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First time with red grapes-Making Plans

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Xnke

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This year, I am able to get as much Syrah and Viogner as I would like from a friend. Depending on how the season goes, I am looking at about 100 to 120lbs of grapes. More than I've done in the past. Before, I've only done white Niagara grapes, in 30-40lb batches. I understand *most* of the processes, but I want to be start planning for this fall now. (I am a project manager/scheduler at work.)

So, here's my understanding of the process, and what I am currently planning:

-Grapes are picked around 24-25 brix, and will be primarily Syrah, with some Viogner-but could include others.
-Red Grapes are destemmed and crushed. White grapes are destemmed, crushed, and pressed.
-Crushed grapes and juice are dosed with SO2.
-White grape skins are added to the red grapes, roughly 10%.
-Yeast is activated and pitched, and fermentation starts.
-White juice is same as it always is. Red is fermented on the skins, cap punched down, etc.
-Reds are racked off the seeds, and juice+skins pressed.
-Pressed juice is settled and then Red starts MLF in glass carboy, under airlock.
-Whites go under airlock until end of process.
-Red gets oaked-either in the glass, or in a small barrel. Barrel will depend on volume here...

After oak and probably a racking back into glass for aging, I've got it under control-I allow my wine to settle out until I can read newsprint through it, takes 6ish months. Maybe 8. Got that part down pretty good.

Where's the broken/incomplete/incorrect part of the plan here?
 

CDrew

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Where's the broken/incomplete/incorrect part of the plan here?
There will be lots of opinions here, but this is mine:

Sounds fine but you are making far to little wine. It's no more effort to make 200 pounds in a ferment which will yield maybe 5 cases of finished wine. I'd forget the Viognier, make 200 pounds of Syrah, and proceed. I'd also try and get them a bit more ripe, like 26 brix or more. Syrah makes a big wine, you should celebrate it! I got Syrah at 28 brix in 2018 and it's coming along great.
 

Xnke

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There would be more...but there are not that many grapes on the vines!

The potentially available grapes are Syrah(what we have already agreed on), Viogner, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cab Sauv(maybe, unlikely).

I do not drink much wine myself. Can't have the alcohol, as it is very hard on me...one glass every few months is plenty. However, I have many friends who very much enjoy the wine I have made in the past and I very much enjoy the growing of grapes.

The other reason for not going a full 200lbs is equipment. The only press I have is hydraulic, and is normally used for metalwork. When using it for food, it gets scrubbed and sanitized, the ram gets a stainless steel condom and the buckets are just stainless 5.5 gallon ones. Can't fit a bigger bucket in the press!
 

Johnd

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If you can swing the grapes, GSM makes a great blend.
I’m also on the “if you’re going to do it, do more” bandwagon, regardless of press size, we did nearly 1500# last fall with a small press, just loaded it multiple times.
There’s a step in here where you may be adjusting BRIX and pH/TA, make sure you have proper testing / chems on hand.
Lastly, if your grapes are healthy, consider skipping the sulfite addition on your red grapes to ease the path for MLF, and consider coinoculation with a strong strain like VP41, Alpha, Beta, CH series, matched to your grape must characteristics (ultimate ABV, pH, ferm temps, etc. )
 

mainshipfred

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The part I don't get is racking off the seeds. If there is a method it would be interesting to learn about it. The seeds do have a tendency to fall to the bottom of the fermenter. I'm also in the school of 120 lbs is not enough. This past spring I did two 144 lb batches and ended up with 12 gallons each after the first rack. Otherwise I think your plan is fine.
 

sour_grapes

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Adding white skins to a red wine is new to me. Where does the tradition come from? I looked but can't find anything.
It's an Old World thing. In the Northern Rhone Valley, they blend Viognier with Syrah: https://winefolly.com/review/northern-rhone-wine-french-syrah/
Traditionally, in Chianti, they blended Bianco Malvasia with Sangiovese. In fact, the DOC regulations required it. Part of the reason for the emergence of Super Tuscans was a rebellion against this requirement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Chianti
 

Xnke

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Racking off the seeds that fall out into the sediment is supposed to help reduce the harsher tannins that come from crushed or abraded seeds during the pressing process. Of course the seeds still inside grapes still provide some, but from what I have read the racking off the seeds and sediments prior to pressing is a common Australian Syrah treatment, something to do with the hot climate. It's not AS hot here, but daytime temps are pretty well in the high 80/low 90 range most days till about three weeks from harvest. Nights are 75 to 80 for the next two months, too.

We will see how many grapes come off the vines this year. That will determine what I actually get. There are 19 Syrah vines, and 4 Viogner vines in production this year, the others are hit or miss on if anything makes it to harvest.
 

NorCal

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Only things I see missing is to check acid levels at crush and adjust, I use goFerm and FermK and add SO2 / rack when mlf completed. SO2 every 3 months, rack as necessary.
 

