Just pressed my Pinot - Pretty excited

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DPCellars

A Donkey makes my wine
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My desire to make try making wine can be traced to a single day in 2018 when I went to a "wine camp" put on by Riaza Winery in Lodi. A month later, I had a small tub of free grapes and the determination of trash panda trying steal a twinky from the campsite table.

In 2018, I managed to produce a whopping 26 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. It turned out pretty well for a first time.
In 2019, I produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cab/Pinot (50/50) blend. I picked the Cab a bit too early, so it is too acidic for my liking. The blend and the Pinot however, were amazing. Combined bottle count 96.

This year, I picked about 300-400 pounds each of Pinot and Cab. Today, I pressed the Pinot and wow! The yield compared to last year is huge. I pulled 33 gallons with minimal pressing. Man, I need to get more carboys or weird conical things so I can hold my Cab when I press on Sunday. I am not certain how much I will get from the Cab. It seems to not have nearly as much juice. That, and I will not have access to a press on Sunday, so it will be done with my less-than-efficient homemade bucket press. My wife is totally going to kill me. Just hope she buries me with my wine. :)

The fat cat on the right is Sadie. She is mean, so I am okay with her taking up the sentry position and protecting my wine.
 

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crushday

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“weird conical things”?
Sounds like you’re enjoying your journey. I use conicals for malolactic fermentation. For primary I use stainless steal stock pots, large ones. The collection balls on the conicals are key. All of the lees are left behind during primary and during secondary the fallout collects in the ball. Simple. After secondary and a little time for degassing I move to storage via a pump. I experience a little more fallout over the next year but wine clears very well without additional adjuncts. Time is your friend,

Enjoy your wine...
 

DPCellars

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Sounds like you’re enjoying your journey. I use conicals for malolactic fermentation. For primary I use stainless steal stock pots, large ones. The collection balls on the conicals are key. All of the lees are left behind during primary and during secondary the fallout collects in the ball. Simple. After secondary and a little time for degassing I move to storage via a pump. I experience a little more fallout over the next year but wine clears very well without additional adjuncts. Time is your friend,

Enjoy your wine...
I really am enjoying the process and learning more about it. I figure (or hope) that after this year, I will have more of the basics (and equipment) nailed down, preventing a last minute sprint to the local wine lab. This is my first time using the FastFerment Conical. I would say this is new territory, but only being my third year toying with this, it is all pretty much new.

The longest I have "aged" so far is 5 months. Surprisingly, I bottled my 2019 in late March and without any filtering or clarifying, there is no sediment in the bottles 5 months after bottling and it is very clear. I would love to age it longer but my wife and I take a little taste each month. If she says, "bottle it", I bottle it. To be honest, I do not even know what degassing is. I suppose it is time to search that one. lol
 

crushday

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@DPCellars Degassing refers to the dissipation of CO2 gas which is a natural by-product of the primary fermentation. Degassing can be done over time, much like opening a can of Coke and letting it sit on the counter overnight. It will be flat over night as the CO2 dissipates. Or, it can be accomplished mechanically with a whip attached to a drill or by pumping it out by use of a pump similar to the all in one system that Steve makes and sells.

I bulk age for a minimum of 12 months in glass carboys or plastic tanks. Then I age in barrels between 4-24 months depending on the size of the barrel.
 

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I REALLY like that conical setup! Did those brackets come with the fermentor? Or did you fashion/purchase those on your own? Nice job!
 

DPCellars

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I REALLY like that conical setup! Did those brackets come with the fermentor? Or did you fashion/purchase those on your own? Nice job!
It's kind of dumb on the conical. If you buy the 3 gallon or the 14 gallon, it comes with a stand and brackets. If you buy the 7.9 (like mine) it comes with the wall brackets but no stand. The stand costs 25.00. so, I built this for about 20 bucks and 30 minutes of my time...and it will hold a second fermenter.
 

DPCellars

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Nice job DP! Finding good pinot noir is not always easy.
BTW, how early did you pick the cabernet for your 2019 batch?
I picked at 21 brix. Added some dextrose. All the levels were good on the analysis, with exception to the TA. It's not too bad, but has a tartness that may relax over time.

On the Pinot... It is grown in the hot central valley in California which is not conducive to a good Pinot. It came out surprisingly well. I have done some blind taste tests with several colleagues and they picked it over several decent commercial wines. I was pretty happy. However, you get someone who is really knowledgeable about wine, they would probably criticize it for not being a Pinot in the sense of what is expected of one.

I sent it off to the International Amateur Winemakers comp, so we'll see what the judges notes contain. Lol
 
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DPCellars

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@DPCellars Degassing refers to the dissipation of CO2 gas which is a natural by-product of the primary fermentation. Degassing can be done over time, much like opening a can of Coke and letting it sit on the counter overnight. It will be flat over night as the CO2 dissipates. Or, it can be accomplished mechanically with a whip attached to a drill or by pumping it out by use of a pump similar to the all in one system that Steve makes and sells.

