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Kraffty

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Our crush yesterday went really well, we ended up with 8 people joining in and at least one person may have been pulled into the fold. He's coming over next week to help with the press. Over the last 4 years I've done 2 lugs and buckets then 6 lugs then 12 lugs with 2 buckets and this year 23 lugs plus 88lb from my yard. I'm seeing an unsustainable pattern developing here! I have also decided one way or another I'm adding a motor to the crusher/destemmer. It's a great machine but it will tire you out after a few lugs. The other thing I'm starting to consider is enlarging the winery. I really didn't think the amount of wine and tools would grow as much as they have. I should have listened to @Johnt years ago when I built it. Oh well.......

Crush and cleanup took about 4 hours total then we sampled some previous wine and made a boatload of little "street taco" style carnitas and sides of beans. Everyone had a great time and are planning on next year too. After everyone left I adjusted the musts till about 8:00 and quit once I started feeling pretty worn out. Finished adjustments this morning. Really low on acids and high ph on all 4 types of grapes. Yeasts all hydrated and pitched this afternoon, brutes all covered and starting to ferment.

All in all I think this years wines are going to be really good. I JUST LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!!
Mike

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Kraffty

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It's awesome for stirring up the bucket and sealed plastic so it cleans up nice. I've actually got in industrial Kitchen potato mashing kind of tool about 2 feet long I use first to push the skins down. Looks like almost 100 gallons total, hopefully we get 60 gallons of wine out of it.
Mike
 

JohnT

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Mike, simply awesome.
 

Kraffty

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All going good, punching down 6am and 6pm. Day three, this mornings cap is up to 10 or 12 inches thick and I'm not guessing it's going to get much thicker. Color on the Zin Blend is really awesome. Temps around 86 and nutrients added last night. Kind of cool to get to compare 3 different yeasts actions side by side. The D-21 cab took of like gang busters both when I hydrated and in the must. The 4x4 blend lagged behind about 16 hours and seems more reserved in activity, heat and cap thickness. Hoping all goes slow enough that I can put off pressing until Sunday morning.
 

JohnT

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Looks like it is progressing nicely!
 

stickman

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Yes, it looks like the grapes have given up their color already.
 

Kraffty

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Pressing

So Sunday was pressing day, I ended up with 3 helpers and completed all in about 5 hours including setup and cleanup. My homemade press held up through another season. My buddy Anthony (the tall guy in back) showed up in a matching shirt, have to watch that in the future. My system so far is to pump out the wine under the cap then press what's left. From a little over 400lbs of each wine grape(s) - 825 total, we ended up with 27 gallons after pressing. I figure I'll lose a gallon or two when I rack tuesday so eventually 25 gallons each, not bad. The main thing is that I have no off smells, tastes are rich and vinaflora CH16 has been added, MLF on. I have a couple of whites aging and about 8 gallons of 2nd run going and with that I'm officially out of carboys. Looks like it's time to order more, oh darn.

and finally, I've read here, from the beginning, 5 gals. are just as easy as 1 gal. to make..... 6 lugs take the same amount of time as 3 lugs..... Well the truth is I now have a greater respect for those of you who take on 1, 2, 4,000 lbs of grapes at a time. The investment in planning, equipment, time and labor grow exponentially and, if it's not something you fall in love with, I don't see how you would continue to do it year after year. Gotta get busy now, only about 50 weeks till next crush.

Mike

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Kraffty

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This past Sunday I racked all my 2017 wine for the second time (all 52 gallons). About a month ago I made a small adjustment to acid to bring the PH down a bit but it's still high, 3.86 from 4.01. S02 was taken up at that time to make up for the high ph, 100ppm, so I didn't make any adjustments this time. I also had a very slight bitter/tanic aftertaste so I added 1g/gal noblesse and it seems to have smoothed all of it down.

This is the first year I think I have a sense of some of the causes of some of the things I'd like to improve in my wines. 2016 is bottled and better than my earlier attempts but I'm just grasping how really easy it is to throw in too much oak or tannin or acid and how hard it is to get rid of green or sulphur or oxidized smells and tastes. I'm thinking the little experience I've gained is starting to pay off. Maybe I can keep up with making small adjustments, stay ahead of the curve and make this my best wine yet. All in all very happy with the Colavita grapes.wineracked.jpg
 

Boatboy24

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This is the first year I think I have a sense of some of the causes of some of the things I'd like to improve in my wines.

The problem with this hobby is it takes years - sometimes decades - to really learn what you need.

I like that carboy shelf. Do those front rails fold down?
 
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