Viognier...here we go again? What should I do different? Another shot at it in 2020?

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Boatboy24

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The Viognier grapes came in this past Friday but I had to go out of town so the winery offered to crush and press them and put them in their reefer truck and sell me the juice. I'll be picking up the two buckets tomorrow for @Boatboy24 and I.
Let me know what time works to swing by, Fred.
 

NorCal

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My timing is really bad, or perfect depending on how you look at it. Our ton of Chenin Blanc is being harvested Friday night for a Saturday morning pick up. I’ll be out of town, so @4score has graciously agreed to destem and press the grapes without me. I’ll pick up the juice Sunday morning. I’m sure there will be some offsetting labor favors coming this season.
 

mainshipfred

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My timing is really bad, or perfect depending on how you look at it. Our ton of Chenin Blanc is being harvested Friday night for a Saturday morning pick up. I’ll be out of town, so @4score has graciously agreed to destem and press the grapes without me. I’ll pick up the juice Sunday morning. I’m sure there will be some offsetting labor favors coming this season.
Just picked up our Viognier, acid a little lower than I would have like at 4.09 pH but the brix is fine at 22.9. I think I'll take the pH down to 3.65 or so. It's a little more than I like to adjust but I also like a more acid white.
 

NorCal

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Just picked up our Viognier, acid a little lower than I would have like at 4.09 pH but the brix is fine at 22.9. I think I'll take the pH down to 3.65 or so. It's a little more than I like to adjust but I also like a more acid white.
We have a problem retaining acid in the grapes, but I have to say I’ve never seen grapes reach a pH of 4.0 below 23 brix.
 

mainshipfred

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We have a problem retaining acid in the grapes, but I have to say I’ve never seen grapes reach a pH of 4.0 below 23 brix.
I have to say I was a little disappointed.
 

ceeaton

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@NorCal, I noticed with a kit Viognier that is now 4 years+ old that the apparent acidity, which my TA showed was not high at all (my notes say a TA of 4.3 g/L, though that was early in my winemaking career) really died down from even my two year old wine. The TA didn't fall back, but I think the fruitiness of the varietal, which I perceived as acidity, has muted a bit, which it should with a 4 year old white wine. It died back enough that my wife and SIL like it very much now, where before they took a sip and said "not my kind of wine". Just throwing in my two cents worth in that you may get more of what you are looking for with a wine aged a little bit more. I like most of my whites at 1-2 years old, so this grape seems to be a bit of an aberration to me.
 

NorCal

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@NorCal, I noticed with a kit Viognier that is now 4 years+ old that the apparent acidity, which my TA showed was not high at all (my notes say a TA of 4.3 g/L, though that was early in my winemaking career) really died down from even my two year old wine. The TA didn't fall back, but I think the fruitiness of the varietal, which I perceived as acidity, has muted a bit, which it should with a 4 year old white wine. It died back enough that my wife and SIL like it very much now, where before they took a sip and said "not my kind of wine". Just throwing in my two cents worth in that you may get more of what you are looking for with a wine aged a little bit more. I like most of my whites at 1-2 years old, so this grape seems to be a bit of an aberration to me.
I try to consume my whites before the next year’s are ready to bottle; 15-20 gallons per year.
 

NorCal

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My timing is really bad, or perfect depending on how you look at it. Our ton of Chenin Blanc is being harvested Friday night for a Saturday morning pick up. I’ll be out of town, so @4score has graciously agreed to destem and press the grapes without me. I’ll pick up the juice Sunday morning. I’m sure there will be some offsetting labor favors coming this season.
Harvest got pushed back, due to the brix not being there, looks like I’m back in the work crew.
 

mainshipfred

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Had the Viognier in the cooler fermenting for almost 2 weeks. Took it out two days ago to let it finish a little warmer as recommended. Never adjusted the brix and took the pH down to 3.58. Today I combined the BA11 and 58W3 as both were down to .990. I have a new 25 liter barrel that I plan on using only for whites once I neutralize it a bit. I may try it on the Viognier but will have to top it up with either a store bought Viognier or I have some Chenin Blanc.
 

NorCal

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The 1 ton Chenin Blanc harvest is this coming Saturday, no matter what. We ( @4score ) put our foot down and said, regardless of brix, we want it picked on Friday night for a Saturday morning pickup. This is from a huge vineyard and we decided to have them supply cardboard macrobins @$35 each vs having to drop ours off 45 minutes or so away. It will also help not getting lost in the shuffle.
 

mainshipfred

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The 1 ton Chenin Blanc harvest is this coming Saturday, no matter what. We ( @4score ) put our foot down and said, regardless of brix, we want it picked on Friday night for a Saturday morning pickup. This is from a huge vineyard and we decided to have them supply cardboard macrobins @$35 each vs having to drop ours off 45 minutes or so away. It will also help not getting lost in the shuffle.
Last year the Virginia harvest was so bad wineries were allowed in import a greater amount of fruit. Much of it came from California. It was all sent in cardboard bins but they were 1/2 ton bin. Helping out at wineries I can't tell you how many of these I cut up and put on the pallets.
 

