Homogenizing a double batch when pressing

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Aug 18, 2023
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southern Willamette valley
I'm currently making my first from-grape wine and also my first double batch. I've got ~130 lb of Pinot must in my 20 gallon Brute that I expect (hope) to get 8 finished gallons from (to be aged in 5 + 3 gallon carboys). I'll be pressing early next week and my problem is that I don't have any container large enough to hold the whole pressed volume (other than my Brute), and I want the 2 carboys to be homogenized, rather than eg. one being the free run and the other the hard press. What would you recommend for how to homogenize the wine after pressing and before racking to the carboys, while minimizing excessive O2?

I have 3 and 5gal glass carboys, a 6 gal PET and 6.5 wide-mouthed PET. I'm thinking maybe pressing into the 6 and 6.5 gal PETs, leaving extra volume in both and then siphon back and forth a handful of times between them, filling each one up alternately, to get some mixing? Then leave it to settle out the gross lees for 1-2 days since CO2 should keep the headspace in the PETs relatively protected for now. Or pressing into 2 5-gal carboys and then cleaning out the brute, racking both back into the brute, and then back into the carboys to settle out the gross lees?
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Racking back-n-forth numerous times works, but it's exposing the wine to air. At this time, there's enough CO2 emitting that it's probably not a problem, especially if you add K-meta.

However, down the road if you want to homogenize again, the risk is much higher.

Your best choice is to buy a 32 gallon Brute. If you expect to make large batches in the future, it's a good investment.
I was actually thinking of going smaller and getting a 10 gallon Brute to press into, but instead I think I'll try strategy 2 - press into 2 carboys then rack back into cleaned Brute, then back into carboys. Not doing splash racking when going back to the Brute, and maybe splash racking under vacuum with the All In One when going back to the carboys for gross lees settling.

Our household consumption is only a little over 1 bottle a week so unless I start giving away or sharing a lot more bottles, I think the 20 gallon is the perfect size for a yearly red wine, plus doing white or fruit wines in smaller batches throughout the year. Plus it fits in the back seat of the car - perfect for bringing back must when I can crush and destem at the vineyard as I did this year!
My suggestion is pressing into buckets and pouring it all back into your brute to settle. That will accomplish the same purpose though it may expose more oxygen to your wine. As Bryan says it is young and at this point oxygen shouldn’t be a problem.
Can you get hold of some dry ice? That might give you some protection if you're settling in a brute/buckets before racking into your carboys for aging. You could dangle it in a little bag over your settling juice and replenish as needed. Although oxygen uptake isn't such an issue as it will be later in the life of your wine, spoilage and/or fruit fly incursion is still concern for the day or two that you're settling the gross lees...
Amending my post. Your second plan is essentially the same as my suggestion. Settling overnight or 24 hours is not detrimental at this stage. If you want to blend the batches, you are better off doing it early, in my opinion.
Even after the carboys are blended there is no guarantee that the bottled wine from one will be the same as the other.

Taste and see before you bottle. You may find that they are different or you may decide that you want to blend again. Which will mean placing back into bulk for a short while to make sure that they are stable.