Tim’s iStill University experience


iStill University will be incorporated as a separate company per January 1st 2018. Even though it will remain a full and viable member of the iStill Group, we feel that education in advanced distillation techniques isn’t or shouldn’t just be an iStill thing. Instead, we want the educations we offer to be perceived as the world’s leading distilling classes. Accessible to distillers and want-to-be distillers around the world, interested in iStill distillation equipment or not.

We are incredibly proud that our workshops score a solid (understatement!) 9.8 on a 10-point scale. And since we have always been about sharing information in order to help change the age-old, traditional paradigms that still seem to rule so much of the industry, the goal of the University is to reach more people. We already train about 200 distiller per year. We feel confident that by treating education as a goal on its own, we can double the number of people we reach in short notice.

So let’s continue to investigate what our educational programs have to offer. And how better to do that than with an interview with the established Napa Valley Distillery and its experienced distiller Tim Espinoza …


Tim, can you tell us a bit more about your distillery’s background and the products you make and will make?

While NVD is older than me, they brought me on into distilling a few years ago. We make a world spirits gold winning Vodka from a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. We are primarily a brandy house, but have recently started making Bourbon, Rum and many liquors. So far, we have used a hand hammered Portuguese alembic pot still. 

What made you decide to go to the Certified iStill Workshop in Utah? What were you hoping and expecting to learn?

We recently purchased and uncrated our 2000L iStill. I was looking to learn its functions, assembly and set-up, and its distilling procedures. I went in thinking we would cover a few of those things and left learning much more! 

What did the course teach you? What were your take-aways?

To say I learned a few things would be an understatement. The ideas that stood out to me were the aspects in distillation like smearing, vapor speed, and the distillation 1.5 times technique.

And fermentation aspects, like the esterification formula: E=(a+o) x -ph x T x T, help to understand and control what flavor profile you can create during fermentation. The ideas in that formula saved me from royally messing up a mango ferment!!

Would you advice other distillers to go to the workshop? Why should they join iStill University?

This was a fantastic course, filled with wonderful people and important information. I would say to anyone in the distilling industry: “You have to take this course!”, weather you are opening a distillery, currently in business, or have been distilling for years … there is much to gain through the iStill Certified Workshop.

Napa Valley Distillery …



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