First time harvesting and fermenting fresh grapes

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by BenK, Aug 24, 2018.

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  1. BenK

    BenK Member

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    We got there at 11 and hit most of the Lacrescent that was at least russeted on the side that got the most sun, and looking ok on the shaded portions. You didnt find anything ripe in the top field because I got there a day before you. lol
     
  2. DriftlessDoc

    DriftlessDoc Member

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    Haha you’ll have to let me know how yours turns out. My juice is super green, but SG was surprisingly about 1.078. I boosted that to 1.1. I’m excited for the Marquette.
     
  3. BenK

    BenK Member

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    Im afraid its going to be to hot if I chaptalize it. Have you made it before? They dont us not to pick st pepin or prarie star on Saturday I had a similar plan and actually wanted saint pepin as a priority
     
  4. BenK

    BenK Member

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    What is your plan for marquette and how long do you let your cold hardy reds sit on the skins before pressing?
     
  5. DriftlessDoc

    DriftlessDoc Member

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    I’m winging it with both, first time using real grapes. Fermenting on skins for a week, then pressing

    If the white comes in hot will back sweeten and make it off dry instead of dry.

    I’ve made some pretty good kit wines, going into this with an open mind. Hopefully it turns out pretty good. You close to Oregon? We’re about an hour west


    Edit: by winging it, I have a pretty good plan but have nothing to base expectations on so I’ll be happy with anything pretty decent.
     
  6. BenK

    BenK Member

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    Im sure you noticed that I am winging it as well to an extent. I actually live in green bay.
     
  7. DriftlessDoc

    DriftlessDoc Member

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    Did you drive all the way down just for grapes or were in the area?
     
  8. BenK

    BenK Member

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    I drove 5 hours round trip just for the grapes. After taxes come back next year, if no giant bills pop up I might be in the market for a 3-5 acre vineyard site. I badly need some experience with fresh fruit from regional varieties.
     
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  9. regnistep

    regnistep Junior

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    I used 71B on some very acid Marquette and Frontenac last year, and it knocked the heck out of the acid, resulting in a pH of 4.0 after starting at around 3.2. It was VERY effective at reducing acid levels. I felt like the only guy that has ever added acid to Frontenac. I have been making mostly northern grape varieties from an excellent vineyard in Northern Illinois. I personally prefer Marechal Foch. My last Foch was indistinguishable from a high quality Pinot in a blind taste test, except the color was better.

    I am switching to glass carboys this year after having experienced some oxidation issues with plastic carboys. I was thinking I would get some micro-oxidation through the plastic carboys to help age the reds, but it went too far. It might still be a good idea, but for a shorter period of time.

    You didn't ask about oak. Most amateurs are using chips. If you read some of the research papers on the quality of wine versus the for of oak adjuncts used, you will find it is better for the oak to infuse over a longer period of time than happens with chips. The sweet spot seems to be 3/8" cubes. I drill small holes in the cubes and thread them onto some monofilament with glass beads separating them and suspend them from the airlock so they don't get covered in yeast lees or grape solids, and leave them for at least 3 months.
     
  10. Malach58

    Malach58 Junior

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  11. Malach58

    Malach58 Junior

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    Dude, that sounds exactly like the path I’m on. My first “large” batches this year. 100#s of Muscadine, and 300#s of Shiraz. The shiraz barely fit in 3 large marine coolers. I’ll be upgrading and doubling next year and move up to a 25-30 gallon tank. My wife frowns on the 15-20 carboys around the house, until it’s bottling time and then she becomes QA/QC.
     
  12. CK55

    CK55 Senior Member

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    Do it :) but 3-5 acres would be like an insane amount of wine.
     
  13. BenK

    BenK Member

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    Status update. I have a full 3 gallon carboy of each variety and 2 or 2.5 gallons in an untopped 6 gallon carboy. I went with the larger vessel because I wrongly assumed fermentation would not be this far along. I tested SG of the 3 single varietal carboys and All are between .996 and 1.000. I will have a hard time reacting to the blend in the larger carboy until Thursday. I'll try to rack into smaller containers tomorrow night.

