View Full Version : Vintner Don's 2009 wine

10-09-2009, 09:50 AM
Not that it makes a lot of difference to most people, I am posting my wine production for this year.

This year, I am making two wines:
Zinfandel (66%) with a Petite syrah and Carignane blend (17% each).
Cabernet Sauv. With a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc (same blend percentage). I will blend in some Malbec and Petite Verdot sometime before bottling which will change my final percentages. I had a wine like that when I was in Napa, and it was wonderful. My blend percentages will not be the same, but I hope it will be a big wine.

Grapes were crushed Sept 26, fermentation started Sept 30. The plan is to do the grape pressing on Sunday. This is the first time that I will have to press inside the garage as they are predicting snow on Saturday and very cold on Sunday. That will be a lot more work, but it needs to be done this weekend.

I am a little worried about the Cab wine. Due to the amount of wine being made, it didnít ferment in one container. The two containers had a slight different blend of grapes and yeast. One of the batches in one container smelled a little off. It may blow away during the pressing and dumping into the secondary containers.

Hope to be on top of bottling this year and get things done in March or April and not June. Makes a big difference in the wine. Should get about 6 cases of the Zinfandel and about the same or little more of the Cab. So, 12-13 cases total at a cost of about $3.00 per bottle. But the fun is priceless. :biggrin:

10-09-2009, 10:15 AM
Sounds like a great hobby and you get to drink the results.
Allso sounds like a bit of work, so I commend you on that.

10-11-2009, 04:22 PM
Grapes have been pressed and I have about 13 gallons of each blend. Both seem to be okay, off smell gone from the cab. Zin looks great, rich color and smells good in this very young stage.

Will rack off sediment in 2 weeks and do first tasting.

02-27-2010, 01:39 PM
Is it ready to drink yet?

02-27-2010, 02:24 PM
The zin is looking wonderful. I have broken it down to 2) 5 gallon batches and a smaller batch and have a small amount of oak in one of the 5 gallon containers. I will blend the batches before bottling. I want a hint of Hungarian oak, not to over power, but add complexity.

The cab will be a multi blend. I purchased some Petit Verdot for blending it, along with malbec, merlot, cab franc. Making this blend work will be tough, a lot of tasting to do. :wino:
Luckily, DW is a good taster. She is so much better than I am at picking out the components, flavors and aromas than I am. I count on her for approving the blends.

I have a lot of bottles to wash, and hope to bottle before May, ideally in March, but that may be pushing it because of my time schedule.

I really believe 2009 maybe my best wine year.

02-27-2010, 04:22 PM
So ... you keep it all for yourself? Phoo.

02-27-2010, 11:44 PM
Sounds like a party at Vintner's place!:banana:

05-02-2010, 01:02 PM
Now that I have my bottles washed, I am ready to start my blending and final adjustments. I am nearly ready to bottle.

But...I found out something from my doctor that makes it look like this will be my final batch of wine.

I have been taking cholesterol meds for about a decade. If you listen to the TV commercials, they are always talking about some patients may have liver damage and blood tests are required. I guess I am one of those. I have some liver damage, and because I need to take the meds, the doctors has said I should stop drinking or limit my alcohol to no more than 1 drink a day and should limit it to about 4-5 a week. He is concerned that the alcohol and meds together may do additional damage to my liver.

So after 25 years of making wine, teaching winemaking, doing woodworking projects making items for wine glasses or the winemaking process or wine storage, and doing wine tastings and wine dinners, the doctor tells me to stop some tastings reduce daily drinking to just that one glass.

I guess the good thing is that even if I buy no additional wine, at the 1 glass per day, I have a good supply for many years to come. The bad thing is I have canceled plans to go to Napa next spring, no more wine dinners, no more wine events.

There are always choices to make. Mine right now is to keep my liver going and to look for alternate medications that won't affect my liver as badly and may allow me to enjoy a second glass of wine.

But at this point, I am about as sad as I can be. :sad:

05-02-2010, 02:06 PM
I am sorry to hear your news, but it is time to make some lemonade with those lemons you were just handed.

You can certainly still use your knowledge and expertise to continue teaching.

Personally, I enjoy Napa even when I don't have a drink of anything. You could still attend events and visit with friends.

Yes, things will be changing, but you have your priorities right. Your health comes first.

05-02-2010, 05:55 PM
Wow, this is a BIG change for you - I know how much you love this hobby/passion of yours.

I would assume that after 3-4 months of living your new lifestyle that you will have your liver function test repeated - and you will hopefully see an improvement.
Based on that, you could (discuss with your MD) adjust your drinking accordingly.

I applaud you for putting your health first - not always an easy thing to do.

