2021 Cab and Merlot vintage begins

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
I just got back to the vineyards today after 2 weeks of camping and vacation. Whew it has been hot and some of the vines are taking back that precious moisture from the grapes. I am seeing some shrivel. So, ALERT ALERT harvest begins this weekend!

Brix is all over the map. Merlots are in the 28-29's. Ugh. But last year's merlot came in at 27 and has plenty of acidity. Fingers crossed and some backwatering is in order.
The Cab Sauv ranges from 19 to 25. I did not irrigate as much as I did last year when I was trying to bring these sick and mysterious vineyards back on-line. So, this year's brix may be exposing the weak versus strong vines. Hopefully things will even out over time.


Here is some slight shrivel, mostly there are soft grapes, which are perfect for wine. But a couple of weak vines are basically making raisins this year.
I will be pulling fewer leaves next year because I see shrivel mainly in the overexposed clusters.
IMG_1176.JPEG
 
Last edited:

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
I make mostly 100% varietal of Cab and Merlot Then there is always some odd amount that gets blended. But I expect there will be blends in the future. I have a long term plan to grow Petit Verdot however I would like to keep all the grapes generally ripening simultaneously.
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
My hope is the high brix is due to water loss. We will see what the acid and pH are Saturday after harvest. It was a weird year for the Merlot, lots of shatter and fewer leaves
 

Nebbiolo020

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
67
Reaction score
65
My hope is the high brix is due to water loss. We will see what the acid and pH are Saturday after harvest. It was a weird year for the Merlot, lots of shatter and fewer leaves
I would be very interested in seeing the numbers for acid and ph. This year in general has from what I’ve heard from a lot of winemakers, been a pretty bad year real low yields across the board. But no smoke issues this year. Maybe it will be a good vintage because of the low yields.
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
I finally finished the measurements after one day of cold soaking.

Vineyard 1 Cab Sauv:
SG 1.094 Brix 22.5
3.42 pH
TA 6.375 g/L
146 lbs.

Vineyard 1 Merlot:
SG 1.120 Brix 28.1
3.79 pH
TA 3.6 g/L
73 lbs.

Vineyard 2 Cab Sauv:
SG 1.117 Brix 27.4
3.58 pH
TA 5.925 g/L
190 lbs.

I will remeasure the SG after I pitch some Lallezyme and let it work. The juice was a little cloudy

My plan this year is to bring the high brix down to 25 with acidified water. Last year I pitched yeast in the merlot at 27 Brix and had some trouble completeing MLF



IMG_1188.JPEG IMG_1187.JPEG

Cab on the left and Merlot on the right. The merlot stem is always more red. The yield is low, but that seems like a good thing for wine.
 
Last edited:

Nebbiolo020

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
67
Reaction score
65
I finally finished the measurements after one day of cold soaking.

Vineyard 1 Cab Sauv:
SG 1.094 Brix 22.5
3.42 pH
TA 6.375 g/L
146 lbs.

Vineyard 1 Merlot:
SG 1.120 Brix 28.1
3.79 pH
TA 3.6 g/L
73 lbs.

Vineyard 2 Cab Sauv:
SG 1.117 Brix 27.4
3.58 pH
TA 5.925 g/L
190 lbs.

I will remeasure the SG after I pitch some Lallezyme and let it work. The juice was a little cloudy

My plan this year is to bring the high brix down to 25 with acidified water. Last year I pitched yeast in the merlot at 27 Brix and had some trouble completeing MLF



View attachment 78706 View attachment 78707

Cab on the left and Merlot on the right. The merlot stem is always more red. The yield is low, but that seems like a good thing for wine.
That merlot has really high brix wow. Also the grapes look good. Also the acid is low on the merlot so they were picked a bit too late.
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
That merlot has really high brix wow. Also the grapes look good. Also the acid is low on the merlot so they were picked a bit too late.
And the merlot brix went up to 28.5. Yep picked too late. There is always something going on around this time of year and I waited a little too long. Also I wanted to rent a destemmer only one time so I was holding out for the Cab to ripen. I am going to bite the bullet and start shopping for my own destemmer.

Now I am tracking the growing degree days of various vine stages, like bud break, veraison, harvest so that I can get a better predicted date of harvest

The plan is to bring the TA of the Merlot up to 6 g/L with tartaric acid according to the predicted finished wine volume of 4.5gal. Then I will add enough 6 g/L acidity water to bring down the brix to 25. I will do the same treatment to the high brix Cab
 
Last edited:

Nebbiolo020

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
67
Reaction score
65
And the merlot brix went up to 28.5. Yep picked too late. There is always something going on around this time of year and I waited a little too long. Also I wanted to rent a destemmer only one time so I was holding out for the Cab to ripen. I am going to bite the bullet and start shopping for my own destemmer.