NorCal

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I created this fermentation planning worksheet that I use. I can plug in the lbs of grapes, brix and it will calculate all the bits and pieces I need and in what qty. It also steps me through the process that I use, so I don't need to look up the manufacturer's procedure each time. Here is a link to a copy of the spreadsheet. Please don't change this one (don't think you can anyway) but make a copy for your own use if you'd like. As always, double check the calculations (although it has been vetted pretty well).
upload_2019-6-7_8-46-34.png
 

Xnke

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That sheet will help out. I had been working on one already, but hadn't finished it up.

Right now, I'm working out where I'm going to work at this year-the spare bedroom is no longer spare, so I'm out of luck. The whole mess will have to be made in the workshop, which is OK, since it's now air-conditioned in the one room that matters.

To be fair, if I had more room, I'd probably do more grapes. But, I'll run out of room and 4 cases of wine will be *several* years' worth. I'm figuring 4 cases as 10 gallons, give or take. There just isn't much room to work in, that is temperature stable.

Next on my list of things to think about...yeast. I am thinking Lallemand's "Syrah" or Lalvin "Clos" for the Syrah, and for the Viogner I'll probably use one of the Red Star yeasts, Premiere Cuvee or maybe Montrachet. I have had very good experiences with the little blue packet of Premiere Cuvee in the past in my 3-4 gallon batches of whites.
 
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Xnke

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Unfortunately, due to measures I can't (well, I could but I'd get arrested) control, the grapes I was to get are not going to ripen. Several spray cycles were missed, and the whole row has succumbed to black rot and Japanese beetles-all the bunches are now mummies and there is not a single leaf on any vine.

Oh well, I may be able to find another source.
 

Ignoble Grape

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I created this fermentation planning worksheet that I use. I can plug in the lbs of grapes, brix and it will calculate all the bits and pieces I need and in what qty. It also steps me through the process that I use, so I don't need to look up the manufacturer's procedure each time. Here is a link to a copy of the spreadsheet. Please don't change this one (don't think you can anyway) but make a copy for your own use if you'd like. As always, double check the calculations (although it has been vetted pretty well).
View attachment 54958
OH! NorCal! Like Christmas in July - TY for the spreadsheet. Grabbed it and added it to my drive. Was just up your way over the July 4 holiday. Tons of little wineries tucked into the foothills. Hadn't been that way in 20 years - really nice vibe.
 

jgmann67

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I created this fermentation planning worksheet that I use. I can plug in the lbs of grapes, brix and it will calculate all the bits and pieces I need and in what qty. It also steps me through the process that I use, so I don't need to look up the manufacturer's procedure each time. Here is a link to a copy of the spreadsheet. Please don't change this one (don't think you can anyway) but make a copy for your own use if you'd like. As always, double check the calculations (although it has been vetted pretty well).
View attachment 54958
NorCal -

I'm not sure I'm doing it right... I opened the document, saved a copy on my own google drive, but it still says I need permission to edit. I'd like to download it as a file to my home PC, but that doesn't appear to be an option. Then again, I never use google drive, so I could be doing all this wrong. HELP! =)
 

cmason1957

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NorCal -

I'm not sure I'm doing it right... I opened the document, saved a copy on my own google drive, but it still says I need permission to edit. I'd like to download it as a file to my home PC, but that doesn't appear to be an option. Then again, I never use google drive, so I could be doing all this wrong. HELP! =)
No, I don't think it is anything you did incorrectly. I use google drive often and have the same issue.

@NorCal When you created the share link, I am guessing, well more than guessing, but not for certain, That you checked the check box that said, viewers can't download, copy, export (I forget the exact words). Having that checked means we can't use it, just view it and we can't view the formulas, etc. that are set-up in the spreadsheet.
 

Bill McNab

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Hello,
Just looked st your spreadsheet.
Did I read it correctly near the top, 500 lbs of grapes gets you 59 gallons of must.?
I always though, roughly speaking that 100 lbs of grsoes gets you 27 L of wine. If I am correct you would start with 30 gallons of must.
Anyway, nice sheet.
 

cmason1957

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Hello,
Just looked st your spreadsheet.
Did I read it correctly near the top, 500 lbs of grapes gets you 59 gallons of must.?
I always though, roughly speaking that 100 lbs of grsoes gets you 27 L of wine. If I am correct you would start with 30 gallons of must.
Anyway, nice sheet.
If you change the 500 to 100 lbs of red, you get about 12 gallons of must and 6 gallons of wine, which is the number I always plan on when I am buying grapes. I get about 6 1/2 or 7 gallons of pressed wine and then racking loss, testing, etc. gives a bit more loss. It certainly depends on varietal, how hard you can press, and probably 20 other things I can't think of now.

Oh and @NorCal, second link works great, I can download a copy to my computer now and edit it. Thanks.
 

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