Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vintage 2018 Begins (Semillon Harvest)

There was prediction of some rain on the Wednesday, not much, up to 15mm.
I thought that may be just enough to cause some problems with the Semillon, now unprotected due to the 14 day post spray withholding period (WHP) before harvest, as anything >10mm over 24hours is a trigger for mildews.
So did a more intensive ripeness test on the Monday afternoon which showed 12.5° Baume, which was good enough. Most of the bunches were in great condition.
Ok, decision made...good to go on Thursday with equipment clean up and other preparation during the two lead up days,
However on Monday night the heavens opened up and by Tuesday morning we had received over 60mm. The rain continued all morning.
And its was only our small area in the whole state copping it.

There is of course a conflict of interest here. We have been experiencing a substantial period of green drought; somewhat good for grape growing, not so good for the pasture and cattle. Our creek has not run for months and some of our smaller dams are dry. The main dam is at a very low level.
The 70mm from the Tuesday 'wet' should have helped a little in this situation. But the next day was 37°C (98°F) with hot westerly winds so any soil moisture evaporated. And the smaller dams remained dry.
Small pot dam is dry as a bone

But back to harvest.
In the lead up we cleaned the tanks, tested and repaired one of the floating lids. There was an air leak in the pump tubing.
And all the lab equipment was cleaned and organized and the chemicals sorted out.
We harvested around 170kg (375lb) of Semillon on the Thursday. Most was in prime condition with only a small incidence of botrytis and some powdery mildew.
Baume was 12.0°
pH was 3.3
We crushed and destemmed the fruit and then drained the resultant juice through the press. As we had an abundance of fruit this year we decided to go with free run juice only and no pressings.

Sulphur dioxide and ascorbic acid were added at the crusher.
DAP, PVPP and finally the yeast culture were added to the juice after it had been transferred to the tank.
We had to wait a little longer than normal for fermentation to begin, almost 3 days (too much initial sulphur?), which caused a little worry but all is good now. Fermentation is in full swing.
The Tempranillo harvest will follow in a week or two.

1 comment:

KrisR said...

Not every wine making laboratory has such gorgeous eye candy as a backdrop. Who's the lucky boy??? xoxo