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crushday

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I just placed my order at WineGrapesDirect for the last grapes of the year (pick up October 31st):

1. 4 2019 pails of Rattlesnake Hills Petit Verdot (Brix: 25, pH:3.15, TA: .81)
2. 4 2018 pails of Lodi Zinfandel (Brix: 23.6, pH:3.75, TA: .75)
3. 4 2018 pails of Lodi Carnignan (Brix: 22.4, pH:3.76, TA: .57)
4. 7 2019 pails of Dundee Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley (Brix: 23.5, pH: 3.7, TA: 5.75)
5. 7 2020 pails of Knights Valley Petite Sirah from Sonoma (Brix: 28.3, pH: 3.27, TA: 8.49)
6. 7 2020 pails of Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma (Brix: 27.9, pH: 3.64, TA: 6.11)

My first goal is to keep free run and press run separate. And, given the time of year (high was 52 today) I'm planning on a slower ferment. I'm hoping to keep my ferments in the low 80's and I can heat my garage.

I'm also planning the following blends, in addition to 100% varietal in 23L and 50L barrels:

75% Petite Sirah, 18% Zinfandel, 7% Petit Verdot
40% Zinfandel, 40% Carnignan, 20% Petite Sirah

I'm planning on using Avante yeast for all except the Pinot Noir. Undecided on the PN and open to suggestions. I would like it fruit forward and lightly oaked.
 
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NorCal

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Wow, I’m looking at the calendar to do the post mlf racking and you are still going strong with new ferments! Looks like some good grapes from some good areas, hopefully the quality is good.
 

CDrew

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Glad you brought this up, as I am thinking of ordering some Sauvignon Blanc from wine grapes direct, since that never worked out this year given my schedule and the early ripening.
 

Ajmassa

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Uhhhhh. Well this sounds pretty awesome! @crushday your quantity (and quality) is hella impressive. Seems like you are cranking out another batch of high quality ferments every few weeks!— with endless bulk wines on the shelf at just about every stage of the process I’d assume.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed tending to and staying on top of everything? Seems like could be a full time job often. Or to put it another way- with so much output do some of your wines end up just becoming a number? Without sounding too corny- there’s a certain level of sentimental value I end up with on my wines.

I’m only making a couple of wines per season but I get to devote all my energy into them. From the lead-up into the season and deciding on what varietals/volume/how much $/where to source/ what techniques to utilize—- to over the course of the next few months when they are put to bed and deciding on aging/oak etc. late tweaks/blending decisions/cold crashing/deciding when to bottle/naming it/making labels etc etc. I can become quite attached to my babies with all the time & TLC invested. But then I get to do it all over again the next season (for me it’s bi-annual, I do spring & fall). And even still it can be difficult to dedicate the proper attention.
And it’s not as if you’re sacrificing quality for quantity either— ALL your wines seem to be on the higher end of the home winemaking quality spectrum. so i guess my real question is, do you ever feel like your fast pace voids that corny personal attachment I’ve described? And if not- amidst all the wine being cared for, and working full time and *keeping the woman happy*—then what’s your damn secret?! If I went that hard I’m certain I’d be headin to the big D (and I don’t mean Dallas!)

Good luck on these wines. Some damn good ones in there.
 

Ajmassa

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And btw @crushday - I will join in on your topic. I’m picking up the last grapes of the season over here as well. My Wash St Red Mt. cab. Harvested last weekend and ready for pickup. Goin over in a few hours. Utilizing C/D services for the 1st time too. new supplier (for me) and they are attached to a winery.
This also means I’ll be able to obtain a full panel lab test. If not already provided I’ll leave a sample and get that elusive YAN # finally!
 

