Chilean 2017

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JohnT

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It all began Friday night, when I drove straight from work to my brother's shop to swap my car for his van. This took over 3 hours! Jersey traffic sucks, but FRIDAY Jersey traffic really bites the big one! Getting home around 8:30, I spent a couple hours getting the winery ready and then tried to get some sleep.

At 4:30, I gave up on the idea of getting any sleep. I got up and got a pot of coffee going. I sipped down a cup and then took one for the road. By 5:00, I was on the road to Hammonton (Gino Pinto's). It was raining, but I made managed to make good time. I arrived by 7:30am (a half hour before they opened).

A note on Gino Pinto: Although they had my grapes, they did not have one of the other items I had ordered (Nutrient). I found this frustrating since I had ordered via e-mail, got confirmation, and had even spoken to them twice last week. A "heads up" would have been nice so that I could get it from someone else. Still, they had my grapes and I guess I should count myself lucky. As it turned out, I luckily had just enough nutrient left over from the fall crush.

The rain was so bad on the trip back that felt like I was trying to cross the Straits of Magellan. They even lowered the speed limit on the NJ Turnpike to 45mph which they only do when the weather is really bad. Despite the bad weather, the van handled great even though it was carrying a load of grapes. I got back to the winery by 10:30am.

At 11am, the older brother arrives with TWO 10X10 tents. With the rain, he figured that we needed them, so he pick them up at Lowes (did I mention that my older brother is a genious?). We set one up to cover the destemmer, and the other to cover the sorting bench. Shortly after my brother arrived, my nephew/godson showed up to help.

We had the tents and the equipment all set and up by noon were busily sorting grapes.

Sorting through the grapes, we found that the quality was very inconsistent. Some boxes were packed with firm, beautiful clusters and some of the boxes not so much . We sorted through the grapes removing stems, leaves, mixed ripe/unripe clusters, second growth clusters and dead/dehydrated clusters. By the time sorting was done, we had about 18 pounds of “dead-loss”.

The rain us unrelenting. We were soaked to the bone while crushing. To make things worse, those grapes were COLD! Handling the grapes while sorting was down right PAINFUL. Still, cold is good and is perhaps the reason why we had only a few clusters that were moldy.

By 2:30, we had all the grapes crushed and all of the equipment put away. Just as we were putting the last bit of equipment away, my niece Irena showed up to help. Great timing on her part.

By the end of things, all of us were SOAKED and chilled to the bone. We retired to the man cave, lit a fire, got warm and dry, and enjoyed sipping some past vintages. The party broke up at around 7pm. I slept like a BABY!

Here are my numbers: Brix: 22, PH: 3.64, TA: .537 and initial temperature was a COLD 46 degrees. I made no adjustment for acid/ph at this time. I will adjust post fermentation (prior to MLF). I was surprised at just how cold the must was. This was after we sorted each cluster and ran them through the destemmer. This must have WARMED THEM UP to 46 degrees. No wonder it was so painful sorting.

I boosted the heat in the winery to 80 and by last night (Sunday) the temp was over 60 degrees. I pitched the yeast last night at around 8pm.

Here are some pics.

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Ajmassa

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That rain was definitely brutal Saturday. I tried to do as much work inside as I could.
Hearing your "18 lbs dead loss" makes me re-think my own 'selectiveness'. I tossed stems leaves and unripe clusters, but kept the raisins since they're often added to kit musts and assumed would not hurt the wine. Oh well. And I don't even know what "second growth clusters" are!
When I picked up my juice Saturday at my LHBS I told them I got my grapes two weeks ago from there and asked if this was a fresh new supply (otherwise why 2 weeks later?). He told me no. And that Gino pintos gets all their stuff in one shot. And they're such a big supplier it tends to take some time to deliver to the countless local shops. So they keep everything DAMN COLD! My 9 yr old daughters feet were numb after stomping!
And that's my one bugaboo with Pintos. Catalog and selection is unreal, but they can be so big that their customers are just a number. Had a nice convo about this with the owner and his wife at "Wine Barely & Hops" while getting my juice and getting sopping wet.
Regardless, I'd rather be making wine in the rain then not making at all. And nice foresight by your brother!
 

sour_grapes

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My goodness, John, that sounds heroic. It is times like that that make me glad I built a sauna. I was almost feeling chilled just reading your description!
 

JohnT

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My goodness, John, that sounds heroic. It is times like that that make me glad I built a sauna. I was almost feeling chilled just reading your description!

It was worth it and I would do it all over again!

Punched down last night and this morning. This morning, the must was 63 degrees with a defined soft raft that has formed. Punched down and added my second nutrient treatment.
 
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JohnT

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JohnT

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I punched down last night and again this morning.

Things are progressing nicely. I see that I am getting great color extraction, a nice firm raft/cap, and the temp is slowly climbing and is now at 74 degrees.

I expect this to rise quite a bit over the next 24 hours as we are approaching the top of the "fermentation curve".
 

JohnT

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Another update.

At last night's punchdown, the must was at 78 degrees and the brix was at 16.5.

At this morning's punchdown, the must was at 88 degrees with a nice firm cap.

It is churning away nicely! I just love that aroma and the soothing snap-crackle-pop. I think I should record the sound and sell it to people as a sleep aid!
 

JohnT

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At punch down last night, temp was 83 degrees and we were down to 11 brix. Temp was at 86 degrees this morning and we are noticeably at the top of the fermentation curve!

I do not know if I said this, but we came up for a name for this particular batch... How does this sound?...

