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Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

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DPCellars

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CA requires min wage $12, going up $1 hr each year for the next 3 years. Love the weather, not fond of the politics.
We have assisted a local Lodi winery in the past. They said that because of California laws, they were not able to allow us to help, for the reasons stated by @NorCal. Instead, they make it a special event for club members. Those who attend are charged a fee to participate.

Darn near went broke when I helped pick some Zin. At a staggering fee of $0.25, I almost had to hitch a ride home. Lol
 

Snafflebit

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We have assisted a local Lodi winery in the past. They said that because of California laws, they were not able to allow us to help, for the reasons stated by @NorCal. Instead, they make it a special event for club members. Those who attend are charged a fee to participate.
It is the side effect of requiring health coverage under Covered California now. Volunteer sorters at my favorite winery in Livermore had to be put on the payroll. so of course most were let go.
 

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What an incredible thread!
Now considering a cold soak for my upcoming Pinot Noir batch.
Question, after the crush and before the cold soak, would you SO2 then or after it comes out of the chiller and warming up for for fermenting?
 

DPCellars

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It is the side effect of requiring health coverage under Covered California now. Volunteer sorters at my favorite winery in Livermore had to be put on the payroll. so of course most were let go.
So sad to hear this. There are workarounds (as mentioned in my post reply). Unfortunately, I believe they would only work with the smaller boutique wineries who do not need the volume of the larger wineries.
 

DPCellars

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What an incredible thread!
Now considering a cold soak for my upcoming Pinot Noir batch.
Question, after the crush and before the cold soak, would you SO2 then or after it comes out of the chiller and warming up for for fermenting?
I'm only in my third season of attempting winemaking. I hear the level they are talking in this forum and my eyes roll back into my head. I have a LONG way to go and do much to learn. I better keep reading.
 

NorCal

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What an incredible thread!
Now considering a cold soak for my upcoming Pinot Noir batch.
Question, after the crush and before the cold soak, would you SO2 then or after it comes out of the chiller and warming up for for fermenting?
I SO2 right at crush to kill any bacteria and wild yeast. Don’t over do it. Make sure the yeast you plan on using can tolerate some level of SO2.
 

Rocktop

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Ok thank you NorCal. A quick check of my planned fermentation spreadsheet (which I downloaded from a link you provided sometime ago, thank you) I planned on using BM4X4 for my pinot red and ICV-GRE for the rose i will be making via saignee.
 

crushday

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I know the owner of a great winery and the winemaker well and he has tasted and given me feedback on my wines a number of times. I told him I was trying to emulate his Viognier last year. He asked if I was able to ferment for three months, like he does. That is what really confirmed in my mind what I believe is the biggest differentiating factor.
NorCal, do you know the fermentation temp that would result in a 90 day fermentation period? I’m very curious...
 

NorCal

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NorCal, do you know the fermentation temp that would result in a 90 day fermentation period? I’m very curious...
I can find out but my guess is that a lot of that time is prior to starting fermentation and bringing the temp up at the minimum level to keep fermentation going.
 

crushday

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I can find out but my guess is that a lot of that time is prior to starting fermentation and bringing the temp up at the minimum level to keep fermentation going.
I'm satisfied with your guess as it makes sense. I'm wondering because I'm going to be getting some Pinot Noir soon and I want to give this project the best opportunity for success. My impression of PN is that it's finicky and presents fermentation challenges - especially to extract nice color, body and flavor profile while not leaving it off-dry. It's one of favorite varieties and I'm so much looking forward to working it soon. I've had both really great Pinot and really bad. My personal iterations have tended toward the latter. But, not from grapes as I recently transitioned from wine kits.

I'm in research mode over it...
 
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NorCal

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I'm satisfied with your guess as it makes sense. I'm wondering because I'm going to be getting some Pinot Noir soon and I want to give this project the best opportunity for success. My impression of PN is that it's finicky and presents fermentation challenges - especially to extract nice color, body and flavor profile while not leaving it off-dry. It's one of favorite varieties and I'm so much looking forward to working it soon. I've had both really great Pinot and really bad. My personal iterations have tended toward the latter. But, not from grapes as I recently transitioned from wine kits.

I'm in research mode over it...
I don’t have experience with it, but I’d almost approach it like making a white, except ferment on the skins. I’ve always wanted to make Pinot Noir, but my warm climate doesn’t support it....hmmm maybe a Pacific Northwest road trip in my future :)
 

crushday

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hmmm maybe a Pacific Northwest road trip in my future :)
As an idea, next year, when I come down for my ration of CF I'll bring you some frozen grape must from the Willamette Valley. Color extraction will be easier since they'll be frozen. You'll need a way to "gently" ferment them by keeping the temp manageable. You have a year to figure that out. It's a standing offer... I think you have a basement, right? If so, problem solved.
 

NorCal

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As an idea, next year, when I come down for my ration of CF I'll bring you some frozen grape must from the Willamette Valley. Color extraction will be easier since they'll be frozen. You'll need a way to "gently" ferment them by keeping the temp manageable. You have a year to figure that out. It's a standing offer... I think you have a basement, right? If so, problem solved.
Thanks @crushday. Great offer, I appreciate it. I’m already committed next year to do a GSM barrel, but maybe the year after.
 

NorCal

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I was given 100 pounds of beautiful Grenache grapes and didn’t want to make a mess with my destemmer. I knew a winemaker (now bonded) that was crushing today and I asked if I could run mine through his equipment at the end. He said yes. His equipment was on point. I will definitely be figuring out how to sort AFTER crushing the grapes next year. Another small step to close the gap!

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jsbeckton

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Interesting. I wonder if most wineries bother with this level of stem removal or not? Thought I read somewhere that as long as you removed 90% the remainder wouldn’t hurt anything. About to crush next week, thanks for triggering my OCD!
 

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Interesting. I wonder if most wineries bother with this level of stem removal or not? Thought I read somewhere that as long as you removed 90% the remainder wouldn’t hurt anything. About to crush next week, thanks for triggering my OCD!
I’m thinking it’s multiple little nuances like this when all combined together can be the difference between an 89 point wine and a 95+.
 

Ajmassa

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Came across a little article with the Caldwell Bineyards winemaker describing their process. Thought it was interesting to see how a high end joint does it. They give a cold soak before AF and at the end fill the headspace with gas till cap drops. Also noticed he does not add acid yet is able keeps the so2 ppm low despite ph around 4.
Anyway, here’s the link WBM_2019_01_January
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