How to Make Vinegar

a range of Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars

Craig Clark of Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars explains how to make vinegar:

Take any fermenting alcohol liquid and expose it to oxygen. This creates the formation of a cellulose and acetobacter substance called the “mother of vinegar.” The mother turns the alcohol to ethanoic acid, which ferments further into acitic acid. Once the acid level is at 4%, you have vinegar.
Craig Clark, vinegar tanks
Craig Clark at Chaparral Gardens, early days
The mother of vinegar has a lot of health benefits. It is an antibacterial and anti-fungal. It will fight common germs, help a body to control and lose weight, and improve digestion. Some use it on dry skin and to soothe a sore throat, or even to relieve a sunburn.
It is rare to find mother of vinegar in most store-bought vinegar due to the heat pasteurization, which kills the mother that is then filtered out.
Balsamic has been produced for over 600 years. It comes from the Modena region of Italy. The process takes from six months to several years to complete. Balsamic is produced using the grape “must.” The grapes used are Trebbiano, Ancellotta, Lumbrusco, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The true balsamic is a highly-guarded secret that very few producers share.

With his wife Cari, Craig Clark produces and markets Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars.

Foodie Awards:

  • Blackberry Balsamic 2011 SOFI Gold for best salad dressing
  • Pacific Spice 2011 SOFI Silver for best flavor enhancer
  • Champagne Mimosa 2012 SOFI Silver finalist for best shelf stable foodservice product


You can purchase Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars online at, at more than a dozen local wine tasting rooms, and at a number of specialty food outlets including Nature’s Touch Harvest and Nursery and J & R Meats in Templeton, Lazy Acres Market in Santa Barbara, A Matter of Taste in Cambria, and all three Central Coast We Olive stores. View a list of outlets offering these wonderful products If you would like to have a private tasting in their Highway 41 tasting room, contact Craig to set up a time: 805/703-0829

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vinegar photo: Jeff Van Kleeck

portrait: Cole Rodger Photographics

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