The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Monthly archive: 10 2008

Cabernet Progression

I went over to the office to check on the wine.  Sugars are dropping steadily, down to 8.5 degrees brix.  We added more yeast nutrient to all of them.

Checking on the Cab

Things are definitely busy.  I am taking care of the “office wine” on the weekends since the guys are taking care of it through the week.  After punching the cans down, I checked the temp and brix.  Temperatures are rising, definite active fermentations at 77-78 degrees now, with sugar levels averaging about 17 degrees brix.  […]

Merlot MLF Continues ….

I decided to thief out a little taste of each merlot before giving them a stir and testing for malic acid levels this time.  They are both quite acidic and kinda harsh, but seem to be taking on some oakiness from the cubes I tossed in.  Both lots were at max malic acid levels, >500 […]

Fire up the Cab!

Paul got us some great yeast for our cab:  D254 and FX10.  We were splitting a half ton evenly, and we ended up with 6 32-gallon trash cans full of must.  We decided that Dave & I would inoculate 2 cans with D254 and one with FX10, and then Paul would inoculate 2 cans with […]

Cabernet Sauvignon!

We just got some cabernet sauvignon grapes, also from Lambert Creek vineyard in Sonoma from Chris Van Alyea.  I convinced one of my partners-in-crime that he needed cab to blend with the merlot when it was done.  I’m sure he won’t be sorry!  We picked up the grapes and helped out a little more this […]

Checking the MLF Initiation on Merlot

I gave the merlots a stir to mix up the oak and give the malolactic bacteria a little oxygenation to make them happy, then took a sample to check on the strip tests for initiation of malolactic fermentation.   It’s kind of a given that there is already malic acid in the wine, so the first […]

Malolactic Fermentation on Merlot

Something interesting happened, the 6 gallon carboy of lot B merlot blew its top overnight.  I thought it was done fermenting …. oh well.  I’m sure it’ll be fine.  A lot of solids also fell out overnight, so I racked them both into clean carboys.  Each carboy got a dose of White Labs malolactic bacteria […]

Finally Time to Press Home Merlot Batches

Lot B merlot FINALLY reached zero degrees brix.  What a relief!  Lot B, with the Pasteur red yeast, took a whole week longer than lot A, with the RC212 yeast.  It should be interesting to see how different they taste. I borrowed a gallon basket press from another home winemaker I met the day we […]

Riesling 7 Month Tasting

After a long day of pressing, I wanted to bust into some “ready-to-go” wine.  Riesling looked like a great option after a long, warm day.  It has a very faint nose of peach blossoms. Distinctly sweet with nice acidity and flavors of ripe white peaches and hints of pineapple and apricots. Flavors balancing perfectly on […]

The Big Press

Paul borrowed a bladder press from a buddy of his, luckily for us.  We set up outside of the office and hooked up a hose to the press.  Everything got sprayed down with sanitizer, then we started scooping the must out of the trash cans and dumping it into the press. There was actually a […]