cabernet Franc can be a very versatile grape to grow in your backyard vineyard — and more forgiving in some ways than Cabernet Sauvignon. But what does it take to make good Cab Franc at home? In this issue, three experts discuss techniques for making Cabernet Franc in the vineyard and in the winery. Terry Neuner, Head Winemaker at Westphalia Vineyards in Westphalia, Missouri. Terry earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked for several years researching fermentation and ethanol for the Missouri Farmers Association. He now brings his science background to his career as a winemaker. One of the most important parts of our Cabernet Franc winemaking process is extended maceration. We always start with a cool grape, cooled to about 40 °F (4 °C). Then we de-stem the grapes and let them macerate off the stems for probably ten days. Our goal is avoiding all the fermentation to occur in the open air. It can be done in as little as eight days, but the average is ten. When the must is about