Fall 2023 Experiments

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On the 11th and 12th we racked the new wines and put the CS and CF in barrels. We had 4 carboys of Cabernet Franc with roughly 4 gallons in each, and I checked the SG and pH of each, with the following results:

The Avante batch started with SG 1.096 and pH 3.77, while the Bravo batch started with SG 1.094, and pH 3.75. Realistically speaking, identical.

The results at the first post-pressing racking:

#1 Bravo - SG 0.996, pH 3.37
#2 Bravo - SG 0.995, pH 3.41
#1 Avante - SG 0.993, pH 3.40
#2 Avante - SG 0.993, pH 3.36

I expected the pH of the Avante to be a bit higher as it eats malic acid, but on average it's 0.01 lower. Again, realistically there's no difference between two and I draw no conclusion.

I see the difference in SG to be more significant. The long term question is if the Bravo doesn't ferment out all the sugar OR if it's just not 100% done yet.

Unfortunately, I did not retain separate samples of both, as the nominal 56 liter barrel the wine is now in appears to hold well over 15 US gallons, so I have only 1.5 gallons of topup remaining. Before bottling 12 months from now, I'll have to top up with the CS/Merlot blend (which is perfectly fine, as we're making blends anyway).

The average SG of the four carboys is a bit over 0.994 (calculation is 0.99425, I can't measure with this discrimination). If that is the final SG, then there may be a difference between the finish of the Avante and Bravo, whereas if the SG is 0.993, then it appears the Bravo wasn't quite finished.

The difference is notable, and is mostly a point of curiosity on my part.

I have retained separate 4 liter jugs of Chambourcin made from both strains, and there is a difference in taste. The Avante is a bit fruitier tasting, which may be due to a lesser quantity of malic acid.
 
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My plan for 24 Chambourcin is Avante yeast only with Lavin 31 MLB. I’ll co-inoculate because the wine cellar (secondary/bulk aging) stays 60 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit in fall.
 
Lalvin 31 to spell it correctly. It is supposed to work well in stressful conditions such as low ph wines and cooler temperatures. I think the combination with Avante has really cut the acid and enhanced the fruitiness. Just what I wanted.
 
Since the Sangiovese juice I purchased started fermenting in the bucket, I had no idea what the OG was, so I emailed Gino Pinto and asked if they had a record. They replied within 2 business days and told me that batch was 21 to 22 brix. I converted to SG and took the average, which is close enough for my purposes.

All my interactions with Gino Pinto has been very positive, and I'm satisfied with the grapes & juice I purchased this fall.

Since the Sangiovese juice was 46 liters and we grossed just under 92 liters, I'm going to determine the ABV by assuming the Sangiovese ABV is 1/2 the total, and the other half is a ratio of the ABV of 2 parts CS, 2 parts CF, and 1 part Merlot. That should be close enough for my purposes.
 
It's funny how winemaking starts out soooo intensive ... then drops off to watching grass grow. With so many batches in progress, I've had nothing to do for several weeks.

Tuesday I drained the Barrel Oxyfresh from our third 54 liter barrel -- it had been dry for a month so I wanted it clean and from experience an empty barrel will absorb some water.

Then my son & I pumped the Sangiovese out of the 54 liter demijohn into buckets for transport to his house. We loaded up 3 buckets, and added wine from 1.5 liter and 375 ml bottles, plus grabbed a 12 liter carboy. We still have a 19 liter carboy that we're not moving -- yet.

The transport went fine and we pumped the wine from all 3 buckets into the barrel. It was just a smidgen low, so he opened a Carmenere he made in '21 -- the barrel only needed about 6 oz to top.

My next task is to go through all the small bottles I have (and there are a lot), racking off any sediment and consolidating the containers. I need to free up two 4 liter jugs as we'll need to rack the 12 liter carboy of Sangiovese into the 4 liter jugs plus 750 ml bottles -- this is topup.

The Sangiovese is still totally green, but it tasted a bit flat. I'm tossing up the idea of topping the barrel with Chambourcin, which is highly acidic, using that to perk the Sangiovese instead of adding tartaric.

