2019 Fermentation

Once the yeast had been added, I settled into the standard process of twice daily punchdowns and daily measurements.  Once I had reached the 1/3 sugar depletion (around 1.060), I added 12 g of Fermaid K, which had been rehydrated in distilled water.  The process was fairly slow and after 12 days, it had finally reached .998.  After those 12 days, I used my press to press out all of the wine from the seeds and skins.  I ended up with 17 gallons of wine.  Of course, there was quite a bit of sediment in this.  I always leave this while I run MLF, since I find I get better compaction and can rack off later.  The final gravity was .998 and the pH was 3.32.  

I added Opti-Malo to the wine and then rehydrated my favorite ML bacteria, VP-41).  Once I had added those to the wine, I stirred it all together and let it sit.  I stir daily after this for 3 weeks, before I run a MLF chromotography test.  This test came back indicating that it was complete as shown below.  I added 50 ppm to each carboy.

2014 cf mlf

2019 Harvest


The 2019 harvest was the beginning of a new chapter for me.  After 8 harvests with the people in Rhode Island, they had made the decision to scale back their vineyard.  So, I turned to M&M Winegrape down in Hartford, CT.  They have a ton of different options and their place is right off the highway.  Even though it is about 80 miles one way, it is all highway.  They also open fairly early (7 am) so I can avoid some of the Hartford traffic.  After looking through all of their offerings (and taking into account that I would be on vacation in September), I decided to get 7 cases (36 lbs apiece) of Washington State Cabernet Franc from Rattlesnake Hills AMA.  Once I got the call, I drove down the next morning where everything was waiting for me on the dock, ready to go.  I was in and out in 15 minutes.  I was on my way home at 7:30 in the morning.  

      Once I got home, I had my destemmer/crusher all set up and put them all through the machine.  This year, I was going to have to to do it by myself as no one was available to assist.  That was OK as I've been planning for that for some time.  It certainly took a little bit more time as I had to go up and down when I finished one case.  Also, these grapes were more tightly bunched, so I had to run quite a few through multiple times.  The bucket that I have at the end of the destemmer allows me to capture those and run them through again.  After about 1.5 hours, I was all done.  Then, I had to bring the fermentation bucket down into my basement to put it into my heating chamber.  I strapped the bucket onto my hand truck and was able to move all 225 or so pounds (no more stems) into the basement.

I ended up with about 100 L of must, so I added 70 mL of 10% SO2 to get to approximately 40 ppm.  I took my initial readings of 3.25 pH and 23.7 Brix.  I was very happy with these numbers, which were much higher than the numbers from Rhode Island.  Those tended to come in at 20 Brix.  I put the must in the fermentation chamber and waited until the next morning so that it would warm up.  The next morning it had warmed up to 55 degrees (F) and I added my enzymes.  This was 2.5 g of EX-V and 20 g of Opti-Red.  12 hours later, I added 33g of FT Rouge (fermentation tannins).  I then started the rehydration process for the BM 4x4 yeast.  After a few additions to get the temperature to within 15 degrees, I poured the yeast starter into the must and let it run.