05-02-2010, 11:09 PM
So after 25 years of making wine, teaching winemaking, doing woodworking projects making items for wine glasses or the winemaking process or wine storage, and doing wine tastings and wine dinners, the doctor tells me to stop some tastings reduce daily drinking to just that one glass.


I feel for you also.

Drinking one's choice can be a great enjoyment. You seem to get much enjoyment and contribute so much that actually drinking may not be the central thing. Taste and spit would seem to enable to to do all of the above.

I do feel for you.

Best Wishes going forward.

05-04-2010, 02:13 PM
Don sorry to hear this. I am sure if you can keep your Cholesterol at a good level you can have a party now and then.

08-22-2010, 08:47 PM
I have finally finished bottling my 2009 wines.

I bottled this in July and I ended up with 54 bottles of a wine I call "Almost Everything". It was a blend of mostly cabernet/merlot (2-1 if I remember right or 3-1 if I am not remembering it right. Taking notes would be a good idea.) I finished that blend by adding a few bottles of Petit Verdot and Malbec. It is almost everything because I wanted to add Cab Franc in the blend for the big 5 varietals. I have used Hungarian oak as well as some toasted French oak. This wine is getting good reviews. Kim (DW) brought some to a teacher function and some of those who know wines were really impressed. It is not as big as I wanted, but the flavors are there and it is good.

Second wine was a still nameless non vintage blend of '08 cab with some of the '09 cab/merlot blend added in along with some of the malbec. Considering this was a wine that sat around until I did something with it, I was very impressed that it had good flavors and was not oxidized. I can serve this to most people and they would be very happy with it as I will be with many of my meals. I bottled this yesterday and got 35 bottles.

The last batch to be bottled was a "Foggy Morning Zinfandel" batch A and batch B. Today, I bottled 50 bottles (and had to wash 4 cases of bottles before I could even start). It is all Zin. I have some Hungarian oak, but minimal oak, just to add a little extra characteristics to the wine, not to overpower. As I have tasted this over the months, it has been wonderful to just okay to being a good wine. I don't think I will know what I have until it has been in the bottle for about a month. Because these came from 2 carboys, there are slight differences in the wine flavors and that is why the batch A and batch B

No winemaking for 2010. :sad: With the amount of wine from 2009 now in the bottle, and with the wines that were purchased over the past year or so, I have hundreds of bottles in the rack, and with the restrictions from the doctor, I just need to take time off. I don't need the wine, but will miss the winemaking.

08-23-2010, 12:52 AM
You have no idea how much wine my neighbor makes.
My Cousin last year made over 100 gallons.

08-23-2010, 08:48 AM
The regulations allow 200 gallons per married couple or 100 gallons for a single person. If I was making 2 batches of 100 gallons each, and had equipement large enough to handle it, that is a big task. However, making smaller batches usually involved the 5 gallon glass water jugs (carboys). If I was to try to work with 200 gallons all in 5 gallon carboys, I would be spending all my time working with those smaller batches; racking, adjusting the acid or tannin, balancing the characteristics of the wine, cleaning the carboys, etc. The work would never be done.

Now if the 5 gallon were replaced with 50 gallon stainless steel, the work is reduced a lot. The problem is the cost. Those tanks are not cheap, and you would probably need 1 spare to rack out of one tank and into the spare tank. I have a 12.5 gallon stainless tank which does help.

I make about the right amount for my needs and ability to handle. If I had a larger family, well, then I guess could find ways to expand my working area.

08-23-2010, 01:28 PM
Making large amounts has it's faults as well. One of my Cousins large barrels had some air leak and the wine went bad, It was the 2nd time it happened with the same barrel.

08-23-2010, 01:46 PM
My DH and I started two grapevines two years ago. We finally got a few grapes this summer, but they dried up and fell off. Any idea what might have caused this?
Sorry to hear about your health problems and the need to limit the amount of wine you can drink. Thought a glass of red wine every day was supposed to be good for your cholesterol and heart.:wino:

08-23-2010, 02:11 PM
Heart yes, it is okay for that. But my body produces a lot of cholesterol, with that being high then high dose of meds are needed to bring it down. Those meds work in the liver. So the wine and the meds both are affecting the liver. My last bloodtest was in normal range, but got there by reducing the wine intake.

Grapes may take 3 years or more before they really start to produce. Vineyards really don't start harvesting until about the 5th year. I have a few young vines and at 3 years am getting my first grapes. It is just too cold for them. I wouldn't worry about the grapes for another year. If you loose them then, it may be fertilizer/weed killer or water or heat.

08-23-2010, 02:37 PM
Sorry to hear about your medical report. Sometimes things happen..we do not know why!!! We make the change that we need to do because we have to but then something good occurs or a good change happens. So lots of good wishes are being sent your way. Loved reading about your wine. I for one love to visit wineries....

Best of Luck
Be Strong


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