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First Blend - Timing and Vessel

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Rocktop

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Hi all,
This is my first year I am planning to do a blend. I will be getting:
300 lbs Cab Sauv
100 lbs merlot
100 lbs petit verdot.

I have 2 questions, when is the best time to blend? Not long before bottling or much sooner?

Also I have always made 5-6 gallon batches before so all my equipment is based around that (lot's of 6 gallon carboys). When blending I figure I will have around a 30 gallon batch. Is it possible to all bend together and then split back into carboy or is finding a single larger vessel a must?
If a single, what is my best option for 30 gallons +/-.

Thank you.
RT
 

Boatboy24

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I like to put off blending as long as possible - usually a month or so before bottling. Sometimes that schedule will extend, as changes in chemistry of the blend vs its components can sometimes cause sediment or tartrates to drop out. So I try to give it at least a few weeks to settle after blending. As far as vessels, I'd look into a Brute trash can. You can blend in that, mix well, then rack into carboys. The other option (though costly) is a variable capacity tank. In that scenario, you can blend and just let it sit in there.
 

Ajmassa

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For the best possibly wine I agree with @Boatboy24 Keeping it all separate. And then do little bench trials of different ratios to find the best one. Whatever is left over after blending can just make that a different blend.

Although for me that can be a lot of work. All different fermentations and pressings and rackings and acid/so2 tests and equipment needed etc etc. More than I’m able to dedicate and I’ll do field blends at crush. I do about 20 gallon batches. A demijohn (14.25gal) and a carboy typically. Or all carboys if no open demijohns.
 

mainshipfred

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Just my thoughts, I agree with both in waiting until the wines age a little. Also blending does take time and if using more than a couple wines makes it even more difficult. Once my bench trails are done and I get what I think is the best blend I calculate what quantities I have then mix it in a brute and put it back into the proper sized carboys. When it comes time to bottle, which I agree with Jim in waiting a few weeks, I'll filter the wine back into the brute to make sure it it homogeneous. At sometime after blending and prior to bottling sulfite levels should be checked and adjusted.
 

crushday

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Although not the same, I'm going to borrow an illustration from Culinology (blending of culinary arts with food science):

Which is better - spaghetti on Friday night or left-overs two days later on Sunday afternoon? I contend both are great. However, I think we can agree that the left-overs simply taste fuller, more rich and individual flavors develop more precisely.

I've gone back on forth in my mind on when to blend. We all know that blending happens at all stages including in the field during harvest. This year is the first time I decided to blend at ferment convinced there's something to pay attention to within the science of Culinology. Is there, or could there be, something to fermenting the different varieties in a particular blend together from the beginning? I'm genuinely curious.

Just my two cents and aptitude for discovery...
 

Rocktop

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Thank you CD. Are you saying you will be blending at crush coming up this fall or last fall? I am very interested in your results.

RT
 

crushday

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I’m already done. Harvest was two weeks ago. I’m in secondary right now. I blended at primary enough for a full barrel. I also kept the varieties separate for 100% varietals too.
 

Rocktop

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ugh yes I forget how much behind we are seasonally up here in Canada
 

knockabout

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I think this gives you a great opportunity to ferment with multiple yeasts and blend down the road for a more complex wine. Also, you get to see how different yeasts affect the same wine - sounds like a great time to me! In this case blend just a bit before bottling!
Cheers
 

Rocktop

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Thank you Knockabout. That is the direction I am leaning...

RT
 

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