Technique

Home Winemaking Quality Control

When the editors at WineMaker suggested quality control (QC) for a story, I was delighted to take it on. I have a long personal and professional history with QC and it infuses most of my activities — including my fermentation hobbies. Before joining the world of winemaking, I put my chemistry degree to work in environmental testing laboratories. The 1980s were filled with efforts to improve quality and consistency of analytical results, so sound decisions could be made about environmental contamination and cleanup. I volunteered as part of a continuous quality improvement group that published in the journal of the American Society for Quality. We were adapting the statistical quality control processes of manufacturing to a data-generating service industry. In my home winemaking, I do not generate enough data points to practice statistical quality control, but the concepts of QC and continuous quality improvement still apply. I consider quality control as the assessment of a finished product or service to determine its “fitness for use.” That is, measurement to determine that it has met specifications, complies with requirements, or satisfies