Chilean Plan 2018

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by JohnT, May 17, 2018.

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  1. May 17, 2018 #1

    JohnT

    JohnT

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    Well, I am disappointed.

    As you all know, the fall crush is a big deal. For the last 7 years or so, I have also been doing a much smaller Chilean crush limited to 300 or 350 liters.

    The operative word here is "limited". I keep this mostly between my brother and myself and might allow the nieces and nephews to do just a couple of cases. This has all worked out well until this year. I do have plenty of help this Saturday to sort and crush, but I will be alone on the following Saturday to press.

    Now, pressing 300 liters of grapes is really not that hard and it is definitely something that I could do myself. When you remove the social aspect of things, however, it ends up being just another chore. I guess that I would be a little angry if it were not for the fact that the plan is to press on Memorial day weekend. After all, people have lives. Still, I need to question if they want to MAKE wine or if they simply want wine. Jury is out on that one.

    OK, now that I have vented my feeling of disappointment, here is my plan.

    What I am making
    I am doing a Chilean Cab Sav and have ordered 48 half-lugs of cab, and 8 half-lugs of merlot.

    Experience tells me that nine 36-pound lugs should fill 100 liters of a tank, so 56 half lugs (18 pounds) should fill the 300 liter tanks I have waiting (and then some).

    At crush, I will incrementally add 25.5 grams of kmeta (50ppm SO2) and also the first increment of yeast nutrient t (a DAP/Fermax cocktail). Some will say that this will only serve to feed the "nasties", but I like to add it a bit early to ensure that it is well dissolved throughout the must.

    I also do a "pre-adjustment" on the acid if needed. I like to have .55 minimum going into fermentation / maceration and adjust with tartaric if need be.

    The must will then cold soak for 24 hours to allow the SO2 to dissipate and the must to warm up.

    I will then pitch 27 packets of RC212, then punch down twice daily (530am and 530pm) until press day. At each punch down, I will take brix and temp readings to be sure that everything is going right.

    So the crush day plan
    On the way home from work on Friday night I will pick up my brother's van and gas it up. Hit the bank to transfer funds, make up k-meta solution, then pull out all of the equipment we will need. Then sit down, enjoy a glass, and try to get some sleep.

    On Saturday, It is up at 5am, shower, fill a travel mug with coffee, and head on out by 6am. It takes roughly 2.5 hours to get to Gino Pinto's and I should make it there by the time they open.

    It turns out that Gino Pinto has a great price on bottles (under $11 per case) and a great price on corks (24mm X 45 mm natural corks are only $169 for a 1,000 count bag. At .16 per cork, I ordered 2 bags of them. I will see if there is any room for bottles once all of the grapes are loaded.

    While I am getting the grapes, the brother will head to the winery to get things scrubbed, sanitized, and set up.
    Unfortunately, according to the weather forecast, Saturday will be the 4th day of rain. Last year was an absolute mud-fest so I want to try something new. Instead of setting up 10X10 popups, we will set the crusher right over the fermentation tub and sort/crush inside the winery. It may be cramped, but at least we will be dry.

    I should get back by noontime and if all goes to plan, we should have everything crushed and cleaned up by 3pm.

    We shall see what the fates allow...
     
  2. May 17, 2018 #2

    Ajmassa5983

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    Lots of planning involved. Hoping everything works out for ya.
    Pintos has some really great prices for bottles and corks like you said. Carboys are cheapest I’ve seen too. I loaded up a few different cases myself. I’ve got some wine ready to be bottles for a while now. But improving while I procrastinate! (Gotta love that aspect) And a few 50count bags of the natural corks too- never used em before. Prices were too good to not stock up. Tho the 8.8 gal demijohns I wanted we’re out of stock. Good luck
    Oh and by the way- pintos grapes seem to have all been decent numbers for most. My So2 registered about 15 free ppm at crush with ph lowish at 3.3 and TA just under .60. Not having to adjust acid was refreshing. I ended up dosing another ~15ppm So2. Was 2nd Chilean and my 2nd time impressed by the quality.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  3. May 17, 2018 #3

    mainshipfred

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    Is there a grade on those natural corks. I've beem getting grade 3 from More wine 100 for $42.00. I've also seen Norcal has the same deal for antural corks but it doesn't say the grade. Is Grade 3 the lowest for natural corks. They seem to work just fine $.17 a piece is a very good price.
     
  4. May 19, 2018 #4

    JohnT

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    Well, I am no.longer disappointed. What a great crush. Full report to follow.
     
