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Kraffty

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Sunday will our first crush since leaving California since what seems like a lifetime ago. Over the last 6 months, in prep for this, I’ve built a new winery, checked, cleaned, replaced and upgraded or modified my existing equipment. In the last few weeks I’ve reviewed my notes from previous years, ordered and received new chems, yeasts and MLB. I've also replaced all regents and buffers for testing equipment. I’d forgotten how much enjoyment I get from the planning stages leading up to Crush in addition to the excitement of actually starting the whole process.

Mainly because of moving 600 miles, but probably more so the Pandemic, I was planning on this year's crew being just my wife and me compared to the really neat little party with neighbors, friends and relatives that Crush had become in just the few years past. So while chatting with the next door neighbors (they mentioned loving wine but not knowing anything about the process) I threw out the offer to join us, get their hands sticky, enjoy some wines and then a BBQ brisket in the afternoon on the deck. They instantly took us up on the offer and are bringing sides to make it into a pot luck of sorts. We’ve talked with them quite often but this will be our first “sit down, spend some hours getting to know each other” get together.

Back to grapes, I ordered from the source @ibglowin shared and just received the confirmation that my 144lbs each of Zinfandel, Syrah and even the Pinot Noir, listed as limited availability, are coming. All will be ready for pick up Sunday morning after 7:00 am in Phoenix (1.5-2 hour drive). Should be home in time to start crushing before noon. This years plan is to ferment each variatle individually and hopefully end up with about 8-9 gallons of each or 3 individual carboys and one mixed for 24 gallons total. I’m trying 1 new yeast, RP15 Rockpile, on the Syrah that I’ve never used before and look forward to seeing how it works. I’ll think about blending a little or a lot or not at all depending on what they taste like about a year from now.

In addition to Grapes, Neighbors and Que (oh my!) I’m patiently waiting for the UPS truck to roll up with my newest toy on board. It’s not winemaking related but we will use it on Crush day. Updates and Pictures to follow.
 

NorCal

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Sunday will our first crush since leaving California since what seems like a lifetime ago. Over the last 6 months, in prep for this, I’ve built a new winery, checked, cleaned, replaced and upgraded or modified my existing equipment. In the last few weeks I’ve reviewed my notes from previous years, ordered and received new chems, yeasts and MLB. I've also replaced all regents and buffers for testing equipment. I’d forgotten how much enjoyment I get from the planning stages leading up to Crush in addition to the excitement of actually starting the whole process.

Mainly because of moving 600 miles, but probably more so the Pandemic, I was planning on this year's crew being just my wife and me compared to the really neat little party with neighbors, friends and relatives that Crush had become in just the few years past. So while chatting with the next door neighbors (they mentioned loving wine but not knowing anything about the process) I threw out the offer to join us, get their hands sticky, enjoy some wines and then a BBQ brisket in the afternoon on the deck. They instantly took us up on the offer and are bringing sides to make it into a pot luck of sorts. We’ve talked with them quite often but this will be our first “sit down, spend some hours getting to know each other” get together.

Back to grapes, I ordered from the source @ibglowin shared and just received the confirmation that my 144lbs each of Zinfandel, Syrah and even the Pinot Noir, listed as limited availability, are coming. All will be ready for pick up Sunday morning after 7:00 am in Phoenix (1.5-2 hour drive). Should be home in time to start crushing before noon. This years plan is to ferment each variatle individually and hopefully end up with about 8-9 gallons of each or 3 individual carboys and one mixed for 24 gallons total. I’m trying 1 new yeast, RP15 Rockpile, on the Syrah that I’ve never used before and look forward to seeing how it works. I’ll think about blending a little or a lot or not at all depending on what they taste like about a year from now.

In addition to Grapes, Neighbors and Que (oh my!) I’m patiently waiting for the UPS truck to roll up with my newest toy on board. It’s not winemaking related but we will use it on Crush day. Updates and Pictures to follow.
Good luck, sounds like a fun time with friends and family. I'm sure it will be like riding a bike.
 

