2024, What are your plans?

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I'm waiting on warm weather to prune the vines. I have 2 kits to start, a merlot and a mango/pineapple/dragon fruit. I have 2 five gal. batches aging and will bottle the Norton in the oak barrel soon.
We tend to make plans, then modify them repeatedly as new ideas occur. In September when we get the final grape list (we order west coast USA grapes), the plan is finalized.

This year is no different. In Post #3 I listed a first draft of our 2024 plan. Since then we've looked at production from 2020 to 2023 and accepted the fact that we have overproduced. So ... we're cutting this year's production by 25%.

Barrel #1 will probably be one of the items listed previously. Pinotage (if it's available) is the current front runner, but we may do a field blend of one of the other choices.

Barrel #2 will be 2 juice buckets fermented with the pomace of Barrel #1, and the type will depend on Barrel #1. So far we are happy with this year's Sangiovese juice + CS, CF, Merlot pomace, so we'll do a repeat.

Barrel #3 will be Chambourcin, Marechal Foch, or Chelois, purchased from @VinesnBines. This may be a field blend with a lug or two of other varietals, depending on what's available. The 2023 Chambourcin is developing nicely, so the idea of barreling the 2024 is strong.

For whites? I'm leaning towards Vidal again. The 2023 was fermented as juice and the remainder on the skins -- two totally different wines. I have a wild-haired idea of pressing out 7 gallons of juice to fill a carboy, and fermenting the pulp with a white juice bucket.

We have a "five year plan", where we don't make the same red twice in 5 years. Given our willingness to drink anything red Vinifera, it's not a hard plan to stick to.


We are thinking about yeast. Using Avante and Bravo in 2023 for the Vinifera worked well, and I have plenty left, so we'll do that again. The Chambourcin is acidic (French-American hybrid in cool climate, this is not a surprise) and the batch made with Avante (eats 25-30% of malic acid) is clearly different from the Bravo. We will probably do MLF this fall, although the tartaric will be high, so cold stabilization is on the menu to address that.

Doing MLF on the Vidal is also a thought. Not sure which yeast to use. TR-313 produced a strong grapefruit taste that was initially overpowering, although some of that was acid (which has reduced). I'm leaning towards a different strain, possibly 71-B.

Decisions, decisions, decisions ...
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I have a freezer full of rhubarb, raspberries, and mixed fruit blend so I plan to use that up. The rhubarb and raspberry will most likely be their own separate batches, and the mixed berry blend will be Dragons Blood.

I also have a bunch of frozen OJ so an orange chocolate wine is also in sight.

Skeeter Pee is on the list, but I am going to follow @BigDaveK 's plan and use the Costco lemon juice this time.

I also have a key lime SP fermenting now.

I do have 2 kits on the shelf, as well.

I don't plan to do any juice buckets this year - I will be bottling a Barbera from last spring's Chilean juice bucket soon. Although I may make an exception if I can source a fall Barbera juice bucket.

I may end up doing one or two dessert wine kits, but I have a pretty good stock of those right now.

I really need to clean off some shelves in my utility room so I have a place to store more bottled wine! Then I can add more fermenring to the list! 😂
I've secured a grape supply for a carboy of Riesling and a carboy of Pinot Noir + 1 gallon saignee rose. Planning on trying to get some Tempranillo from southern Oregon too if I can, but if not I'll be satisfied with just the 2 carboys this year. Or maybe I'd try a 3 gallon Foch since it seems to be easy to find and cheap on Craigslist closer to harvest time.

I tried my first bottle of (commercial) Willamette Valley Foch recently and it wasn't my favorite but wasn't bad either, but I'd consider making some just to have some variety in case I can't conveniently get other red vinifera varietals. I don't really think I can justify the cost of WineGrapesDirect buckets given that I live in a winegrowing region. And Costco wines are such a good value if I'm in the mood for full-bodied reds.

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