NorCal

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Last year the Virginia harvest was so bad wineries were allowed in import a greater amount of fruit. Much of it came from California. It was all sent in cardboard bins but they were 1/2 ton bin. Helping out at wineries I can't tell you how many of these I cut up and put on the pallets.
Yea, that’s what these are; 1/2 ton bins. Quite convenient.
 

NorCal

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Early morning and we found our vineyard.
B2AB46AE-C01A-4BF9-AA0B-6581106181F9.jpeg

They were machine picked by this monster and I have to say that the pick was really clean.

C0E97700-3A26-49D7-8BE1-5B856A0CDA44.jpeg

45 minute drive, the grapes were crushed and pressed with a 55 gallon bladder press.
4E721082-11B3-4F6E-89CB-73BA19BEEBDF.jpeg D977852B-1604-435C-BCEA-C231589E900B.jpeg
Overall, I’d give the grapes a B- or C+. The machine does not discriminate between good and bad clusters. After the crush you can see how many off colored solids were in the crush and how that settled just a few hours later.
F157D088-09B6-4E6C-BC5B-994451CBC5D3.jpeg
B0DD65A8-A591-4928-B2C0-484F1EE0BD76.jpeg

Total gross out of the 1600 pounds was 107 gallons. I’ll rack and inoculate tomorrow.
 
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stickman

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@NorCal the settling juice looks good. Did you end up using any sulfite at crush or are you going with the "brown juice club"? I'm also curious about the acid and pH, Chenin Blanc is reportedly one of the grape varieties that's able to retain better acidity in warm conditions.
 

mainshipfred

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Timely question, in 2017 I made a Sauv Blanc from grapes and don't remember the color of the must. This year I made a Viognier and Petit Manseng from grapes and the must was as @NorCal's is pictured. The brown went away after fermentation and they are clearing nicely without any added sulfites. But my real question is with a rose I'm trying to make. It's going to be a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Nebbiola. The juice at crush for both of them was also brown and I had a rough time knowing how much of each to use and what the finish color would be. The must is pinkish so it will be a learning curve.
 

NorCal

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The brix is 21.5, pH 3.4, which I think is unusual for this variety of grape, but it has been an unusual growing season. I am not going to do any adjustment.

My protocol on whites is to destem, crush, press, SO2 50 ppm and let the juice settle over night. I then rack off the good juice and ferment only that. I’ll take the remaining brown juice, put it in a carboy and throw it in the refrigerator for a few days, which will then net me more usable juice, which gets tossed into the active ferment. Perhaps overly cautious, but I think It goes a long way at making clean wine and preventing H2S.

I’m using Rhone 4600 yeast, because it was recommended for Viognier and I bought it, so hope it works well with Chenin. I’ll be using FermK and GoFerm and since the season is so late, it will be a nice cold ferment in the garage, which will be colder than my wine box.
 

NorCal

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Timely question, in 2017 I made a Sauv Blanc from grapes and don't remember the color of the must. This year I made a Viognier and Petit Manseng from grapes and the must was as @NorCal's is pictured. The brown went away after fermentation and they are clearing nicely without any added sulfites. But my real question is with a rose I'm trying to make. It's going to be a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Nebbiola. The juice at crush for both of them was also brown and I had a rough time knowing how much of each to use and what the finish color would be. The must is pinkish so it will be a learning curve.
On my Roses, I always shoot as light as possible. You can always add a little red wine later to make it pinker, but you cannot take away color and make it less pink.
 

mainshipfred

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On my Roses, I always shoot as light as possible. You can always add a little red wine later to make it pinker, but you cannot take away color and make it less pink.
I know it varies with the varietal but typically how long to you let it stay on the skins?
 

NorCal

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I know it varies with the varietal but typically how long to you let it stay on the skins?
The only roses I’ve made were by pulling juice from a red ferment (versus picking early at lower brix, higher pH). I literally scoop the juice out ASAP as I’m crushing, not letting it stay on the skins. I’ll let the juice settle, rack, adjust brix and pH and ferment the clean juice. I won’t add back any red wine from the red ferment for color until the rose fermentation has been completed. Not sure if that is the “right” way, but it’s worked for me.
 
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