View Full Version : Winemaker's (mini) Blog

10-12-2008, 09:37 PM
I thought I would put together a kind of a blog of my winemaking of this years wines.

I am making three types of wines: Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah blend made from grapes,, Merlot made from grape juice, and apple.

Sat. Sept 21-The grapes were shipped in by refrigerated truck. The guy that brings them in brings in tons of grapes that get divided into shipment for three wine clubs including about a third of the grapes that are crushed and destemmed at his place. Dozens of us winemakers get our hundreds of 36 pound lugs of grape. We meet, run our grape selections through the crusher/destemmer (which crushes the grapes and then knocks the grapes off the stems. Grapes go out the bottom to the collector-stems go out the side.) I got my 3 Cab, 1 Merlot and 1 Syrah lugs crushed and into my containers. After the crush is done, the wines from past years are opened and the good comes out. This is the time where winemakers show their wines results from prior years.

Sun. Sept 22-My grapes are now in their primary fermentor. I want to ‘cold soak’ the grapes to pull out color and tannins from the skins before fermentation. I stick a 5 gallon pail with 16 pounds of ice in the grapes to keep them cool and not fermenting. Change ice daily until Tuesday. Stir twice a day to keep grapes in juice.

Wed. Sept 24-Add yeast and nutrient. Grapes are now fermenting.

Thursday through Wed. Fermentation going on. Fermentation should be 80-85 deg, but got it warm, 90 deg or maybe higher. Punched grape skin cap down into wine twice per day. Keeping the grape skins in the wine keeps the fermentation working on the skins for color and tannin.

Thursday-Sunday. Let the cap sit on the wine giving the wine protection from oxygen.

10-12-2008, 09:41 PM
Saturday, Oct 4-pick up 6 gallon pail of Merlot juice. This is juice from Merlot grapes, some color but light on body.

Sunday, Oct 5. Press the grapes, light press. Wine goes into the secondary fermentor. Merlot juice and grape skins go into a primary fermentor. Repeat twice a day punch down.

Saturday, Oct 11-Annual apple juice trip. Orchard high on bluff overlooking Mississippi river, usually a good eagle watching, but may have been too windy. Pot luck lunch with 46 other winemakers with lots of food and lots of wine. Asian lady beetles bits all over my back. Ow, mean little bugs. Got 6 gallons of apple juice blended for our group. Pitched the yeast that evening.

Sunday, October 12-Press the grape skins and washed all the equipment. Took lots of aspirin. Have 6 gallons merlot in a glass carboy and 12 gallons Cab/Merlot/Syrah in stainless steel. Apple is starting slower than I hoped. Maybe old yeast, maybe too much sulfite. Added more yeast. Will check fermentation on Monday. If I still don't have good fermentation-stir well to reduce sulfite and add oxygen

10-17-2008, 09:11 AM
Thur, Oct 16-Apple is fermenting well. Added 1-1/2 cups concentraded Riesling juice to the apple. After fermentation is done and wine is stable, will add more of the juice to taste to get an apple with a riesling background taste and just slightly more sweet which will bring out the flavors even more.

Tasted the Merlot that had the extra skins added during fermentation-color is good, but no body or flavors. Hoping for improvement as it has some time to age. Will add some oak to provide some complexity.

Tasted the Cab blend. This has nice body, color, tannins seem to be okay, flavors show good potential. At this point, I think I will leave out the oak, or it will have to be a light toasted oak.

Will do my first racking of the grape wines in a week or maybe two.

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