Fall 2023 Experiments

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winemaker81

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On Saturday I drove to @VinesnBines vineyard, Highland Meadow Vineyards, in SW Virginia, where we crushed 120+ lbs each Chambourcin and Vidal for me, and more Chambourcin, Vidal, and Chelois for her and her husband. Winemaking is a lot more fun as a group activity!

I'm conducting 2 experiments with these grapes:

Vidal -- fermenting half as a traditional white and the other half as an orange wine, using Renaissance TR-313 for both. The plan is to compare the two wines to see how much difference fermenting on the skins makes.

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/2023-vidal-in-detail/
Chambourcin -- fermenting half with Renaissance Avante and half with Renaissance Bravo. I'll retain sample of both batches but plan to blend them, post-fermentation. So I'll have 3 wines to compare.

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/2023-chambourcin-in-detail/
Avante supposedly eats 25-30% of the malic acid, so that should make a difference in the wines, in addition to other differences between the strains.

In a few weeks I'll be getting California grapes -- 8 lugs Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 lugs Cabernet Franc, and 4 lugs Merlot. The CS and CF will each be fermented in 2 batches, using Avante and Bravo. I'm not sure if I'm going to retain samples for later comparison. I love doing experiments, but when I have too many containers, it's a PITA.

A year from now I'll be making CS/CF/M and CF/CS/M (CS heavy and CF heavy, respectively) blends.

In addition, I'm getting 2 Sangiovese juice buckets, and the pomace from the CS, CF, and M will be added to them. Last fall's experiment with Grenache and Tempranillo pomace in FWK Tavola Merlot kits was a success, so this is just another variation on that.
 
Fermentation proceeded well for both Chambourcin and both Vidal batches. Yesterday I punched down 4 times between 6:30 AM and 9:00 PM, and especially with the Vidal Orange (I'm going to refer to the one fermented on the skins as "Orange"), the cap was high and firm.

After this morning's first punch down I checked SG, as the plan is to add more Fermax. Wow. Both the Vidal Juice (referred to hereafter as "Juice") and Orange dropped to 1.032 from 1.088. I inoculated Sunday morning, so that's 48 hours.

I was planning to press on Friday or Saturday, but am thinking it will be tomorrow. I'll get both Vidal under airlock.

The Chambourcin is a slower, a more "normal" ferment -- The Avante batch is at 1.072 and the Bravo at 1.070. If they continue at this rate, I'll probably press Sunday or Monday.

I was going to add 1 tsp Fermax to each batch, but the grapes are very juicy, the cap a lot lighter than expected (far lighter than the Vidal), so I suspect I have more liquid than anticipated, so I added 2 tsp to each.

The color of both was dark coming out of the crusher -- there's no such thing as a "white Chambourcin" from these grapes. Maybe a rose if the grapes go directly from crusher into the press.

Right now the color is REALLY dark -- in the test jar it's hard to see the hydrometer through that bit of wine. I'm seriously considering blending some of the Orange into it at bottling time, like various whites are blended into Syrah in Northern Rhone. Just a thought for now, as I won't bottle until August of next year.
 
My son is available tonight or Thursday to press the Vidal, so I decided tonight.

I just racked the Juice batch -- the SG dropped from 1.032 this morning at 6:30 AM to 1.020 at 3:30 PM. Wow! I put it under airlock in a carboy. When I see that fermentation is done (wine starts to clear), I'm going to add bentonite.

In another hour we'll press the Orange batch. I'm expecting the SG to be similar, so it's the right choice.
 
It's a nice cluster, but came out blurry. It's hard to see the phone in bright sunlight.

2023-vidal-02-bunch.jpg

They look great in the crusher!

2023-vidal-01-in-crusher.jpg

This my jig in action! The black piece is a Fermtech wine thief.

The bottom end of the PVC has 1/4" holes drilled up to 6" from the end. I'll be using it again in a bit to drain the wine out, so we don't carry everything to the press.

2023-vidal-04-jig.jpg

This is the cap from earlier today. It is high and tight!

2023-vidal-06-tight-cap.jpg
 
We pressed the Vidal, just got done. I'll post some pictures after dinner (which I'm cooking).

