2015 Grape Pickup

After 5 years of getting grapes from the same vineyard in Rhode Island, all the steps are well rehearsed.  Things went extremely smoothly this year and the grapes were ready to be picked up by noon. It was going to be 100% Cabernet Franc this year because the Merlot had suffered a lot of injury due to last year’s cold.   Due to other commitments, I wasn’t able to get there until 2:30 and left at 3.  This meant I was back home by 4:15. The night before I had sanitized the destemmer/crusher as well as all of the other implements.  The destemmer/crusher performed flawlessly (although these extremely tight bunches sometimes send out more berries through the stem chute than I would like).  We were all done by 6 pm.  I finished with roughly 50 gallons of must split between two Brute buckets.  I added 20 ppm of SO2 to each bucket and checked the pH (3.10, so pretty low) and Brix (20, also low).  I added Lallzyme EX to each bucket along with optiRed that night.  I then wrapped the buckets in heating blankets to get it up to temp. 
                The next morning, I added FT Rouge fermentation tannins and checked the temperature to make sure it was coming up.  After 24 hours, it was 60 degrees.  After 48 hours, it was 65 and time to chaptalize and pitch the yeast.  Since the must was only 20 Brix, I brought it up to 21.5 with the addition of regular sugar.  I simply dissolved the required amount of sugar (1400 grams per 25 gallons) in a small amount of water, dumped it in and mixed it up.  Now, on to the yeast.   I usually do BDX on the Merlot and BM45 on the Cabernet Franc, but the lack of Merlot is allowing me to experiment.  I decided to do one bucket in BDX and the other with BM4x4, the BM45 equivalent with better fermentation kinetics.  I rehydrated both separately using standard Go-Ferm protocol with some additions of must every 15 minutes until I was within 10 degrees.  I then pitched the yeast in their respective containers and it was off to the races.
2015 pickup