2016 Bottling

After almost a full year, it was time to bottle the 2016's.  I ended up with about 45 gallons of wine from the grapes, so I was going to end up with around 225 bottles.  I have a pretty good routine down now with getting everything ready. So, I started the day before with cleaning all of the bottles by using the bottle sanitizer and some One Step.  Now, having to do 225 bottles was a bit tricky, since I only have an 81 bottle tree and a 45 bottle tree, so I had to do it two days before and take the already clean ones and put them upside down in boxes. 

The actual bottling day, I ran One Step through all of my lines for my Enolmatic, making sure everything was clean.  I then just got to work.  With my Enolmatic and my Italian floor corker, I can do all of this myself.  I just kept cranking them out, pausing only to switch carboys when they were empty.  I always do a couple magnums as well, so those give me a little rest while I fill them :)  After everything was bottled, the fun began with cleanup.  8 carboys had to be rinsed and sanitized, the Enolmatic had to be cleaned and I needed to get rid of the empty bags that held the corks.  All in all, it was a 4 hour job.  Once I was done cleaning, I just waited till the next day to put the labels on.  I use Uprinting.com for professionally printed labels, and they are extremely reasonably priced.

I look forward to another year of winemaking as the 2016's have now been laid down.  I find that these wines from this vineyard are best after 3-4 years, so 2019-2020 before I started to crack these open.



2016 MLF Complete

The 2016 malolactic fermentation has now been completed!  I find that using my fermentation chamber and keeping the ambient temp at 70 degrees F gives the MLF bacteria a chance to get their job done by the beginning of January.  Since I had an abundance of carboys this year, I also had two outside the chamber with brew belts attached.  Those also completed at the same time.  I am always pretty happy with VP41 as it chomps through the malic acid pretty easily, even on my "acidic" wines from Rhode Island.  This was the second year I did not use BM45, instead using BM4x4.  This removed my problem with the amount of SO2 produced by that yeast.  This was the first year I used only one packet of VP41, so I saved about 30 dollars in the process.  I had always innoculated with way more than prescribed (1 packet does 66 gallons), so since I had about 45 gallons, I used 1 packet and it turned out fine.  I have added 30 ppm of SO2 and will check the free SO2 and rack in 1 month.  This tends to remove almost all of the lees and minimizes the loss of wine from racking.