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the_crane

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Hello,
I have gone out on my own to produce a home made Shiraz wine from fresh grapes and I would like to get some advice if I am heading on the right path?
I de-stemmed and crushed approx. 300kg (662 pound) of Shiraz which had a Brix of 26%. I used a refractometer to measure this. The approx. volume of the must is around 350l (92g). I added no yeast or S02 to the grapes.
Day 3 the Brix came down to 24% and must temp. was 22C (71.6F).
Day 4, the Brix is at 21%, temp 25C (77F), ph 3.5, and titratable acid 0.5-0.6%. I only started testing for ph and acid this day as I decided to get serious about it.
At Day 7, I'm planning to press the skins and add the juice back into the bin to complete the primary fermentation.

Is there anything I should do to adjust the must?
 

Boatboy24

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At this point, I'd let it roll. Don't base your pressing on the calendar, base it on a hydrometer reading. When you're at 1.1010 or less, its time to press. I like to wait to close to 1.000.
 

the_crane

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Hi Jim,
This is where reading too much literature about wine making creates confusion. The Home Winemakers Manual suggest to press after 7 days as the colour intensity peaks and tannins starts to increase.
I can go either way at this stage. I'm punching the cap twice a day and the colour of the must is more purple than red.
Lorenzo
 

salcoco

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since I note that you did not add yeast but ae relaying on wild yeast fermentation, closely monitor your brix level to insure you do not get a stuck fermentation or any off odors. if you are using a refratometer for your measurements get the spreadsheet on line that give the correction to specific gravity
 

the_crane

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Yes, I didn't add any yeast as I have never seen any of my family members do this step in past seasons.
The must still smells fruity and I can hear the must fermenting. I'm tracking daily the Brix levels but I will locate the conversion spreadsheet. Thanks
 

NorCal

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I would consider this a very slow fermentation. Can make great wine, but can also lead to trouble; stuck, H2S as @salcoco said. I would monitor it real close, using a hydrometer as @sour_grapes said. If this was really good fruit and the fermentation continues this path, dropping sugar until you are dry, without off odors, you should have a really nice wine.
I would say going this path is all about risk and reward. Last season my ton of Syrah fermented dry in 6 days and made a nice clean wine. The fruit was excellent and I would have loved to have more time on the skins at the lower brix.

Good luck, keep us updated. Subscribed.
 

stickman

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You might consider pulling out a 5gal bucket of must and inoculating with EC1118 or DV10 yeast and maybe add some yeast nutrient, then let this ferment separately. If the main batch has trouble finishing, you'll have a nice supply of well acclimated yeast to use for restarting the batch.
 

Johnd

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I'm watching with interest to see how this works out, my last few batches I was teetering on the fence about using the natural yeast in the grapes versus cultured yeast, but in all cases, the risk got the better of me and I used cultured yeast. I hope this works out great for you.

Take the advice a couple of folks have offered, and get a hydrometer. Once your must starts to ferment and alcohol is present, the refractometer loses it's accuracy, and although I have seen formulas to account for this, a hydrometer is a simple, effective, inexpensive tool to monitor your fermentation progress..
 

NorCal

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Great advice from @stickman. Gives you a low cost insurance policy. At this point, the yeast will need some nutrient in the must.
 

Johny99

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Is it too late to add a yeast to the must?
Nope, that is a viable technique. You won't want as much nutrients as if it is done earlier, but some is a good idea.

As for when to press, with Syrah I let taste be my guide. I ferment it slow and cool and use taste to monitor extraction. Once it seems right, I press.

Keep us updated:h
 

CryptoStorm

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Johnd,
One of the first wines I ever made was a concord wine from grapes.

I didn't press them, I just crushed them and let them sit in a Brute for about 3 days and sucked the juice off the bottom.

I ended up with (4) 6 gallon carboys. Two I used cultured yeast on, the other two I just left going.

I have to say that the cultured yeast wine had better flavor and better color.

It really is interesting how much difference the yeast strain can make.

I doubt I will ever use wild yeast again, personally.

Also, 24 gallons is a lot of concord wine... but it's gone.. that was a long time ago.. when concord was good :p..
 
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the_crane

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Thank you for all of the great advice.
I ran the conversion calcs and have attached how my testing is going.
The must is still fermenting and dropping sugars but my pH and TA has increased since two days ago. The TA is fine at 0.7 but my pH should be below 3.5 for a red, correct??
I tasted the juice and the sweetness has definitely dropped. I'm off to purchase a hydrometer today and add this to my testing regime.

Data1.JPG
 

Johnd

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The TA is fine at 0.7 but my pH should be below 3.5 for a red, correct??
Not necessarily, you should let your taste buds decide later, but stay the course for now, finish up your AF, put it through MLF, and sulfite according to the pH during some aging time.

I've been paying a lot of attention to commercial wine pH's, lots of them, really good ones, have pH's in the 3.7's and 3.8's, so don't let numbers dictate your actions if you're on the higher side, let taste and good sulfite management govern.
 

salcoco

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measurements at this time will be skewed because of carbon dioxie in the must. carbolic acid can be developed that will throw off any acid and ph measurements. best wait until wine is clear and stable before considering any valid measurements.
 

the_crane

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I sampled and tested my Shiraz today doing my usual test but this time I had a hydrometer.
My sample gave me a SG of 1.020 which after calculations with temp of 22.7C gives me a Brix of 5.2%. Interesting comparing todays hydro reading against the refractometer conversion.
My pH is increasing and the TA is reducing.
Looks like I might be pressing this weekend.

Data2.JPG
 

the_crane

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Nearly there

My hydro reading is at 1.005 sG to day so I'm planning to press on Sunday.
Once the wine settles I will look at testing the pH and TA now that primary fermentation has finished.

Data3.JPG
 

the_crane

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I transferred my wine into the carboys on Sunday. I pressed the pomace twice sampling the taste each time. Before going into the carboys I blended all of the juice and pressing together. I thought it tasted pretty darn good.
I'll rack it off in a couple of weeks before transferring it into demijohns.
 
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