The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Tag archive: fermentation

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 […]

Syrah, Primitivo, and Merlot — Oh My!

Yep, harvest season is in full swing.  Our merlot from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma arrived Tuesday.  The plan was to do a 4-5 day cold soak, then pitch the yeast on Sunday — except it started spontaneously fermenting on Friday!  Paul ran out and got the yeasts to pitch, ICV-D21 and BM4x4.  Chris recommended […]

A Pressing Question

This is unexpected, both the syrah and the primitivo are ready to press this weekend.  It would not normally be a problem, except we are going to our friends’ wedding today in Fallbrook (an hour away, but oh so pretty there!).  That makes pressing today with the basket press not an option, leaving only one […]


I checked the brix today – can A is at 11.7 brix, and can B is at 9 brix!  I gave can A 40 grams of fermax yeast nutrient, since it has a slight sulfur smell, and 20 grams to can be.  The temps were up to 88 degrees, too.  Looks like I’ll be pressing […]

Feeding the Yeasts

There are signs of fermentation – little bubbles forming at the top, the cap already forming, and the aromas of fermentation in the air.  Both cans were at about 75 degrees F.  I added 18 grams fermaid-K and 12 grams opti-red to each can, and gave them a good stir.

Starting Fermentation on Primitivo

Time to check out the primitivo must.  Brix are at about 26-26.5;  pH is up at 4, and TA is ~9.5-10 g/L.  Not perfect;  I decided to add a half gallon of water with 14 grams of dissolved tartaric acid to each can, and also added pectinase.  When I retested, the brix were at about […]

Syrah Fermenting Fast

I take the weekend punching duty for the wines in the server room.  I tested the syrah, the brix are down to 6 in one can and 2.5 in the other already!  I’m pretty sure I added too much nutrient, so we’re not going to add any more (which is convenient for my home wine […]

Starting Syrah Fermentation and Bottling Zin

Time to get the syrah started.  I met Dave at the office, and he set up the “server room winery” with plastic sheeting while I revved up the yeast.  I heated up some water and dissolved in go-ferm, then added ICV-D254 yeast and let it wake up for about 15 minutes.  Then I added some […]

I Don’t Think MLF Is Working … At Least the Cab is Working

Week 3 of malolactic fermentation, and malic acid levels are not going down.  I’m a bit nervous about not sulfiting the wines at this point, and it is possible that MLF might not complete in these wines anyway.  I poked around the internet and decided it was not worth risking, so I added ¼ tsp […]

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.