Sunday, February 09, 2014

Vintage 2014 Begins

We took the plunge and harvested the Tempranillo on 7th February.
Forecasts were for increasing warm to hot weather over the next week with little likelihood of rain and we had noticed some shrivel (raisining) beginning in bunches on vines growing on the shallower soils.
The co driver is injured so one of her friends, "Annabelle" who has some grape harvesting experience, offered to help.
We wizzed through the rows in a few hours.

Fruit quality was generally excellent despite a little more than expected shrivel. No fungus was apparent.
So the buckets went straight up to the 'winery' where the bunches were crushed and destemmed.
This was followed by the addition of DAP (a fermentation accelerator), a red wine specific yeast and a MLF culture to the 'must' (juice and skins).
Sugar level of the juice was just over 13 deg Baume which is very good. This should produce a wine with an alcohol content of around 13%.
Fermentation began within 12 hours.
This process should take around a week to complete. We will be 'punching the cap' down every 6 hours or so. The cap forms when the carbon dioxide released during fermentation forces the skins into a thick layer on top of the wine. The skins need to be kept in constant contact with the wine to extract as much colour as possible and to prevent any oxidation.
After fermentation is complete the wine will be drained off the skins which are pressed. The pressings with their concentration of tannins and colour are added back into the free run wine. The virtually dry skins (the marc), are then discarded. We return them to the vineyard rows as a source of potassium together with the stalks..
Further processes such as acid adjustment, oak addition and fining / racking will then take place.
Our Vin de Garage Winery

Grape bunches in the crusher / destemmer hopper

Juice and skins (the must) in the fermenter after crushing

Yeast rehydrating before addition to the must

Stalks ejected during the crushing and desteming process.

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