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  5. May 21, 2018 #5

    JohnT

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    What a great spring crush this was!

    On Friday, I made it to my brothers shop, handed him the keys to my new car, and drove his van home. I then spent the rest of the evening pulling out equipment and a number of other crush day chores. Get to be at a modest 9pm. Slept quite well.

    On Saturday it was pouring rain and in the low 50s. For some reason, I am always crushing Chilean grapes in the rain. Wet, cold, and miserable. I hit the road at 6:30 in the morning and got down to Gino Pintos by 8:30. Last year, they did not open until 9am so I figured that I would have a half hour to kill. To my surprise, they opened at 8am. Wahoo!

    Now, I am NOT in any way connected with Gino Pintos. So trust me when I say that they are friggin awesome! Clean, efficient, and definitely has the lowest prices around. While at the counter (to pay for my grapes), I noticed that they had green Bordeaux bottles for $10.50 per case!!! WOW! So the plan get amended. I asked that once they load the grapes, they fit as many cases of bottles into the van as possible (after the grapes have been loaded of course).
    I am still amazed that on top of the grapes they actually fit 36 cases of bottles! To put it another way, THAT VAN WAS LOADED!!!!

    2000 corks,
    54 half lugs of grapes
    36 cases of grapes
    and 27 packets of RC212 (and I barely had room for the RC212) LOL

    It only took 20 minutes to get fully loaded. During that time I got to know the marvelous ladies behind the counter (Gina and Tina). They were beautiful models of efficiency. We spent the whole time laughing and kidding around. Talk about charming!

    It took me 2 hours to get back, by then my brother, two nephews, and niece had things pretty much set up. To avoid mud, we had a 10X10 popup set up on the driveway complete with a sorting bench. We ended up sorting the grapes into totes, then legging them down to the winery. We were only making 300 liters, and there were 5 of us. so this was not too bad.

    Normally, we crush into totes and hump them into the winery. This time, due to the rain, we set the crusher right over the fermentation tub. My brother had built a "cradle" to allow this. Worked out great.

    My numbers looked really good. 23 brix with a TA of .55. I made no adjustments.

    By 2pm, we had everything cleaned up and stowed away. I sent the niece to our local pizza joint where she picked up a large meat lovers and a large pie with mostly veggies. We were hungry, this was fast, and also one of the best pizza joints in NJ.

    We have this tradition of "tent time". This is at the end of the crush, we gather under a tent, smoke cigars (if so inclined), do some sipping, and generally just have a great time. Despite the cold, despite the rain, despite the fact that we were all soaking wet, we gathered under the tent (another 10X10). What fun! What diehards! I love them all.

    I raided my cellar. I pulled out a 1999 supercab. This was a great one and MAN, did it age well. We then moved onto other older vintages (2003 Merlot, 2006 brunello, 2009 Chilean cab, 2011 petit sarah, and 2014 cabernet). I also busted out my humidor for some Pedrons (my favorite cigar). They are so smooth that even my niece had one.

    By 8pm it was time to go in for some coffee, some cake, and some heat. We put on a move (The Godfather), warmed up, and dried off. By 11, everyone was gone and I was all alone to have a final glass of the evening.

    While continuing to sip, I did a temperature reading and found out that the grapes were cold. VERY COLD. So I boosted the heat and set up a fan to circulate the air. I then cleaned the kitchen (I am working towards my "best husband of all time" certificate).

    Feeling a bit renewed, It was time for a final, final glass of wine of the evening then BED!

    I like to judge how well a crush goes by just how stiff and hungover I am the next morning. Trust me, this was a good one.

    Here are some pics.....

    Grapes look great this year.
    Two.jpg

    Grapes on the sorting bench..
    one.jpg

    Yup, this many cases of bottles on top of the 54 half lugs of grapes. Amazing.

    Fourb.jpg

    What we ended up with (this is a 600 liter fermentation tub).
    Three.jpg


    Grapes were damn cold. 43 degrees after being sorted into totes and crushed.
    Five.jpg

    So I set up the fan and boosted the heat.
    Six.jpg

    A surprise for SWMBO. Note that I even set up the coffee for the morning.
    ten.jpg

    My Final, Final glass for the evening. 2014 Chilean cab. Nice!
    elevenB.jpg


    By Sunday morning, I was getting 60 degrees in the to 4 inches of must. I pitched half of my yeast and will pitch the other half tonight after punch down.

    GOT TO LOVE THIS HOBBY!
     