E-man

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Wow, very impressive on the grapes and quantity for this late in the season after, I'm assuming, the prior batches from fresh grapes. Just curious if your TA numbers are correct for batches #4, 5 and 6 as those seem way high. Am I missing something with those readings?
 

crushday

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Do you ever feel like your fast pace voids that corny personal attachment I’ve described? And if not- amidst all the wine being cared for, and working full time and *keeping the woman happy*—then what’s your damn secret?! If I went that hard I’m certain I’d be headin to the big D (and I don’t mean Dallas!)
AJ, you make smile...and I appreciate your self described personal attachment; and I share your SDPA in the way any artist is attached emotionally to their work.

In all candor, I started making wine in 2015 with a goal of making wine as good or better than the wine I can buy. Although I'm no where close to that goal (yet), there's only one way I can think of to narrow the gap - gain experience with frequency.

People, like you, have been incredibly instrumental in this journey. Mrs. Crushday never bats an eye and helps when I need her to punch down if I'm traveling or when we bottle. She's pretty good at operating the Italian corker...

More to follow.
 
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crushday

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Wow, very impressive on the grapes and quantity for this late in the season after, I'm assuming, the prior batches from fresh grapes. Just curious if your TA numbers are correct for batches #4, 5 and 6 as those seem way high. Am I missing something with those readings?
I'm not sure and I didn't even notice that. I simply pulled the numbers from the WGD website. I'll check with Mikey and Andrew.

BTW - you look to be from the PNW - it's a large geographic area - can you narrow it down? Maybe we're neighbors...
 

crushday

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I texted Mikey Crews from WGD and this is what he says:

”TA can be expressed as grams per liter or as %. The top 3 are expressed as g/l and the bottom 3 are expressed as %. I’ll update the website so that we express them all as grams per liter as that seems to be what most people are doing now and is confusing for us to use two different formats for TA.. The numbers are all from crush pad samples so typically pH will go up a little bit from soaking up potassium from skins but TA should be about right. The Knights Valley does have a surprising amount of acidity for how high the sugar is.”
 

CDrew

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So I finally got a chance to look at the numbers. The Petite Sirah sounds like a monster. Are you going to water back a bit? Maybe to 25 or so? The numbers almost don't look right as the acid is still very high despite the ripeness indicated by the brix.

And also by the numbers, (7 pails is 35 gallons, x 3) + (4 pails is 20 gallons x 3) = 6 large volume ferments at the same time? You are going to be extremely busy. Sounds fun, enjoy.

And regarding the Pinot Noir yeast-there is a Renaissance yeast specifically for Pinot Noir- Brio. You could try that and get the same advantages you get with Avante.
 

crushday

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Watering back the Petite Sirah and the Cab from Knights is on the consideration tree. Mikey, from WGD says this: "The Knights Valley does have a surprising amount of acidity for how high the sugar is.”

I'll take my own measurements after thaw and before I pitch yeast to see what's what.

Can you commend a site with a calculator. The one I found seems inaccurate or I don't know how to use it.

You can see form the attached screenshot, I cannot imagine adding 975 gallons to get the gravity to a reasonable level.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 8.51.36 AM.png
 

stickman

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That calculator will work, just change the target brix to 25 or 24.5 etc. rather than a specific gravity. FermCalc gives the same result as above in their Chaptalization and Dilution Calculator, if you enter 25 brix for the target both calculators indicate 4.7 gal of water required.
 
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CDrew

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I've only watered back once, so consider my inexperience, but I found it pretty easy. Fermcalc will easily run the numbers for you. I converted gallons needed to liters and then the tartaric addition is easy. You'll want 6-7 g/L of tartaric acid. So once you know the liters, multiply by 6 and make up your addition. I did that and then added 1/2 to the must just to remeasure and make sure it eyeballed ok. Once re-assured, I added the rest. Yours just needs to bump down a bit-to say 25 and then you're good to go.
 

stickman

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I have a reverse osmosis system, so that's typically what I use for watering back; distilled would be fine also.
 

CDrew

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I used "spring water" from the store. I read in MoreWine's guide that the minerals present have a role to play and that's why I went that direction. Plus I thought it would not have chlorine in it. I'll bet it doesn't really matter.
 

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