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sour_grapes

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Sounds good, John. However, "Raindrops" sounds better to me (hoping to evoke the liquid inside the bottle as well as the crush circumstances). Whaddya think? :rn
 

dcbrown73

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At punch down last night, temp was 83 degrees and we were down to 11 brix. Temp was at 86 degrees this morning and we are noticeably at the top of the fermentation curve!

I do not know if I said this, but we came up for a name for this particular batch... How does this sound?...
Not bad. Being a particular fan of some fantasy books. I'm partial to Stormbringer.

Though this is your wine not mine!
 

JohnT

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So, what is the equivelent of " Winemaker's dish pan hands"?

Got all my equipment clean and ready.

Currently at 6 brix and 86 degrees.
 
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JohnT

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What a weekend!

The wife was away attending my niece's graduation. The good news is that I was so busy that I did not have any time to miss her.

On Friday, after work and after punching down, I spent the evening scrubbing and cleaning the press, tank, buckets, strainers, pump, and hoses. When all the equipment was clean, I sat down and shared the peace and quiet with a bottle of my 2014 merlot. My stomach then reminded me that I had not had my dinner. Since I was so hungry, what I ate did not matter much so long as it was food. To make a long story short, it was frozen tortellini and jarred sauce.

I noticed that fermentation was going gang-busters! The plastic sheet had a nice crown showing the amount of CO2 being produced. (PIC 1). I send a photo to my brother saying "there is nothing sexier than my bulge!". Got him laughing on that one. Friday evening, brix fell to 6.0.

On Saturday, we pressed the Chilean. I woke up at 5am, got coffee going, did a little bit of organizing, and started skimming off the cap at about 7:30. My brother showed up and we had the cap in the press by 9am. (PICs 2 - 4).

The color extraction was deep and dark. Just the way I like it! Brix were down to 3.5. Normally the brix is a lot lower but the grapes were very cold and I had to spend extra time to warm them up. As a result, I pitched the yeast much later than normal. I also went with a cooler fermentation (not exceeding 86 degrees). Waiting a day or two to press was out of the question. That damn job of mine once again is "crimping my style"!

With the press loaded, closed, and engaged, we turned our focus to pumping the free run juice to the tank. What hard work! Stick a column strainer into the vat, stick the intake pipe into the column strainer, run the output end to the tank, then hit a switch! Took all of 30 seconds.

With the tank loaded, it was back to the press. We backed off, opened up, and gave the grapes a good forking. I have a large fork that I made when blacksmithing just for stirring grapes. It is a really nice tool if I can say so myself.

We then put the remainder of the skins into the press, tamped it down, then closed the press up, set the dial, flipped the switch, and sat down to relax and wait. We ended up forking the grapes twice more until we had no choice but to dial the pressure up in order to keep a small stream coming off of the press.

This is the point where the battle really begins.

Both my brother and I are Hungarians. We are a VERY impatient breed. It was once said that a Hungarian can get behind you in a revolving door, and come out ahead of you. When pressing, there is always a battle over when to break the press down. It is always my brother wanting to break the press down and my trying to distract my brother in order to delay it.

It is almost a game. It's me saying "hey, she is flowing at a good sip per second" or "come on, I bet we can get at least another couple of bottles out of this". It is all playful in nature and we both were laughing pretty hard about it. In PIC 5, you can see the stream with about 150 bars of pressure applied. in PIC 6 and PIC 7 & 8 you can what 1008 pounds of grapes was reduced to!

When we were reduced to dripping, and with the press increased to 300 bars of pressure, I had mercy on my brother and finally agreed that it was time to break the press down. Of course I did have to tease him by saying "we could have gotten another case out of that!!!

Note: I am my Father's son. My Dad would use an 8-foot pipe on a ratchet press to increase the leverage applied to get every last drop. My dad really HAD to get every last bit out of his grapes! By the time we broke his press down, there wasn't spent skins but dust in there. You could take a handful and blow them into the wind like a ripe dandelion. WWDD (what would Dad Do?) is my pressing catch-phrase.

Our total yield was pretty close to my "dead reckoning". We filled the 300 liter tank plus two carboys. One carboy is for topping up when we rack off the gross lees. We put the final pressings in the other carboy and marked it accordingly. This will not be used for top off and will be kept separate.

By noon, we had all of the equipment scrubbed, clean, and put away. We then got the press and winery floor hosed down and clean and my storage shed swept, organized, and all locked up. Time to relax a bit and shared a glass of wine. ONE glass and only ONE glass!

How we laughed and carried on. It was one of the best times I have had in quite some time. To think that growing up we were at each other's throats. How times and minds change over time!

Not wanting the fun to end, we hatched a plan to move the festivities to his house. "Lets cook something and why don't you spend the night"?

.. to be continued in the "what's for dinner?" thread.....

BTW, It rained!

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JohnT

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I did my first racking yesterday to remove the gross lees. Brix is pegged at 0. It was Nice to see that fermentation had completed.

I added a pound of XOV oak (4X4 inch squares) and made sure to taste it.
For a 2 week old wine, the taste is amazing. MLF is currently underway and, according to my highly calibrated wine analyzer (aka my tongue), is about 1/2 way there.


This is going to be one of the good ones!
I just hop that I can remember that my brother gets half. :)
 

jswordy

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I am so glad you ADDED PIX! Makes it a lot cooler to read/see. Thanks.
 

JohnT

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I tasted the Chilean this weekend. It registered "Buttery" on the old "Tongue-o-meter". Being satisfied with the MLF, I raised the SO2 to 50ppm. Wine is clearing nicely!

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