Bottling the 2013

For the final part of the 2013 winemaking season, I was ready to bottle.  I decided to do a simple splash of an additional 15 ppm of SO2 to negate the oxidative effects of bottling.  This would bring the free SO2 to 40 ppm before bottling, so it would hopefully bring it back to 30 ppm in the bottle.  I had bought 2 100 packs of corks, so my plan was to open one and use them all up.  This meant that I would be able to do the 50/50 blend and then leave the remaining single varietals to be bottled later.  So, I blended 20 gallons and was off to the races.  The Enolmatic worked like a charm and it never failed me.  After about an hour and a half, I was done.  I ended up with 96 full bottles and 3 magnums, so I had 1 left over cork.  I’m just waiting till I have more to bottle so I can bottle the rest and use up the full set of 100 corks.  It is never a good idea to leave a half open bag of natural corks, so I guess I’ll just have to make more wine.

MLF Chromotography

A few weeks ago, the Merlot showed that it had undergone MLF successfully.  I knew that the Cabernet Franc would take a little longer since it utilizes the BM45 yeast, which creates some problems for the ML bacteria.  So, I waited a couple weeks and then tested for the presence of Malic acid using chromatography.  The process entails using chromotography paper, a tall jar with a lid, and chromatography solvent.  The first step is to make a line 1” from the bottom of the paper (lengthwise) in pencil.  The next step is to make a mark on the line at least 1” apart and 3/8” wide.  I make marks to make sure that I don’t make the blot too big.  I made 3 marks for the controls (Tartaric, Malic, and Lactic) and then 3 more marks for the actual samples.  I then took my capillary tubes and used one for each.  I then let it dry for 45 minutes, and then staple it to make it a tube.  I then place it in the jar with the chromatography solvent .  The solvent is ½” from the bottom.  I then wait about 8 hours.  After 8 hours, I remove it from the jar and hang it in the garage.  The stuff sinks, so I don’t like to leave it in the house.   After 12 hours, I bring it inside and just hang it in a warm area.  After another 5 hours, it looked like this:
 The MLF chromotography
As you can see, the malic acid is completely gone from all of the samples.  So, it was time to rack and add sulfite.  This is where winemaking becomes janitorial.  I spent the next two hours racking and cleaning.