I bulk age for a minimum of 12 months in glass carboys or plastic tanks. Then I age in barrels between 4-24 months depending on the size of the barrel.
I truly appreciate the education. In my head I keep thinking, "I need to try a barrel". Honestly, there is a certain fear. Once the basics are second nature and I feel I have a good grasp on what I am doing, I might throw caution to the wind and go with a barrel.
 

DPCellars

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Interesting dynamic. When I pressed my Pinot, it was fruit forward, but very dry. No activity whatsoever from a secondary fermentation standpoint. It did this same thing last year and turned out well. Just totally opposite from my Cab.

I pressed my Cab yesterday. Great flavor and starting to get to dry. But when I put it in carboys man! The stuff is bubbling aggressively still.
 
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Sounds like you’re enjoying your journey. I use conicals for malolactic fermentation. For primary I use stainless steal stock pots, large ones. The collection balls on the conicals are key. All of the lees are left behind during primary and during secondary the fallout collects in the ball. Simple. After secondary and a little time for degassing I move to storage via a pump. I experience a little more fallout over the next year but wine clears very well without additional adjuncts. Time is your friend,

Enjoy your wine...
Considering adding a 7.9 Conical to the equipment room... Some use them, most don't seem to. Any more thoughts on them either way? Are they hard to clean of the cap if one wanted to try a 2nd run? Would adding some marbles to the cup make sense to minimize wine waste?
 

crushday

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Considering adding a 7.9 Conical to the equipment room... Some use them, most don't seem to. Any more thoughts on them either way? Are they hard to clean of the cap if one wanted to try a 2nd run? Would adding some marbles to the cup make sense to minimize wine waste?
I'm a big believer in FF conicals. Since I started out of the gate using them they are easy to use. For others, using them would tend toward being gimmicky. And, I get it. I find them incredibly easy to clean too and use PBW - let it sit overnight, drain and rinse. EASY. Make sure the PBW is fully constituted otherwise it collects at the bottom of the unit and...clogs.

Minimizing wine waste in the collection ball is something to consider. Rather than use marbles, I have been in the habit of draining it like any vessel with settled wine. The lees and fallout are on the bottom and you can pour out clean wine if you're careful.

You asked a question in reference to a 2nd run. I would not use this system with loose skins. If you're wanting to do a second run, make sure you use a muslin bag otherwise my experience is that the conical clogs - which leads to a big mess. Again, I don't use them for alcoholic fermentation with fresh or frozen grapes.

Let me know if you need more help.
 
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Thanks Crush. Muslin bag ,or not at all with fresh or frozen grape? I read that you don't use them for the primary at all? Stainless pots are great, but I'm still on the bucket level... why transfer at all? Do you have a source for the muslin? Paint filter bags? A conical would seem ideal for an extended maceration run. Dump off the gross lees at 1.0 or so. Innoculate if planned, cap and air loc, and walk away for a month. Fully brew belt compatible?
 
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crushday

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As a beginning wine maker, I made dozens of kits. If a kit came with skins, I would use this bag for the skins (2nd time forward having learned my lesson): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BPEOOBG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I did many EM ferments with wine kits and left the skins on the wine for up to 12 weeks at a time. No O2 and the skins don't decompose. These babies are air tight.

I haven't made a kit for almost 2 years now having moved to fresh or frozen grapes. So, it's true I don't use the FF Conicals for primary (any more) as I open ferment as per normal wine making process. I do, however, use the conicals for malolactic fermentation. I fill right up to the brim and close it up under air lock. Works great. You could easily walk away for a month, as you suggest.

PM if you want to chat on the phone...
 
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Maybe later this evening thanks. It sounds as you found that twice daily punching, and then cleaning through a 6" hole is more of a hassle than the convenience of not racking after AF. But a good choice for a juice bucket/ kit (at least for now) man like myself. Doing my patriotic duty and circulating that stimulus money. I've a Finer Wines Super Tuscan w/ 2 grape packs on order. I was thinking of a 4 week EM, but if you say 12, then why not? Weigh down the muslin bag so as to not have to open the cap? Even if it's not fully topped off, there's still less surface area exposed in the headspace than in a bucket
 

crushday

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Honestly, you don’t need to weigh down the muslin bag. Let it float. All of the O2 is driven out by the CO2 during fermentation. Again, many times I left the EM for 12 weeks with no problem.

However, that leads me to my experiential question related to extended maceration. I made kits every which way and I can’t say the kits in which I utilized EM where/are better than not. Of course, your tastes might be different than mine. And, many winemakers on this site whom I highly respect might respectfully disagree but I found no palatable advantage for EM.
 
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As one who is farther down the learning curve than most on this site, I'm thankful for all opinions even though they often differ.. Learning as much from the differings as from the consensus. It just seems logical to me to submerge the skin pack. Half the product floating at the surface, vs. 100% in full contact to allow maximum leaching of tannins, color and flavor. Perhaps I'll pull 3 gallons off and only do the EM on half the batch. Other than delaying a dose of kmeta, where's the downside? Introduce half the Cab skin packs to a pail of fresco Carmeniere I've ordered. Three weeks or so for the Chilean to arrive here on the east coast
 

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