  6. May 21, 2018 #6

    pgentile

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    It all looks great. I hit Gino's 3 times this harvest and yes the ladies behind the counter and the rest of the staff are great? Besides all the great prices on wine making stuff, they also have many other quality Italian imports. I load up on few of those as well. Cheese, olive oil, etc, etc,

    Curious as to what variety(s) of grapes you got?
     
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  7. May 21, 2018 #7

    mainshipfred

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    Nice story, I'm just glad you had room for the RC 212. I enjoy seeing a woman who is not afraid to smoke a cigar.
     
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  8. May 21, 2018 #8

    JohnT

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    Well, she kids around saying that she is just one of the guys. :)
     
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  9. May 22, 2018 #9

    JohnT

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    I got 40 half lugs of Cabernet and 14 half lugs of merlot for a total of 972 pounds.

    I went heavier on the merlot for a deeper, darker red this time.
     
  10. May 22, 2018 #10

    mainshipfred

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    I went heavier on the merlot for a deeper, darker red this time.[/QUOTE]

    Interesting you say that, my SA Cab is much darker then my Chilean Merlot
     
  11. May 22, 2018 #11

    JohnT

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    I have always seen that cabernet is the lighter of the two (at least for California grapes). Have to say that the cab from Chile does look much darker though.
     
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  12. May 22, 2018 #12

    pgentile

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    Classic blend, very nice. Wish I could handle that much volume.
     
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  13. May 22, 2018 #13

    mainshipfred

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    For me I wouldn't know what to do with that much volume. Atleast on a regular basis. Rght now if I were to bottle everything I have it would be 400 bottles. I don't have that many friends. LOL
     
  14. May 22, 2018 #14

    JohnT

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    OK, here is how it will play out.

    Total amount realized should be around 30 cases.

    2 cases will go to my nephew (for helping)
    2 cases will got to my niece and husband (for helping)

    That leaves 24 cases to split between myself and my brother. We split the bill down the middle and gave cases to the "Kids" for their effort.

    Out of my 12 cases, I will award 2 cases to a very good friend of mine that might help me out on press day.

    That leaves me 10 cases. 5 for drinking during the current year, and 5 for bottle aging.
     
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  15. May 22, 2018 #15

    mainshipfred

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    Whew, that makes me feel better. I was thinking you were a super heavy drinker.
     
  16. May 22, 2018 #16

    pgentile

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    But think of the years of aging wine you will have. I want to make so much wine that 10 years from now I can pull out a case of 2018 SA cab/syrah that I forgot I had. Up until this year my volume didn't make it much past a year, unless I continued to purchase commercial wine. But that is another aim in my volume is to cut out 95%of commercial wine.
     
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  17. May 22, 2018 #17

    mainshipfred

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    350 of the 400 bottles are from this spring and last fall. I may drink 100 bottles a year which includes commercial wines. So 75 of mine leaving 275 a year. In your 10 year timespan 2750 bottles. I may have to do like JohnT and start giving it away by the cases.
     
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  18. May 22, 2018 #18

    Ajmassa5983

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    Great crush synopsis! I was able to bust it up with Gina and Tina while I shopped too.
    And one of the young kids loading is the grandson of the late Gino Pinto. Hard worker and always smiling. And the guy running the joint is a son I think. Him and I spoke at length. Really a great guy and not what i expected.
    He told me how most of his customers are guys pretty set in their ways and was looking for winemakers interested in getting more involved “in the scene”. Not sure what that means exactly but I was game. We exchanged phone numbers. Maybe something comes of it- maybe not. I think he was tired of the same old thing and wanted new blood is all.
    Either way I’m very happy with this as my new ‘home base’ since I’ve recently moved even further into NJ. I’m Not abandoning Procacci- still my spot. But will try my 1st fall order at pintos as well this year.
     
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  19. May 22, 2018 #19

    mainshipfred

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    Harford are nice people to deal with as well but seems Gino Pinto is more full service. I may have to consider trying them myself even though they are quite a bit further away.
     
  20. May 22, 2018 #20

    JohnT

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    I have a place that is under 1 hour from me. When it came to Chilean grapes, they proved themselves to be unreliable. This is why I drive 2 hours to Gino's instead.

    Just imagine ....

    You order your grapes months in advance,
    You call every now and then to be sure that all is in order,
    3 days before you pick up your grapes you call only to find that they will not have any Chilean grapes this year.

    This is what they did to me twice.

    :gb:gb:gb:gb:gb
     
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