Boatboy24

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Sunday will our first crush since leaving California since what seems like a lifetime ago. Over the last 6 months, in prep for this, I’ve built a new winery, checked, cleaned, replaced and upgraded or modified my existing equipment. In the last few weeks I’ve reviewed my notes from previous years, ordered and received new chems, yeasts and MLB. I've also replaced all regents and buffers for testing equipment. I’d forgotten how much enjoyment I get from the planning stages leading up to Crush in addition to the excitement of actually starting the whole process.

Mainly because of moving 600 miles, but probably more so the Pandemic, I was planning on this year's crew being just my wife and me compared to the really neat little party with neighbors, friends and relatives that Crush had become in just the few years past. So while chatting with the next door neighbors (they mentioned loving wine but not knowing anything about the process) I threw out the offer to join us, get their hands sticky, enjoy some wines and then a BBQ brisket in the afternoon on the deck. They instantly took us up on the offer and are bringing sides to make it into a pot luck of sorts. We’ve talked with them quite often but this will be our first “sit down, spend some hours getting to know each other” get together.

Back to grapes, I ordered from the source @ibglowin shared and just received the confirmation that my 144lbs each of Zinfandel, Syrah and even the Pinot Noir, listed as limited availability, are coming. All will be ready for pick up Sunday morning after 7:00 am in Phoenix (1.5-2 hour drive). Should be home in time to start crushing before noon. This years plan is to ferment each variatle individually and hopefully end up with about 8-9 gallons of each or 3 individual carboys and one mixed for 24 gallons total. I’m trying 1 new yeast, RP15 Rockpile, on the Syrah that I’ve never used before and look forward to seeing how it works. I’ll think about blending a little or a lot or not at all depending on what they taste like about a year from now.

In addition to Grapes, Neighbors and Que (oh my!) I’m patiently waiting for the UPS truck to roll up with my newest toy on board. It’s not winemaking related but we will use it on Crush day. Updates and Pictures to follow.
Excited for you! And FWIW, I've used RP15 on Syrah and Zin and have been pretty happy with it.
 

Boatboy24

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With that easy access to your winery and a truck, @Kraffty , you should be doing a half ton! :D

Have a great day!
 

Kraffty

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All in all a great day was had. Hit the road for the 220 mile round trip at 5:40am and pulled back in with grapes at 9:50am. Everyone at Peddlers Sons were friendly, efficient and practicing safety. We arrived about 20 minutes after the pickup timeframe window opened and while the 8 or 9 docks were full and another 8 or so cars waiting were in line to be called up they had us loaded and back on our way in about 20 minutes. Neighbors showed up about 11:30 and we had everything crushed and in brutes in barely over an hour. The one disappointment was my newly motorized crusher started bogging down and stopping at times. I'll have to solve that for next year but it kept grinding along enough to feel like we'd added a "power assist mode" after reconnecting the hand flywheel. Grapes were in good condition, very few leafs, no mold and very few green grapes mixed in. We ended up with right at 13 gallons of must for each of the 3 varieties. Added K'meta and will test SG tomorrow am. Numbers look really good, probably the best starting numbers I've had with grapes so far. Brix on all 3 was between 25 and 25.5. PH is reading at: Pinot Noir - 3.56, Syrah - 3.4 & Zinfandel - 3.63, I'm not going to make any adjustments and make all my additions in the morn.

Neighbors were a lot of fun, they jumped in and seemed to really enjoy the process, they're already asking about buying grapes next year for themselves. Dinner came out awesome. Brisket sous vide 36 hours at 145 then threw in the smoker before we left for Phoenix. Temped at 201 after crush so we wrapped and served a couple of hours later, probably the best I've made so far. I completely went brain dead about photos once the crusher started acting up but I swear it really happened.......

GrapeLugs.jpggrapes.jpgGrapezBrutes.jpg
 

crushday

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Very cool. What a journey. I look forward to lifting a glass in the future.

