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  1. NorCal

    Racking

    I’m 4-5 on a red, within 12 months. 24-48 hr after press After mlf 3 mo later Optional rack Rack before bottle
  2. NorCal

    Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

    A quick video of the destemmer, shake table and sorting line. The take away is that all the small stems and jacks are taken out of the ferment. This can only improve the quality of the finished wine.
  3. NorCal

    Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

    I was given 100 pounds of beautiful Grenache grapes and didn’t want to make a mess with my destemmer. I knew a winemaker (now bonded) that was crushing today and I asked if I could run mine through his equipment at the end. He said yes. His equipment was on point. I will definitely be...
  4. NorCal

    Malo-lactic fermentation experiment and advice

    Hey Aaron, welcome. Where about are you? I’m in Loomis. Doing or not doing mlf is definitely a winemakers choice for the reasons you listed. If you choose not to, be sure your SO2 level is pretty high when you bottle. I’ve always chosen to do my reds, for the reasons you listed.
  5. NorCal

    Rose wine

    I pulled juice yesterday as well! I let it settle for a day and then rack only the good juice to make my rose. I’ll be sure to take more juice than I want in the very beginning, knowing I will toss the unsettled juice back into the red wine must. I’ve known winemakers that just ferment the...
  6. NorCal

    2020 Barrel; The best Merlot heavy, Bordeaux blend possible

    In our little wine making collective we have nicknamed Avante (which I’m using) the Beast Yeast. I think it will plow through the 17% abv without even blinking an eye.
  7. NorCal

    2020 Barrel; The best Merlot heavy, Bordeaux blend possible

    Picked up 500 pounds of Cab Franc today. I wasn’t thrilled with the fruit. I was shocked that the brix came in at 27 1/2. Very little raisining, but not very juicy. The pH came it at 3.6, which is abnormally low for this brix and question the measurement. I pulled out 3 1/2 gallons for a...
  8. NorCal

    Saignee Volume to Remove

    I also shoot for around 10-15% of the expected finished wine.
  9. NorCal

    How many of you don't check sulfite levels before bottling?

    I do, mostly because we have higher pH wines and I want to have enough SO2 to protect the wine, but not more than I need. My whites, where they have much better pH and I bottle in Jan, I’ll just toss 50ppm in and call it a day.
  10. NorCal

    Corking Problem

    I bought a used Ferrari corker, just so I could say I own a Ferrari. I'll 100 - 300 bottles at a time, so I wanted the brass jaws. You'll be happy with the Portuguese corker.
  11. NorCal

    Helping a new winemaker - Cab Franc Barrel

    We let the wine settle for about 36 hours and racked into the barrel. He bought a 3rd year barrel from a local commercial winery (had the highest rated Syrah in the nation a few years ago), where I’ve gotten a few barrels from. $70 for a well cared for barrel, is a good deal. I made the...
  12. NorCal

    A 2020 Cab Franc journey with fellow WMT member

    At this point wouldn’t add nutrient, but would stir on occasion. Ah, that was the good neighbor state, bin weight rounding up that gave you a bit more. That was in case some grapes fell out along the way.
  13. NorCal

    A 2020 Cab Franc journey with fellow WMT member

    Hey @crushday, You got a very good yield at 13.6 pounds/gallon. I’m usually at 15-15.5 Sounds like an awesome line-up and a lot of great blending options. I looked at how long it took for my Cab Franc to complete mlf. Over the last 3 years, it was between 6-8 weeks from inoculation. I...
  14. NorCal

    A 2020 Cab Franc journey with fellow WMT member

    Nicely done on the barrel carts. What was your total yield on the Cab Franc? How does it taste? Are you going to mlf?
  15. NorCal

    2020 Crush and Blends

    Mourvedre and Syrah go well with Grenache (my plan for next year). If you want to retain some Merlot characteristics, I would be cautious to add any more than 10% Petite Sirah. My experience is that PS will dominate a lighter varietal wine pretty quickly. Instead of the PS, add some Cab...
  16. NorCal

    Confusion on when to start MLF (using Brix)

    I‘ll read the manufacturer’s data sheet. My go to is mlb is Beta and it allows for a number of different scenarios on when and how to add. I‘m with @crushday on mlf on a white. A buttery Chardonnay it would be a must, others you want to make sure it supports the wine you want to make.
  17. NorCal

    Helping a new winemaker - Cab Franc Barrel

    Pressing day. Yield was spot on at 80 gallons. Good looking, tasting wine. Used my Wineasy to press the must, took two loads. Pic of the cutest dog in the world.
  18. NorCal

    Dealing with smoke

    I'm selling 55 tons grapes for the community here in the Sierra Foothills and some winemakers I sell to are not concerned, others won't take the grapes unless there is an agreement that they are refunded if there is smoke taint present. Some say they can tell right when they get their grapes...
  19. NorCal

    First Crush since 2017!

    Good luck, sounds like a fun time with friends and family. I'm sure it will be like riding a bike.
  20. NorCal

    Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

    Thanks @crushday. Great offer, I appreciate it. I’m already committed next year to do a GSM barrel, but maybe the year after.
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