We grossed 4 gallons of the Juice batch, 4 gallons of free run from the Orange batch, and 4 gallons of pressings from the Orange batch. Yeah -- 12 gallons from 131 lbs of Vidal. Wow!

The net will be at least 1.5 gallons less, but even 10 gallons is a great yield.

The truly weird part is the SG. The Juice is 1.018. Since it was 1.020 a few hours ago, that's not a surprise.

The free run is 1.011. Ok, still nothing surprising.

The pressing? 1.005. I did not expect the free run and pressing to have a different SG. I'm sure there is a rational reason for it.
 
Beth wants pictures? Ok, here are pictures!

We used my jig (PVC with holes in it) to rack as much wine as possible prior to pressing. Why carry wine or run it through the press unnecessarily?

vidal-racking-jig.jpg

Action shot from running 131 lbs of Vidal through a #40 press!

vidal-pressing.jpg

We loaded the press in 3 batches, putting a double-handful of rice hulls between layers. We might have gotten more wine from the pomace, but not much.

vidal-cake-01.jpg

The rice hulls make the cake separate into layers. This puppy was bone dry.

vidal-cake-02.jpg

Currently we have three 19 liter carboys, each with roughly 4 US gallons of wine

vidal-carboys.jpg

Once fermentation completes, I'll dose each with bentonite, and rack a week or two later.

The carboy in back is from Vidal juice. Once it clears I will fill a 3 gallon carboy, and any excess will go with the Orange batch.

The foamy carboy on the right is free run juice. The one on the left is pressings.

I was hoping for 3 net gallons each Juice and Orange. I'm going to have twice that of the Orange. Wow. Nope, not complaining.

🤣 🤣 🤣

I'll update in a week or so.
 
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Here are couple better Vidal cluster pictures. Easier to get them in the vineyard.
 

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Wednesday night the Bravo Chambourcin was at 1.022, and Thursday morning it was 1.012. I wanted to press tomorrow (Saturday) morning, but heavy rain is forecast, so we did it after work tonight. I detailed the effort in my Chambourcin in Detail post, but I'll summarize here.

We racked as much wine as we could from the Avante and Bravo batches, keeping them separate for now. This worked well with the Bravo, but the Avante didn't cooperate. When we poured the pomace in the press, we got a lot of wine. The jig (PVC wrapped in straining bag) gets really ugly looking and is a pain to clean, but it works.

2023-chambourcin-06-jig.jpg

We layered the pomace in the press, with a large handful of rice hulls between layers. This makes a huge difference in both the amount of wine extracted and the time. It seems like the pressing goes faster, which makes sense as the hulls make conduits in the cake.

2023-chambourcin-07-press.jpg

The Chambourcin was dark coming out of the crusher, and adding Scottzyme Color Pro made it even darker!

2023-chambourcin-08-color.jpg

The pigment has a drawback -- it stains things! The stains on the food-grade bucket we use to transfer pomace from the fermenter to the press appears permanently stained. What you see is after powerwashing the bucket.

2023-chambourcin-09-pigment.jpg

The cake is bone dry when done. The white-yellow visible is rice hulls.

2023-chambourcin-10-cake.jpg
 
It started raining this morning at 6 AM and at 1 PM it's still pouring. I made the right call.

The Chambourcin has some activity, all 3 carboys showed some foam this morning.

This wine is DARK. It had a lot of color prior to using Color Pro, and now it's the darkest I've seen. I'm considering adding Vidal to lighten it a bit.
 
It started raining this morning at 6 AM and at 1 PM it's still pouring. I made the right call.

The Chambourcin has some activity, all 3 carboys showed some foam this morning.

This wine is DARK. It had a lot of color prior to using Color Pro, and now it's the darkest I've seen. I'm considering adding Vidal to lighten it a bit.
Looks like Alicante bouschet lol, that is a dark wine.
 