NOTE: I purchased a transfer pump last year:

https://labelpeelers.com/equipment/pumps-and-filters/super-transfer-pump-w-prefilter/
The drawback to it is the hoses are large, and even using a clamp on a racking cane, the input tube had air in the line. It wasn't pulling in new air, but some of the air in the tube was not expelled as the tube didn't completely fill.

Matt P spoke with the vendor and got an adapter for 3/8" tubing, which I tried -- it worked perfectly! I was going to get a second one for the output line, but it filled completely with wine, so it's not necessary. If anyone wants a good pump for large batches, this one works great.

Note 2 -- make sure the cap on the filter unit is tight -- if it isn't the pump will not prime.
 
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It's funny how winemaking starts out soooo intensive ... then drops off to watching grass grow. With so many batches in progress, I've had nothing to do for several weeks.

Tuesday I drained the Barrel Oxyfresh from our third 54 liter barrel -- it had been dry for a month so I wanted it clean and from experience an empty barrel will absorb some water.

Then my son & I pumped the Sangiovese out of the 54 liter demijohn into buckets for transport to his house. We loaded up 3 buckets, and added wine from 1.5 liter and 375 ml bottles, plus grabbed a 12 liter carboy. We still have a 19 liter carboy that we're not moving -- yet.

The transport went fine and we pumped the wine from all 3 buckets into the barrel. It was just a smidgen low, so he opened a Carmenere he made in '21 -- the barrel only needed about 6 oz to top.

My next task is to go through all the small bottles I have (and there are a lot), racking off any sediment and consolidating the containers. I need to free up two 4 liter jugs as we'll need to rack the 12 liter carboy of Sangiovese into the 4 liter jugs plus 750 ml bottles -- this is topup.

The Sangiovese is still totally green, but it tasted a bit flat. I'm tossing up the idea of topping the barrel with Chambourcin, which is highly acidic, using that to perk the Sangiovese instead of adding tartaric.

NOTE: I purchased a transfer pump last year:

https://labelpeelers.com/equipment/pumps-and-filters/super-transfer-pump-w-prefilter/
The drawback to it is the hoses are large, and even using a clamp on a racking cane, the input tube had air in the line. It wasn't pulling in new air, but some of the air in the tube was not expelled as the tube didn't completely fill.

Matt P spoke with the vendor and got an adapter for 3/8" tubing, which I tried -- it worked perfectly! I was going to get a second one for the output line, but it filled completely with wine, so it's not necessary. If anyone wants a good pump for large batches, this one works great.

Note 2 -- make sure the cap on the filter unit is tight -- if it isn't the pump will not prime.
How do you like the filtering functionality?

Cheers!
 
How do you like the filtering functionality?

Cheers!
It's not a filter in the sense you mean -- it's a screen that catches coarse material to protect the pump.

Many moons ago I had a Buon Vino plate filter, but stopped using it. I'm not a fan of fine grade filtering.
 
It's not a filter in the sense you mean -- it's a screen that catches coarse material to protect the pump.

Many moons ago I had a Buon Vino plate filter, but stopped using it. I'm not a fan of fine grade filte

It's not a filter in the sense you mean -- it's a screen that catches coarse material to protect the pump.

Many moons ago I had a Buon Vino plate filter, but stopped using it. I'm not a fan of fine grade filtering.
Yeppers.....was referring to functionality you described 😎
 
NOTE: I purchased a transfer pump last year:

https://labelpeelers.com/equipment/pumps-and-filters/super-transfer-pump-w-prefilter/
The drawback to it is the hoses are large, and even using a clamp on a racking cane, the input tube had air in the line. It wasn't pulling in new air, but some of the air in the tube was not expelled as the tube didn't completely fill.

Matt P spoke with the vendor and got an adapter for 3/8" tubing, which I tried -- it worked perfectly! I was going to get a second one for the output line, but it filled completely with wine, so it's not necessary. If anyone wants a good pump for large batches, this one works great.

Note 2 -- make sure the cap on the filter unit is tight -- if it isn't the pump will not prime.
Do you have the 'old' filter unit (a larger cylinder that screws into the side of the pump) or the newer style that is a separate, small filter inline on the input side? I bought the old style pump but recently replaced the filter with the new version. It's a big improvement, and the filter is much easier to remove, clean and replace. That being said, it's suitable for more mature wine but too fine for initial transfer out of primary fermentation, even if you ue some sort of additional prefilter. I found that it worked perfectly well if I just removed the filter screen, and took pains to ensure that no big stuff (particularly grapes) got sucked into the pump...
 