And, 6DM2 is a cool camera. Right now I’m shooting a 5DM4. I carried it on a 21 day tour of Cuba a few years ago that was amazing. I flew in to Havana, was there a couple days and then was on horseback for the next 13 days touring the mountains and plantations of interior Cuba. I spent the last 4 days back in Havana. Sleeping on dirt floors with friendly Cubans, eating their food was one of the best experiences of my life. Humbling, really...

Here’s a few pics...

C35B374C-EF49-4BF2-9AD1-A7F41A26A14B.jpeg
D7FFFFF3-3B3B-4E26-B6A5-164DE4B8E363.jpeg
 
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Kraffty

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Thanks, I'm realizing the learning curve is going to be bigger than I expected but so worth it (camera). The wine part is more like riding a bike but so satisfying to get started again. Those photos are awesome, love the portrait especially. Will hold you to a wine exchange a while from now.
 

sour_grapes

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All in all a great day was had. Hit the road for the 220 mile round trip at 5:40am and pulled back in with grapes at 9:50am. Everyone at Peddlers Sons were friendly, efficient and practicing safety. We arrived about 20 minutes after the pickup timeframe window opened and while the 8 or 9 docks were full and another 8 or so cars waiting were in line to be called up they had us loaded and back on our way in about 20 minutes. Neighbors showed up about 11:30 and we had everything crushed and in brutes in barely over an hour. The one disappointment was my newly motorized crusher started bogging down and stopping at times. I'll have to solve that for next year but it kept grinding along enough to feel like we'd added a "power assist mode" after reconnecting the hand flywheel. Grapes were in good condition, very few leafs, no mold and very few green grapes mixed in. We ended up with right at 13 gallons of must for each of the 3 varieties. Added K'meta and will test SG tomorrow am. Numbers look really good, probably the best starting numbers I've had with grapes so far. Brix on all 3 was between 25 and 25.5. PH is reading at: Pinot Noir - 3.56, Syrah - 3.4 & Zinfandel - 3.63, I'm not going to make any adjustments and make all my additions in the morn.

Neighbors were a lot of fun, they jumped in and seemed to really enjoy the process, they're already asking about buying grapes next year for themselves. Dinner came out awesome. Brisket sous vide 36 hours at 145 then threw in the smoker before we left for Phoenix. Temped at 201 after crush so we wrapped and served a couple of hours later, probably the best I've made so far. I completely went brain dead about photos once the crusher started acting up but I swear it really happened.......

View attachment 65945View attachment 65946View attachment 65947
That is just an inspiring story. Great day!
 

Ajmassa

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Love it. Crush day synopsis's are my absolutely favorite.

Sounds like it was a fantastic day, and seems you’ve got yourself a nice open comfortable setup at the new place. All around very impressive preparation & wineroom build.

And what a great way to establish positive relationships with the neighbors too. (I bet that slow cooked soups vide brisket didn’t go unappreciated!)

And those grape #’s? Unbelievable. No adjusting must be refreshing. The grapes my family would purchase every year in Philly were Pia. Glad to see the fruit has optimal #’s year.
Great post @Kraffty
 

Kraffty

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Day 2 I added my enzymes, Opti-Red or Nobleese, nutrients and yeasts. I double checked Sugar using Hydrometer vs Refractometer. Numbers were slightly lower, from 1.09 to 1.098 vs 25 to 25.5 across the board but still pretty consistent, I may need to calibrate the Refract slightly. I'm still really happy and don't see a reason to make any adjustments. This morning found caps had formed, did my first punch down, re-measured SG and all have dropped slightly and temps are up slightly (72 to 76). Seems we're off to a good start. Photo comparison of colors after 48 hours. Brown test tube is the Pinot yesterday.
Pinot24hrsIn.jpgPinotSyrahZin48hrsIn.jpg
 