Looks like Alicante bouschet lol, that is a dark wine.
The Chambourcin was dark coming out of the crusher. I believe the Color Pro increased it. The picture is a 2021 "Rhone", made from FWK Forte kits with 2 skin packs per kit, using Color Pro. The only wine I've made with Color Pro that was darker was last year's Petite Sirah, which was an electric purple in the fermenter.

rhone.jpg

@VinesnBines, when you crush the last of the Chambourcin, try to get a picture of the juice coming out of the crusher.
 
The Chambourcin was dark coming out of the crusher. I believe the Color Pro increased it. The picture is a 2021 "Rhone", made from FWK Forte kits with 2 skin packs per kit, using Color Pro. The only wine I've made with Color Pro that was darker was last year's Petite Sirah, which was an electric purple in the fermenter.

View attachment 106538

@VinesnBines, when you crush the last of the Chambourcin, try to get a picture of the juice coming out of the crusher.
Color pro is a fantastic enzyme, I also really like Laffort HE Grand Cru, I tend to use nearly exclusively Laffort products they have a lot of good stuff and it’s priced good so it works out.
 
The Chambourcin was dark coming out of the crusher. I believe the Color Pro increased it. The picture is a 2021 "Rhone", made from FWK Forte kits with 2 skin packs per kit, using Color Pro. The only wine I've made with Color Pro that was darker was last year's Petite Sirah, which was an electric purple in the fermenter.

View attachment 106538

@VinesnBines, when you crush the last of the Chambourcin, try to get a picture of the juice coming out of the crusher.
I will get a picture of the juice right out of the crusher. Meanwhile, this is a glass of unfermented juice after a 30 hour soak on the skins. I canned a few quarts, unsweetened as an experiment.IMG_4783.jpeg
 
Color pro is a fantastic enzyme, I also really like Laffort HE Grand Cru, I tend to use nearly exclusively Laffort products they have a lot of good stuff and it’s priced good so it works out.
Thanks for pointing it out! I read the description -- it looks good. The 100g tin is reasonably priced at $30 USD.

The problem for home winemakers is scale -- other that products specifically marketed to home winemakers, packages are at commercial scale. The smallest package of Color Pro that Scott Lab sells directly is 1 kg ... which would last me several lifetimes. There's no way I could use it.

I did the math -- I'm making 20 lugs of CA grapes and 7 lugs of VA grapes this year. At a dosage rate of 0.50 to 0.80 g/36 lb lug for HE Grand Cru, a 100g tin will last me 5 to 8 years at current production rate.

But you got me wanting to try it. Well, I organized a group last spring that divvied up 500 g blocks of Renaissance yeast, and @VinesnBines and I recently split a bottle of Cinn-Free, so organizing is a possibility. I have enough Color Pro for the 2024 production, so maybe for 2025.
 
Thanks for pointing it out! I read the description -- it looks good. The 100g tin is reasonably priced at $30 USD.

The problem for home winemakers is scale -- other that products specifically marketed to home winemakers, packages are at commercial scale. The smallest package of Color Pro that Scott Lab sells directly is 1 kg ... which would last me several lifetimes. There's no way I could use it.

I did the math -- I'm making 20 lugs of CA grapes and 7 lugs of VA grapes this year. At a dosage rate of 0.50 to 0.80 g/36 lb lug for HE Grand Cru, a 100g tin will last me 5 to 8 years at current production rate.

But you got me wanting to try it. Well, I organized a group last spring that divvied up 500 g blocks of Renaissance yeast, and @VinesnBines and I recently split a bottle of Cinn-Free, so organizing is a possibility. I have enough Color Pro for the 2024 production, so maybe for 2025.
Let me know if you do try it, laffort sells products in small and large packages so I tend to like them cause you can get a 1KG bag of nutrients or tannins and it’s not crazy expensive like $20-40 sulfites as well can buy 1KG bag for like $30. Laffort products tend to be more reasonable for home winemakers to be able to purchase and use and get professional quality wines.
 
Let me know if you do try it, laffort sells products in small and large packages so I tend to like them cause you can get a 1KG bag of nutrients or tannins and it’s not crazy expensive like $20-40 sulfites as well can buy 1KG bag for like $30. Laffort products tend to be more reasonable for home winemakers to be able to purchase and use and get professional quality wines.
Will do.
 
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