2022 Spring Ferment (All Frozen Must)

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Bmd2k1

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I pressed the remaining wine on Friday afternoon. The Syrah Cab blend was first. I was able to get 120L of free run and press wine.

The Cab was next and I was able to get 150L, 30 of which was pressed at bar 3. 120L was mostly free run with a little at 1 bar.

Here are a few images:

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Impressive operation! ✌
 

crushday

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Update:

Tested for MLF completion yesterday and let the results dry overnight. It's clear that I have a completed MLF in all wines sans the Port which I just started on Monday after pressing.

I haven't talked much about the Port on this thread. The Port was made up of the four varieties from this ferment: Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel - in equal parts. I chose Avante yeast and fermented it in my cellar which I keep at 58 degrees all year long. In the winter I end up using heat and in the summer an air conditioner to keep the temps where I want them. My hope for the Port was a long, sustained ferment and to test the low heat tolerances of the Avante. It worked great. I moved the Port to my fermentation room a week ago after it reached 4 Brix to warm up and complete primary so I could press and add the bacteria. The Port finished alcoholic fermentation on Sunday and I pressed it on Monday and, added the MLB. I kept the ferment at 58 degrees and it steadily moved along nicely.

After MLF I plan to back sweeten and add grape brandy or might even just use everclear - haven't decided which.

Here's the artwork...

5E29E2EB-DD87-45CA-89F6-73392CF121BD.jpeg
 
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CDrew

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Looks like this spring vintage has gone extremely well for you! I'll be super interested to hear how the port is, because I've considered making one myself. Very nice operation and thanks for the update.
 

crushday

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Great question, Craig. I use CH16, which has a tolerance to 16% ABV. I don't expect the Port to exceed that as none of the source grape must exceeded that tolerance and finished fine. The difference is I didn't coinnoculate as normal because of the low temp concerns of the bacteria as I was going to ferment at only 58 degrees. The low range of the MLB is 62 and the high is 77. To note, however, I have exceeded the high range many times and never had a problem.

We will see what happens in the coming weeks.
 

CDrew

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CH16 does seem to be an infallible work horse for MLF. And for me, I'm always in the sweet spot temperature wise, so maybe why it works so well. You have now provided some low temperature testing so thank you for that.

Follow up port question: How much do you plan to sweeten it?
 

crushday

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Great question, Drew. If it stayed at 4 Brix, I would be happy. But, I suspect it will do down a bit and might even go dry. If it does, I'll back sweeten to 4, no more than 5, Brix.

I don't know how other winemakers keep the Brix where they want. Arriving at the desired Brix and then fortifying would mean the bacteria never takes off. Arriving at the desired Brix and adding MLB (strategy I landed on) and fortifying after MLF is complete will certainly call for back sweetening. Not sure how to do the first strategy.
 
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CDrew

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Yes-I kind of assumed you just made wine as usual. Then fortified, then back sweetened. Maybe that's the wrong approach. Which brandy will you use to fortify? One of my commercial wine making friends got the commercial brandy version that isn't heavily aged or anything and his port is very good.
 

crushday

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Drew, I'm actually going back and forth between grape brandy, which I can only get at 80 proof or using Everclear (190 proof). I have lots of grape flavor in the Port right now, so not sure the benefit of using brandy in this case.

This is the third Port I've made in as many years. Previously, I used Christian Brothers Brandy (first year) and grape brandy for the second year. I'm super happy with the second year port. Mostly because the first year I got all out of wack following a recipe and added Hershey's chocolate syrup and all but ruined the port to my taste. Others love it though. The second year I just made the port from Syrah only. It's very good and aging in bottle.
 

CDrew

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Yes, it seems that 80 proof brandy would add too much water and dilute the grape flavor. I like the everclear idea. Unfortunately in California, our everclear is 66% alcohol and not 95% alcohol. But a road trip to Nevada can fix that. Please continue to post up how it turns out.
 
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