    Upcoming plan is:
    -Rack off the LaCrescent into carboys, this variety still has visible activity going on in the bucket
    -Rack the red blend ASAP
    -Rack the reds to get them off the gross lees on Thursday
    -Retest acid levels & taste all wines
    -Start malo on the reds
    -Order light toasted French oak. Probably cubes or beans.
    -I'm planning on not using fining agents, but it's still an option I'm tossing around to get them in the bottle quicker so that I'm not doing extra rackings on multiple carboys while working 55+ hours a week and training for powerlifting
    -What do I do with the small quantities in the .5 and 1 gallon carboys assuming they will eventually lose volume from topping up the 3 gallon carboys, solid bung and leave in the fridge? How long will they last?

    My wife and I tasted the St Croix and it tasted strongly acidic/hot. Hopefully that comes down with malo, oak, and age.

    I did not press the heck out of the skins. It was hot and buggy outside so I pressed inside and made one hell of a mess. I'm also ridiculously paranoid about contaminating the wine, which is typical for me. Every time something small happens that could cause infection all I do is stress about it.

    Time on skins was 9 days.


    Thanks for all of the help team!
     
  14. CDrew

    CDrew Junior

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    So no expert here, but I'd go back to the basics.

    No headspace. It just invites oxidation. You need to combine your wine or put in smaller containers so that you don't have headspace. Or use the vacuum "head space eliminator" which works quite well in my experience.

    Get all the wine off the gross lees within 48 hours.

    Start MLF anytime-I do it during primary fermentation when the wine warms up due to the fermentation energy release.

    A lot of the strong acid flavor is carbonic acid ie the CO2 dissolved in the wine. It will pass as the wine gives up the CO2 over the next 2-3 months.

    Your varieties are not familiar to me, but I'd still do whatever you can to prevent oxygen from getting to the wine and making vinegar.

    I leave mine in the carboys for almost a year, I would not be too anxious to bottle, especially if adding oak.

    Wine is a waiting game. Get used to it.
     
  15. CK55

    CK55 Senior Member

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    you can have some headspace in secondary as wine still has a lot of CO2. especially if you put malolactic bacteria as it will also make more. But after that you should top up.
     
  16. BenK

    BenK Member

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    Once again guys, I really appreciate all of you following this thread and helping me keep the course.

    Today's progress:

    Racked the lacrescent out of the primary buckets. Smells good but did not taste. FG: 0.992 so she's done. Ended up with 7.5 gallons Going to read the white wine making guide and decide on when my next rack will be. Need to test acid at next rack.

    Got the red blend out of the to large carboy and into smaller containers with appropriate headspace. Tastes a lot better but a few things I note.

    -All of the lees I can see in the reds appear to be fine lees. I did ferment to dry in primary before pressing, and did not press that heck out of the cake so hopefully waiting until Friday night or Saturday morning to rack off the gross lees won't be a big deal

    -The wine isn't very integrated, in the glass the center of the wine is dark and blackish red but grainy in appearance, and gets light around the edges but grainy as it gets from dark to light. Doesn't seem like the color is well integrated.


    -No real alcohol taste, almost wonder if I did not chapitalize enough

    -Still kind of hot on acids

    -Not very deep/rich flavor


    Hopefully time, malo, and a little oak will cure what ails it. I'm assuming the 3 untouched red varietals are suffering the same problem, but I'll find out this weekend.
     
  17. CK55

    CK55 Senior Member

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    It needs oak, some time, and a little love and it will be great.
     
  18. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    As far as the color goes, that’s pretty typical at this stage. As the sediment falls out of the wine, it’ll lose that reddish color and get very deep and dark when it’s in large glass containers.

    Don’t fret funny tastes and funky little notes or smells at the moment, she’s but a babe in woods right now. As the wine ages and becomes more integrated, those things just seem to melt away.
     
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  19. BenK

    BenK Member

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    That is what Im hoping for!
     
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  20. BenK

    BenK Member

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    John, your wisdom is always appreciated. I will update this weekend after finishing up this weeks work.
     
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