Yeppers.....was referring to functionality you described 😎
Gotcha.

When I filled the demijohn originally, I pumped the top 3/4 from each post-pressing bucket, so the wine in the demijohn was mostly clean. After 6 weeks (or so) there was just a 1/4" layer of sediment, less than I expected. The 12 and 19 liter carboys have more sediment, but most of that went into a 4 liter jug.

From previous experience, the filter can get plugged and the pump will sound labored. When this happens I have to remove and rinse the screen. This experience prompted me to pump only the top 3/4 of the post-pressing buckets. When pumping from the demijohn, I went all the way to the bottom.
 
Do you have the 'old' filter unit (a larger cylinder that screws into the side of the pump) or the newer style that is a separate, small filter inline on the input side?
I have the new one.

You may have seen in other posts that I have a PVC pipe with holes in it that I wrap in a fine straining bag. This filters out all coarse material.
 
Last night I performed maintenance on the Chambourcin. I had two 4 liter jugs -- one made with Avante and one with Bravo. I racked both, reserving 1.5 liters of each for later comparison. At bottling time (~ Aug/Sep) I'll bottle these in split bottles. In the past I've kept larger test batches, and managing so many different wines can be a chore.

Both wines dropped a lot of acid, as Beth (@VinesnBines) predicted, and are much less acidic than in October, which makes sense given the acid that dropped. They are also very different -- the Avante is much fruitier, but has an acidic finish.

I suspect this is a result of Avante eating 25-30% of the malic acid. In the Bravo the malic acid overshadows the fruit but the acid is more "level", so there's no perceived extra acid in the finish. The Avante presents fruit, and with less malic acid present, the tartaric acid is obvious at the end. That's my explanation.

There were a couple of blended (Avante + Bravo) jugs plus smaller containers -- all were racked and added to the remainder of the first 2 jugs. The blended wine tastes in between the two extremes. [all containers received K-meta]

I have enough wine to fill a 12 liter carboy, but I'm going to cold stabilize the jugs in a small fridge for a few weeks to reduce acid. After that I'll move the wine into the carboy with 1 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes. The wine definitely needs some oak.

The bulk of the batch is in a 23 liter carboy. It got 1-1/2 oz cubes + 1/4 tsp K-meta.

Depending on how it tastes at that time, I'm considering breaking it up in to 4 liter jugs and cold stabilizing prior to bottling. I'm trying to avoid using carbonate/bicarbonate and do not want to backsweeten.

I'm leaning towards using MLB next fall, but still using both Avante and Bravo. That will be an interesting comparison if the MLF works as expected, to see how the strains compare if malic acid is no longer a factor.
 
Bryan is vinting part of my 2023 harvest of Chambourcin. My portion was fermented with Avante and Bravo together and Lalvin 31 MLB. The ph was low so the Lavlin 31 was best. Now the wine is aging in used bourbon barrels. One batch is in a 10 gallon barrel and the rest will cycle through a 15 gallon barrel come May The 10 gallon barrel is smoothing out beautifully.

Chambourcin is the poster child for patience with wine.
 
I now have all three 4 liter jugs of Chambourcin in the fridge -- I'll rack them in 3 weeks. After that they'll definitely go into a 12 liter carboy with 1 oz oak cubes.

Around that time I'll bottle the Vidal-Juice, which frees up a 12 liter carboy. Cold stabilization helped a lot with acid, and while I considered a small dose of potassium carbonate, I'm leaning towards light backsweetening.

Next I will cycle the Vidal-Orange in the same fashion -- with a 12 liter carboy free, I'll put half of a 23 liter carboy into the 12 and the remainder into 4 liter jugs. After 3 weeks I'll swap. It's likely I'll bottle after that, also deciding between potassium carbonate and backsweetening.

The 23 liter carboy of Chambourcin will probably receive the same treatment.

I'm thinking about fall plans -- Lalvin 31 MLB is on my list for everything I buy from Beth. So far I like this year's Vidal, so I'm thinking I'll do the same -- some juice only and the remainder as an Orange wine.
 
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