The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Tag archive: home winemaking

Pressing 2011 Syrah

Our syrah finished fermenting in about 7 days.  Average fermentation temperatures were 80 to 82 degrees, though the bucket with Pasteur Red got up to 88 degrees on day 2 of fermentation.  It was progressing smoothly so we did not add Fermaid K this time.  Now it’s time to press out our wine! We decided […]

Pitching Yeast on 2011 Syrah

We did a 3-day cold soak on our 2011 syrah, mostly out of convenience.  I get a little nervous doing more than 2 days, and I don’t think I’ll soak this long again before pitching the yeast.  Besides the cost of putting 10 pounds of dry ice into the buckets every morning, the must does […]

2011 Syrah Harvest at Live Oak Vineyard

Time for another syrah harvest at Live Oak Vineyard in Fallbrook!  I was the first to arrive, just as the sun broke over the mountains to the East.  The weather this year was perfect so far.  I did smell a nearby wildfire as I drove up to the vineyard, but nothing threatening to interfere with […]

Preharvest Live Oak Vineyard Visit

Today I took a group of people in my Hands-on Winemaking class at Curds and Wine up to Fallbrook for a preharvest Vineyard Visit. We picked a perfect day (read as sarcasm), as a heat wave recently hit and it was sweltering. But, it’s always a lovely, if not hot, day at the vineyard. Mike […]

‘La Jolla Cave’ Rhone Blend 3 1/2 Year Tasting Note

I pulled out another bottle of my ‘La Jolla Caves’ Winexpert Crushendo “Montagnac Vieux Chateau d’Oc” red rhone blend to see if it is doing anything useful in the cellar. So far, this is one wine kit that has disappointed me all along, and I just don’t think this wine is going to come around. […]

Dumping Yucky Cabernet

I don’t like to give up easily on a wine, but the nasty Cabernet Sauvignon from Paul was beyond any help. When I first tried it, I thought maybe some racking and Kmeta would help it. Today I went to splash rack it, and it was just gross. There is no help for this wine. […]

Winemaker Magazine Conference 2011

We recently attended the Winemaker Magazine conference in Santa Barbara, California.  It was a two-day conference loaded with seminars covering all aspects of winemaking — wine chemistry, wine kits, growing grapes, fermentation.  We learned a lot of great information to add to our arsenal of winemaking techniques and met several home winemakers from around North […]

Getting Ready for Syrah Harvest

I got an email today from Mike Hoffman that the syrah started veraison and harvest should be around the first week of September.  Hopefully there won’t be a last-minute heat wave like last year, which raisined a lot of the grapes before we could pick them for wine. I’ll need to start thinking about what […]

Cleaning Airlocks

We are planning to bottle the syrah soon, and I will also probably bottle the primitivo as well. The merlot and petite sirah in the barrels have not picked up enough oak for our tastes, so we’re going to leave them for another year. I realized I haven’t cleaned out the airlocks on my carboys […]

Best of Class Award and Silver Medal at SD County Fair!

I entered two wines into the San Diego County Fair Homemade wine competition: ‘Bahia Belle’ Bordeaux Blend, a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot made from fresh grapes, and ‘Sail Bay Sundown’ RJ Spagnols Argentinian Trio Limited Release white blend.  One of my fellow winemakers also entered the same cabernet sauvignon and merlot as […]