by Fred McMillin
for June 17, 1999


What's Extract?


Bogle Winery  
The extremely sandy soils of the Oakley vineyard in Contra Costa County encourage low yields of small, thick-skinned grapes. Their wines have increased EXTRACT with bigger flavor profiles."

...Bogle Winemaker Chris Smith

The Rest of the Story

OK. EXTRACT must be good since it indicates more flavors, but what is it? To get the answer:

    Hi ho, hi ho!
    It's off to lab we go.

We weigh out 100 grams of wine, evaporate it to dryness, and weigh the residue. Let's say it's 1.1 grams. Presto. The EXTRACT is 1.1%.

Prof. Marian Baldy describes it this way. EXTRACT is the components of wine that remain after evaporation, which removes water, alcohol, etc. The components of EXTRACT contribute to a wine's body (it's thickness or viscosity). There are more details, but we'll leave them for another day.

Today's High-Extract Wine

Chris Smith was talking about this Zinfandel.
1994 Old Vine Zinfandel
Bogle Winery, Clarksburg, CA
Sources of HIGH-EXTRACT Grapes—In addition to the Oakley 80-year-old vines, grapes came from low-yield hillside vineyards in Amador County, where Zinfandel was first planted in the 1850s, during the Gold Rush days.
My Panel's Comments:

  • Wonderfully complex. [EXTRACTS in action]
  • Very good. Third best wine of 20.
  • Plummy. Good with fruit cake.
    Alcohol—A very substantial 13.7%
    Contact—Kristen Alling's office can steer you to the right party. (916) 744-1139, FX (916) 744-1187
    Rating—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in its price range


    Detective Work—EXTRACT is also used by regulatory bodies to detect adulteration of wine. Abnormally low EXTRACT raises the suspicion that water may have been added. Abnormally high EXTRACT can be caused by addition of illegal flavor agents.

    Note: For more about Bogle, see the June 24,1998 WineDay titled "Banned in France".

    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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