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Helping a new winemaker - Cab Franc Barrel

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NorCal

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I was so fortunate to have a neighbor that introduced me to winemaking. I was completely blown away on how good his wine was and was made in his garage. I was hooked and he showed me the ropes.

Fast forward to this year and I get a call from a neighbor that says he has grapes in his backyard and not sure what to do with them. My plan was to be a good neighbor and say hello and say that I’m sorry but your 115 vines of grapes in your backyard were not properly cared for and not viable for a commercial winery.

Instead, I was blown away. The pics say it all. I inquired if he vacuumed his vineyard this morning :) It is Cabernet Franc and some incredible fruit.

I asked if he was interested in learning how to make wine and he said yes. The fact that he cared for these vines in this manner convinced me that it was my turn to pay it back. Brix are right at 25 brix and we are harvesting his grapes on Saturday for his first barrel! I’ll keep you posted.
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Venatorscribe

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Cab Franc Makes a beautiful smooth wine and as you know it is often blended with with more plentiful grapes such as merlot, to improve the final outcome. However a straight cab franc wine is absolutely stunning. Especially if you let bottle age for 3 to 5 years. You are a lucky fella
 

NorCal

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we started at 7am and with a team of volunteers, the fruit came off quickly. I was shocked at how much fruit came off those vines, 1,200 pounds total, a whopping 10 ponds per vine! A lot of the not so ripe fruit was included with the ripe fruit, but with 8 volunteer, that’s hard to control. 23 brix / 3.55 pH., no adjustments made. Excellent host with coffee, pastries, quiche and the absolute cutest dog in the world. I’ll get a pic next time.

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Rocky

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You are a lucky fella

"Chance (luck) favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur
 

Figo

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Stunning! Looking at the apparent quality of the fruit, you're going to have a fine wine. Good Luck!
 

NorCal

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The wife of the budding winemaker asked if I could document the overall flow.

The red wine making steps I use is:
- harvest, destem/crush
- add tartaric acid if required, SO2 25-50 ppm
- wait 24 hrs, inoculate, using GoFerm
- first sign of fermentation, add FermK
- open top, covered with screen or cloth, punch down 3X daily
- 1/3 sugar drop, add FermK
- press at 0 brix
- let pressed wine settle for 24 hours
- rack into barrel/carboy/Spiedel
- inoculate mlb, with nutrient
- rack when mlf complete
- add SO2 based on pH
- rack 3-4 months later
- measure and add SO2 based on pH
- rack 3-4 months later (if required)
- measure and add SO2 based on pH
- (total time since harvest 11-12 months)
- before bottling rack, measure and add SO2 based on pH
- bottle

Some might argue that it’s a bit heavy handed on the racking and I can’t disagree. If the sediment if fine and not excessive, I’ll skip it. This is easy to see in a carboy, hard to see in a barrel.
 

NorCal

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We let the wine settle for about 36 hours and racked into the barrel. He bought a 3rd year barrel from a local commercial winery (had the highest rated Syrah in the nation a few years ago), where I’ve gotten a few barrels from. $70 for a well cared for barrel, is a good deal.

I made the assumption that the barrel was only recently taken out of the rotation, but it looks like it had been months. We had pumped 6 or so gallons in before the leaks started. We pumped the wine back out and made 5 gallons of very hot water. We wet the whole barrel on the inside, but focused on the ends. 30 minutes later we were filling it with wine again, without leaks.
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