Vignoles - tonight only

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Stressbaby

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A neighbor of mine didn't get around to pruning his Vignoles last year. As a result, he can't mechanically harvest them, and so has offered me as much as I want. He texted this morning saying he thought they were about ready, ~21 brix, no other numbers available, and the birds were already getting their share.

Life has conspired to make this just about the worst week possible for picking grapes and starting wine. Long story made short, I have just a few hours this evening, or else I wait until next week.

Please offer any thoughts on this plan: Go out and test the grapes tonight. If the numbers are decent, then pick what I can, press, sulfite 50ppm, and chill to 35-40F. Then when I get back Sunday, warm it up and get started on the wine.

Also, two specific questions: what numbers would be acceptable given this scenario? I'm thinking 20 brix or better and pH > 3.00. I'll be getting a TA as well.

And what about doing a whole cluster press given that I don't have a crusher-destemmer available tonight?
 

Stressbaby

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OK, the deed is done.

20.6 brix, pH 2.81 in the field. I didn't measured the TA but I'll do that when I get back. Picked around 90# and pressed off 6 gallons from which I got 20.4 brix, 2.85. Added KMS, then pectic, then some calcium carbonate to pH of around 3.0. It will be cold settling until I get back.

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Stressbaby

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Did you press the grapes on the stems?
I did, more or less out of necessity. I don't have a crusher/destemmer; so I had a choice - stay up until 4am destemming by hand, or get to bed at midnight by doing a whole cluster press. Work schedule no longer supports staying up til 4am, so I went to bed at midnight.

Update:
Got back tonight and took the must out of the fridge. A fair amount of tartaric acid dropped out, there was crust all over the sides of the bucket. It is amazing how the must cleared. pH 2.99, TA still off the charts. I'm warming it up and making some more acid reduction adjustments tonight and plan to pitch the yeast in the morning.
 

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