2020 Fall Grape Season Coming Up

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mainshipfred

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Got a call from a vineyard telling me they had Norton available, I thought I was done for the season but can't pass up Norton. The grapes weren't in the best of shape and starting to raison. The brix from a few berries was 22.5 and was told the pH was all over the place depending on which block they came from. I'll check that tomorrow as well as recheck the brix and make the proper adjustments. I'm looking at this to see what I've learned over the years and what kind of wine I can make out of a less than desirable fruit.
 

Ignoble Grape

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Summary Report for 2020:

150 lbs direct-press whole cluster Chardonnay - Made 10 gallons buttery Chard, and about 10 bottles of pet-nat sparkling wine - hoping to avoid smoke taint
150 lbs of direct-press whole cluster Merlot for 9 gl. of Rose - hoping to avoid smoke taint
300 lbs Merlot - likely smoke taint
54 lbs of Cab from a friend's vineyard - yielded 4 gallons juice - very likely smoke taint, fermented on heavy-toast American Oak chips
230 lbs Petite Verdot - Split into 2 ferments with different yeast/oak - likely smoke taint
500 lbs Cabernet - Split into 3 ferements with different yeast/oak - only one I'm not worried about smoke
5 gallons piquette made from the Cab/Petite Verdot pomace - because why not? It's a COVID kind of experiment. ;-]

All-in-all, this has kept my weekends full from late July-now. The irony is that it was the most work I've done with different ferments going, and aside from the 500 lbs of Cab, it could all be for naught with the fires. Hedged my bets where possible and now the waiting begins.

Used the new bladder press - very, very good purchase. Will not go back to the basket press. My upper arms thank me.

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Chard- happily cool fermenting for about 20 days... wonderful tropical aromas.
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Look at that must! You can almost smell it...
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Glorious day out in Carmel Valley, CA
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Putting those new-to-me stainless steall variable capacity tanks to good use - two are filled, with one empty for racking - will see if I can get a welder to put in outlet valves about 4 inches up after I empty them next fall. Also need to figure out a way to warm them up a little.

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Rose and Chard - done.
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Aaaaand one more pic of happy grapes from 2020!

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jgmann67

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Well, I finally got around to moving the wine off the finer lees and hitting it with kmeta. MLF came out beautifully and the wines taste very good (particularly the Malbec).

I plan to move the wines through the barrel starting next week. Probably the Malbec first. Doing the math in my head - 11 gallons of Malbec; about 18 gallons of the blend; and an 8 gallon barrel.

I figure doing the Malbec first and letting it sit an extra week, that way I can blend together the oaked and unoaked wines. The blend will be a lot easier.

Thinking too about my barrel schedule - first run through the barrel - 6-8 weeks; second run - 8-10: third run - 10-12; and if there’s time before next year’s grapes I’m thinking of pushing the 2019 cab-syrah through the barrel for a bit.

comments always welcome.
 

Boatboy24

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jgmann67

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stickman

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Not only a nice barrel, that's also a nice piece of furniture.
 

jgmann67

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Did you end up getting one? I meant to send a pic of what I was talking about w/ the 2x4s.

View attachment 71454
Not yet. Going to run over today after my dr’s Appt. I like that a lot though. Off the floor and easy to move.

How often should I check and top a new barrel? I’m going to check it weekly and have a 1.5L bottle in the fridge to used to top. Should be plenty (hopefully).
 

mainshipfred

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If it were me I would check it weekly for the first few weeks to a month to see how it reacts with the humidity and make your decision then. But I would guess every month or two would be fine.
 

Boatboy24

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Agree with Fred. It'll suck up a little more than normal the first week or two, but settle into a fairly predictable pattern after that. I have to check more frequently in the winter due to the lower humidity.
 

Boatboy24

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Yep - 24 hours filled with spring water. I did that after running a couple gallons of hot spring water in it to seal things up.
Ya know, I never really thought about it, but our public water supply does contain chlorine. I wonder if I should be using something else to break in a barrel.
 

jgmann67

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Ya know, I never really thought about it, but our public water supply does contain chlorine. I wonder if I should be using something else to break in a barrel.
The tutorial videos I watched used filtered tap water to screen out chlorine and other hard stuff, so I figured I’d just go right to the spring water instead.

I’m having a bit of an emergency with my 2019 Cab-Syrah blend. Last year, it was tasting pretty great. But things got away from me and I left the wine on the oak cubes for an extended period of time. I believe I had something bacterial going on because I started to see floaters at the top of the carboy. I racked and dozed the wine. But, I tasted the wine last night and it had a sour nose and taste.

I’ve been kicking myself every time I look at those carboys. If my wine is turning to vinegar, is there anything I can do???
 

mainshipfred

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Ya know, I never really thought about it, but our public water supply does contain chlorine. I wonder if I should be using something else to break in a barrel.
Maybe I'm just lucky I've not noticed any negative affects yet. Plus I've always heard the K-meta/sulfite solution somehow gets rid of the chlorine. It takes a lot of water to fill a 30, 40 or 50 liter barrel. Then you have cleaning the barrels which you have no choice but to use city water. I not sure what other choices we have.
 

jgmann67

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The Malbec has been in the barrel going on three weeks. I’m going to give it another taste at week four. At week two, I could tast the oak, but it’s not very strong. The wine was also a little sour. Going to check pH coming out of the barrel.

Plan was to leave it in the barrel 4-6 weeks.
 

jgmann67

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Four weeks in the barrel for the Malbec. The sour is pretty much gone. The taste is pleasant, markedly better. Definitely going another couple weeks (at least, maybe another 4 weeks since I have two gallons of unoaked Malbec to blend) in the barrel.

Initially, I was considering putting the 2019 cab-syrah through it after I got done with the super tuscan blend. But, I haven't tasted it since filtering it a couple weeks ago. If I can't save it, I'm just going to roll from the 2020 wines into the 2021s.
 
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