Well the grape harvest is suddenly here so I thought I'd start a ferment diary rather than asking a bunch of different Q's in different threads. The plan is to do 3 x 30L batches, of shiraz, grenache, and primitivo. I collected my primitivo/zinfandel* grapes from McLaren Vale yesterday (22/2) when they were harvested, and they are currently sitting intact in tubs. Trying to keep them cool today and will crush tomorrow. So my first question is: is it OK to leave fresh grapes for 2 days before the crush? They are in good condition ... if not I can give them a good foot stomp today, lol Tomorrow I am picking grenache at my father-in-law's place in Reynella and shiraz at another vineyard in McLaren Vale (probably means very little to the North Americans on this forum!) Going to run it all through the crusher/destemmer then, I will take my 30L batches, and everything else my father-in-law will blend. I will post the numbers tomorrow. Planning on inoculating with Mangrove Jack R56 yeast. Second question : how necessary is adding sulfite to the must prior to pitching the yeast? Commercial wineries I know of usually just inoculate the must straight away (unless they're the natural-ferment type), the idea being that cultured yeast strains will immediately run over the top of whatever other yeasties are already in there. Primary will happen in 30L plastic fermenter buckets (the home-brew type), which I will keep immersed in water tubs and use a fan & wet towel evaporative cooling system to hopefully keep them at optimal ferment temperature. I plan to ferment each batch dry before pressing, and will rack to glass demijohns. Still not sure about MLF and oaking. Any suggestions will be helpful - what would be a good starting pH to run MLF on these grape varieties? (I don't want to go through MLF if the result is that the wine is too rounded & flabby).. Same with oak, I would rather err on the side of caution and I am happy to avoid it altogether, especially with grenache which will be a bit lighter & more delicate. *don't know what to call them, different clones of the same variety. this vineyard has both primitivo & zinfandel clones planted & i think these are a mix. guess I will choose one and run with it..