Kraffty

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So I had a slight panic attack this morning and want to thank Norcal for talking me off the ledge. A little knowledgable assurance can go a long way sometimes. My ferment went into overdrive between yesterday and todays check of progress. Gravity plunged and temps spikes like I've never experienced before. I was afraid I'd be pressing boiled wine by this afternoon. I believe I caused the situation because I didn't have the amount of go-ferm I needed so I added what I had but then also added the proper amount of "nutrient vit end" at the start instead of waiting to feed at 1/3 depletion. Anyway I've slowed the train down just a bit by dropping a carboy full of cold water into each brute, uncovering to let heat out and putting a fan at the base to move air around the brutes. Back down to 85 on the Zin makes me feel much better than 88 and rising uncontrolled.
Breathe..........
I'll probably have to press Friday, a day or two earlier than I wanted but I only work here, I'm not the one calling the shots.........
FermChart.jpgWineCooling.jpg
 

ibglowin

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Ice bombs work well also. I gallon jugs of water frozen. If you don't have any on hand, bags of ice or blocks of ice will work also. You just have to make sure you have them at least double bagged or even triple bagged (heavy garbage bags) as you don't want any of the melted water to leak into the must and ruin it.

Dry Ice in a bag will work also in a pinch to cool things down rapidly without worry of dilution of your must.
 

Kraffty

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The Carboy cooling worked! That and finishing ferment, temps down to between 78 and 80 as well as SG down to .998 to 1.001 this morn. I'm going to sit on it for one more day and press Fri. Morning. A friend gave me a stainless perforated bucket to possibly use in my press but it's a little small BUT, thinking swiftly, I think I can use it to replace my Gazillion hole tube that really didn't work all that well. It's about 5 gallons in size and I'm thinking of sinking it into the brute and just scooping out the free run before dragging the brutes out to press. We'll see how that works and how long it takes to refill itself between scoopings.
I'm thinking it's been a busy week, I've got probably10 hours of U.S. Open recorded that I can watch on the deck this afternoon/evening and if I cheat a bit and call it Friday night I can pop open a few beers since tomorrow will almost be like a weekend.... agreed?

Serious question though, Saturday I'll add my CH16 and was thinking about adding my first Oak (chips for now) at that time. Any reasons I'm not aware of not to do that?GazillionHoleBucket.jpgWineColorDay5.jpg
 

Boatboy24

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I think you've got a good plan, Mike. Wines are all looking good from that last pic. How are they tasting?
 

Kraffty

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Pressing and moving to carboys went pretty easy even though I ended up doing it all by myself. Took 4 hours all together but I took my time and just kind of cruised through it all. The Gazillion Hole bucket worked out great and I'll be using it again. I was able to scoop between 4 and 5 gallons of wine directly from the bucket then half fill my press bucket with pretty dry skins. After that I'd scoop more of the wetter stuff up, dump it into a strainer and ended up with another 2 to 3 gallons of free run. The two pressings of each of the three brutes only yielded 1.5 to 2 gallons so in total I ended up with a full 6 gal. of free run and a 3 gal about half and half free and lightly pressed from 144lbs of each variety. Tomorrow I'll rack each 6 gallon carboy, top as needed from it's 3 gallon then combine all that's left of the 3 gallons into a 6 gallon blend carboy. Precisely 27 gallons from 432 lbs. of grapes minus tomorrows racking. Should end up very close to my planned 24 gal. total.

I have no proof but my gut feeling is that the spike in temps sped up the break down the grape solids and helped give me so much free run. Both the Zin and Syrah have really rich flavors, the Pinot is bright and light (lori says it's all her's anyway). What I'm most pleased with is the fact that there are zero "off" flavors or aromas or bitterness or extra sharpness in any of the wines. I've moved away from adding sacrificial tannins or similar additives and like the result better. I have the feeling the Syrah is going to be my new "best" wine to date.

I dumped the pressed skins from the Syrah and Zin into a brute and could see pools of wine forming so I went ahead and started a second run with 5 gallons of water, acidulated and sugared up to 1.08 plus a little nutrient.
Gazillionholebucket.jpgPress.jpgPressedWine.jpg
I just noticed in the last picture that you can see the difference between the 3 and 6 gal carboys where the 3 gals have pressed wine mixed in compared to the 6 gals that are filled with a pitcher directly from the brutes with no pressed wine.
 

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