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grape juice artisan
Supporting Member
Jul 1, 2018
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PNW - South Sound
I started three batches of wine this weekend. I need to bottle a couple barrels (15 gallon, french oak) as the wine (both Cab) is reminding me of high school shop class and I fear they may be over oaked if I wait until September, when I was planning on changing them out. They are first generation barrels and I filled them on Christmas day 2020. So, we're just over the six month mark.

Here are the three batches - started on a weekend that is blistering hot. For the Seattle area, these temps are extremely unusual: June 26 - 100 degrees, June 27 - estimated 108, June 28 - estimated 112, June 29 - estimated 88. So, three days of crazy... I had no idea Death Valley was moving in when I ordered these I do have window A/C units in the garage helping keep the temp manageable.

Also, I'm planning on pitching Avante on all three. A couple reasons: The yeast should have no problem ripping through the Shiraz and Syrah, specifically. Also it has a high heat tolerance and I'm concerned I won't be able to control the temp as I normally would. I actually wanted to use Maestoso but the temperature range was too low. I'm not going to co-inoculate CH-16 this time as I'm concerned about ambient and fermentation temps killing the bacteria. I'll inoculate after pressing.

The wine:
  1. 5 buckets (WineGrapesDirect) of Shiraz, Sonoma County, Knights Valley AVA, California, Brix: 28.1, pH: 3.57, TA: 6.26, pickup June 25, completely thawed June 26. Added EX-V throughout 5 buckets. Also added 75gm of tartaric acid and 2.5 gallons of water. Should bring the Brix down to 25. Will have to watch as it is 100 degrees today. June 26PM, pitched 2 TBS of Avante yeast as temp was 65. June 27AM, Avante beginning to show signs.
  2. 1 drum (WineGrapesDirect) of Carignan, Lodi CA, Brix: 22.4, pH: 3.76, TA: .57, pickup drum on June 25, June 26 opened but not thawed. Will add 90gm tartaric and EX-V when thawed.
  3. 1 drum (Brehm) of Syrah, Columbia Gorge AVA, Oregon, Brix 25.5, TA: 5.5, pH: 3.42, pick up drum on June 25, June 26 opened but not thawed. Peter recommends a tartaric addition of 135gm, but aren't the numbers in good shape?
For those of you wondering, I'm aware that the Shiraz and Syrah are basically the same grape. The resulting wines are going to be heavily dependent on terroir and GDD of the respective AVAs. The Knights Valley (HOT) Shiraz will be more tannic, bolder and inky. The Columbia Gorge (cooler) Syrah will be smoother, more light in color (but not much) and exhibit more fruit on the nose and palate.

A few pictures:

First: the Carignan - still frozen.


Second: Syrah - lots of whole berries and almost thawed. You can see the EX-V sprinkled on the grapes.


Third: Shiraz in a stainless fermentor. You can see how the yeast is starting to take hold. I pitched the yeast last night approximately 11pm. You can also see the Tilt. I have that mostly for the temperature reading.IMG_2344.jpeg

Fourth: A shot of the bucket label of the Shiraz.

Last edited:
June 28AM

Shiraz - punched down very loose cap. It’s two days ahead of the others.

Carignan - temp 55, added 90gm of TA - pitch yeast tonight?

Syrah - temp 59, Peter Brehm suggests 135gm TA addition but pH is 3.42 so I’m not sure it’s necessary. Pitch yeast tonight?

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