First All Grape Wines

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by Matty_Kay, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Well, I'm going all grapes this year for the first time. 3 lugs of Zinfandel and a field blend of 2 lugs Cab and 1 Merlot. Found a great deal on a used crusher in perfect working order, however we will be destemming by hand. Good news is we have help,it's my birthday tomorrow so some family and friends popping in to lend a hand. My wife and girls (age 9 and 6) are really excited to "squish" grapes. Plan to use D254 for the Cab/Merlot and RP15 for the Zin. Will test ph and TA post crush and sulfite to 50ppm, add Lallezyme,wait 8 hours or so and add Opti Red and pitch yeast sometime Sunday. Any advice before the fun starts tomorrow?

    If all goes well, I'll invest in a crusher/destemmer for next year. Probably head to Erie next month for some local region juice, Concord and Traminette. Happy wine making season!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  2. Boatboy24

    Boatboy24 No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

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    Have fun and take pics. Sounds like the start of a great family tradition.
     
  3. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    Like BB said, The most important thing is to just have fun with it. Turn it into a party and enjoy!

    And I couldn't agree more, pictures are always welcome!
     
  4. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Thanks guys-the goal is definitely to turn it into a fun tradition. Pics to follow for sure
     
  5. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I'm right there with ya. I'm hoping to bring a new generation into my families old tradition.
    Would love to turn it into a party. Spring and now fall were spent working out the kinks (also had out 9 yr old stomping away --- until her feet went numb). Eventually would be awesome to involve everyone in all aspects comfortably. Right now I'm still at the level of "try not to screw it up". Still a blast. Good luck.

    Oh, and I rented my crusher and press this year. It was cheap, easy, and no storage! I'll likely continue to rent....ya know, until I don't that is.
     
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  6. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Well, 6 lugs are destemmed by hand and crushed with the crusher. Had some help intermittent through the day, mostly my dad. Wife ended up taking the girls to the local hs homecoming parade and game with some friends. Dosed with lallezyme 50 ppm sulfite and will hit with opti red before bed. Will test the chemistry in the morning and pitch the yeast. Couple comments/questions...

    1. A crusher/destemmer is on my Christmas list. Destemming by hand sucks
    2. I don't have any lids for the Brutes, currently covered with a blanket in the basement. Is that ok until tomorrow?
    3. Pics to follow tomorrow
    4. The must currently looks dirty, not red but a purplish brownish, is this normal?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  7. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    4. Yup. In about a week it will take in all the lovely color. But you'll notice it change a lot even by tomorrow. Good luck
     
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  8. Kraffty

    Kraffty Member

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    1,2 & 3 Yes yes yes. Crusher was my best buy so far. I just put a towel over my brutes, don't need lids unless you have cats.
    mike
     
  9. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Chemistry came in as follows:
    Zinfandel ph 3.88 TA .75 (maybe)

    Cab/Merlot ph 3.7 TA .70(maybe)

    I didn't adjust, should I? I don't feel great about the TA calc I got so at least want to try and get ph in order. I have 12 gallons of each and want to adjust the Zinfandel must and I cannot find the appropriate calculation of tartaric acid to add to bring the ph down a bit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  10. jgmann67

    jgmann67 Rennaisance Man

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    I would leave this as is and recheck after MLF.
     
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  11. Boatboy24

    Boatboy24 No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

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    Agree w/ @jgmann67 . pH may be high, but TA is pretty good. Recheck after MLF.
     
  12. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Sounds good. Signs of fermentation are beginning to show. Color in the Zin is a nice deep purple while to Cab/Merlot is a hazy purple. So far so good. Plan on stirring tonight before bed and most likely first punch down in the a.m. and dose with nutrient before work. All in all, a positive start!
     
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  13. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I did a similar batch with similar numbers. Like you I decided on no adjustments. I'm about 3 weeks ahead of you. Figure it might help to know what you would potentially be dealing with.
    Cab/Merlot/Sangiovese
    Before AF
    Ph 3.9
    TA 7.25
    Did not do any acid adjustments. Co-inoculated Malo. MLF went very quick and is already finished basically.
    Numbers post AF-pressing- and MLF
    Ph 4.0
    TA 5.25
    Not too crazy. Just an easy tartaric addition. I was definitely in he same boat second guessing whether I should have adjusted. But rest easy, the numbers are very workable.
    I need to research how a high PH affects fermentation though. I had some issues and haven't ruled out the high ph as the cause. Keep us updated on how your fermentation progresses. Good luck!
     
  14. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    I will definitely keep updated as things progress. Glad to know yours turned out just fine, hopeful I have similar success. I did not co-inoculate my MLB but will after press.
     
  15. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Nice cap forming on both this morning, punched down and added nutrient. Will punch down again after work and before bed. I'll also check sg.
     
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  16. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Nice. Check that SG often so you don't miss that 1/3 sugar depletion ferm K addition. They've been going fast. After AF kicked off went from 1.100 to 1.005 in 3 days.
     
  17. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    Punched cap on both the Zin and Cab/Merlot blend. Zin sitting at 1.088 and the blend at 1.082, both moving along. The temp in the basement is around 69-70 so I'm thinking temp is in good shape. I'll punch once more before bed. Color in both looking good, no sulfur odor in either. So far so good
     
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  18. muskie003

    muskie003 Junior Member

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    I just made a small batch of barbera from crushed grapes for the first time this year as well. Did you keep yours on the skins at all after crushing? We put some in the primary buckets, but I honestly don't know much about the process. Was this a mistake? How much of the skins should I have used? How long should I soak them? I've always used juice from buckets so this is a learning process for me. Lot of fun though!
     
  19. Matty_Kay

    Matty_Kay Senior Member

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    I am fermenting both the Zin and Cab/Merlot blend 100% on the skins. After crush, the entire lot of skins and juice went into 20 gallon Brute cans and fermenting since Sunday.
     
  20. muskie003

    muskie003 Junior Member

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    How long you plan on keeping them on the skins? just thru primary? I didn't use all the skins on ours because I wasn't sure if I should. Just did a small batch, sort of a trial run this year, so we ended up with about two five gallon buckets of juice and added about 4-5 heaping handfuls of skins to each bucket
     

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