2018 Bottling

As I got ready for the new grapes to arrive, I decided to bottle the 2018 Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Since I had a bit more Merlot than CF, I decided to do a 50/50 blend for the majority of it and then just bottle the remainder of the Merlot by itself. I got out my Enolmatic, sanitized it and was on my way. I’ve become pretty efficient at bottling. The night before, I sanitize all of the bottles I need with One Step and put them on the bottle tree to drain. The next day, I have the Enolmatic set up so that it takes the same amount of time to fill a bottle that it takes me to turn around, cork it, put it in the case and drop another cork in the corker. I then just grab another bottle and the previous bottle is almost full. Doing it this way allows me to do it by myself and 75 bottles only takes about 1 hour. The biggest issue (as with all winemaking) is the cleanup.  After everything is done, I rinse out all the carboys and then sanitize with One Step.  I do the same for all the hoses and the Enolmatic. I ended up with 85 bottles of wine. I waited a couple days to put the labels on. I do this so I can immediately place them in the racks once done. I have never had a problem with leaking corks (at least not more than the occasional one), so I always let them be upright for a couple days before going horizontal.

Malolactic Fermentation testing, Racking and Free So2 testing

It usually takes 1 month for the MLF to finish since I put it in my hot box that stays at 60 F in my basement. So, I waited one month and tested it with the chromatography. It was done, so time to add my initial dose of SO2. The pH on these wines tends to be at 3.3 or less, so I only add 40 ppm to start off and maintain it at 40 the whole way through. Knowing that the Free SO2 (as measured by the vinmetrica SO2 tester) falls rapidly after the first addition, I tested one month later before my first racking. It had fallen to 20 ppm on each of the carboys, so after racking, I added more So2 (10% SO2 solution) to bump it back up to 40 ppm. I find that after that first edition, I can go two months between SO2 additions. So, I waited two months, and did the test again. It had fallen to about 25 ppm. So, I boosted it back to 40 and let it sit again. Since I do the racking at the same time, it make me only have to work on it once every two months.