The plan is to bring the TA of the Merlot up to 6 g/L with tartaric acid according to the predicted finished wine volume of 4.5gal. Then I will add enough 6 g/L acidity water to bring down the brix to 25. I will do the same treatment to the high brix Cab
I’ve been renting a crusher and destemmer at $75 a year and it’s getting expensive a good motorized one is like $800 so might as well pay up for one cause it adds up if your paying close to what I am.
I’m still waiting for my grapes, I already got some fruit earlier in the year from a warmer vineyard that a friend owns but my grapes are sitting at 18 brix for both my whites and most of my reds are sitting at 18-19 brix. I wish they would hurry up and reach 23-24 so I can pick them stems are turning brown already so I’m worried I might have to add sugar to the must been a real weird year.

Im targeting 21 for my whites and 23-24 for reds but might not get that.
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
I have adjusted the TA up on the merlot. I did a 50 mL sample juice test where I tried adjusting to 4.8 g/L and 6g/L and I chose 4.8, which seems low but tastes good.

Then added water acidulated to 4.8 g/L.

Then I tasted the merlot and measured the pH and it read 3.1 Very alarming!! I double checked the tartaric addition, water addition and did my acid calculations with a conservative estimate of finished wine amount=60% of must volume.

I forgot that the must is mostly berries. I muddled a cup of must which came out to be 3.4pH.

So, I just have to trust the math at this point. I hope that it turns out okay.
 
Last edited:

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
4,296
Reaction score
4,776
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
I have adjusted the TA up on the merlot. I did a 50 mL sample juice test where I tried adjusting to 4.8 g/L and 6g/L and I chose 4.8, which seems low but tastes good.

Then added water acidulated to 4.8 g/L.

Then I tasted the merlot and measured the pH and it read 3.1 Very alarming!! I double checked the tartartic addition, water addition and did my acid calculations with a conservative estimate of finished wine amount=60% of must volume.

Then I forgot that the must is mostly berries and I muddled a cup of must which came out to be 3.4pH.

So, I just have to trust the math at this point. I hope that it turns out okay.
Yea. I think it’ll be better than ok. I’m a big believer that even if you over-adjusted the must pre-ferment - the wine tends to find itself by the time it’s stable & aging. All the crazy chemical reactions occurring during alcoholic fermentation and then malolactic fermentation can hide a multitude of sins from crush. And the final product ends up just slightly different. But not worse. It’s a part of what will make this wine become what it will be.
But over adjusting post ferment? Getting no forgiveness there! No help from chemistry to correct itself.
I’ve actually been ignoring TA As long as it’s not way way off. If ph too high I default to 3.6 regardless of TA. balancing both ph & ta to ideal levels pre-AF can be brutal- and sometimes impossible! Removing the stress of that balancing act was freeing.

anyway- great updates on the pick & crush. Wishing you a healthy & complete ferment.😉
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
I measured the merlot this morning and now the must has 3.4pH and the sharpness of the tartaric acid is lower. 😅 Always learning something new with wine.

Still has an obvious tingle on the tongue, hoping that diminishes.

Getting ready to pitch yeast after rehydration

Thanks @Ajmassa! I have experienced the same effect, preferment adjustments are more forgiving.
 
Last edited:

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
1631902499727.png

The two Cabs are racing towards the finish line! I had to put ice jugs in the musts. The merlot is slower, which I attribute to it being in a smaller container and (my guess) lower nitrogen due to being Merlot.

I am using Merit yeast again this year rehydrated in GoFerm. The yeast noticably started colonizing quicker than when I dry pitch yeast. If my batches grow in size, yeast + GoFerm will be cheaper than dry pitching. I am on the balance point now.
 
Last edited:

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
444
Reaction score
457
Location
San Jose, California
Well, crud. I had intended to co-innoculate with MLF but I forgot to add the CH-16.
The wines are approaching 2 to 7 Brix. Is there any information on adding ML at this stage, or should I just wait until after pressing?
I am chilling the wines with ice jugs, but it only keeps the must around 70F
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,512
Reaction score
4,373
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Well, crud. I had intended to co-innoculate with MLF but I forgot to add the CH-16.
The wines are approaching 2 to 7 Brix. Is there any information on adding ML at this stage, or should I just wait until after pressing?
I am chilling the wines with ice jugs, but it only keeps the must around 70F
The only reason I would wait is to make sure you get enough of the mlb in the pressed wine , so that if finishes. Not sure if that is scientifically backed, but since the amount of mlb that is added is so small, it would be a concern that it replicates enough and gets distributed enough in the must.
 
Top