Wine Making -- 1999

03 October 1999

For a variety of reasons, vacation time this year fell in the first two weeks of September, so I thought I wasn't going to be able to make any wine. But the Cabernet Sauvignon matures later, so I was able to get some. Unfortunately, Hurricane Floyd was the beginning of a LOT of rain, so the quality of this year's Cabernet is low. The owner of the vineyard where I picked the Cabernet suggested making a lighter bodied red -- he thought the quality of the grapes was low enough that a heavier red would turn out too bitter and astringent.

On 2 October 1999 I picked 102 lbs of Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes had some black rot, and many berries had actually burst from too much water. The yellow jackets were pretty thick -- digging deeply into the berries. Turned out the best bunches were where the yellow jackets were thickest. So I'd shoo them away and pick fast before they came back.

This year picking was slow. I had to check each bunch for rot, and to remove any rotted, dried, or burst berries. It took at least twice as long as normal to pick -- very disheartening.

After thinking things through, I decided to make a White Cabernet, and to do a second run from the pulp. So I crushed the grapes and immediately pressed them. My result was just short of 6 gallons of juice, at 17-1/2 brix. I sulphited the juice heavily, and reserved 2 quarts of juice to use as pour back. At the same time I started a second run off the pulp. I plan to let this ferment for just 2 days before pressing, to keep it light bodied.

01 October 2006

Today I migrated this page into the format that I'm using for all my wine making records. Funny -- the one thing that struck me was how absolutely poor my wine making method was -- I NEVER forget to record specific gravity, yet I did that consistently in these two wines. Sad, very sad ...

31 December 2007

I recently found my old notebook which included notes from a 1999 Merlot that I had no recollection of making ... until I spotted the notes. This has been added to this page ...


Wines Made in 1999

Wine

Started

Bottled

Yield

Merlot Kit

18 Mar 1999

28 Jun 1999

25 bottles

White Cabernet

02 Oct 1999

13 May 2000

28 bottles

2nd Run Cabernet Sauvignon

02 Oct 1999

13 May 2000

32 bottles

Total Made:

 

 

60 bottles


Merlot Kit

Ingredients:

Fruit

WineArt Project Wine Cellar Merlot Kit

yeast

Lalvin EC-1118

Notes

Tasks

Date

SG

Started kit. Placed concentrate, filled to 5-1/2 gallons with water. Sprinkled yeast on top.

18 Mar 1999

1.090

Racked into carboy.

25 Mar 1999

0.996

Racked, added oak chips.

18 Apr 1999

0.995

Bottled

28 Jun 1999

0.995

Final Notes

Yield

25 bottles

Afterthoughts

This kit went fairly smoothly. Spent an extra amount for a "Project Wine Cellar" kit, supposed to be higher quality. Not sur it came out any better than a regular kit.

Taste

Decent taste, better than the bargain merlots. Maybe as good as some of the better ones.


White Cabernet

Ingredients:

Fruit

102# cabernet sauvignon, pressed to produce 6 gallons juice

potassium metabisulfite

1/2 tsp

yeast nutrient

5 tsp

energizer tablets

5

pectic enzyme

2 tsp

yeast

Montrachet

Notes

Tasks

Date

SG

Crushed and pressed the grapes, reserving the pulp to make a second run batch.

02 Oct 1999

17.5 brix

I inoculated the juice today without increasing the brix from the natural 17-1/2. My plan is to get the fermentation going and to then kick it up to the equivalent of 25 brix. This may seem high, but I'll be adding back 2 quarts juice for sweetening, so that should cut the alcohol back to about 11%. I haven't performed the calculations yet, so the 25 brix is a guess. My goal is a final alcohol of 11% (+/-), so I'll adjust the sugar additions accordingly.

03 Oct 1999

17.5 brix

As of tonight the fermentation hasn't started. So I took two packages champagne yeast, hydrated them and added to the juice. That should get things going.

05 Oct 1999

17.5 brix

Now I'm getting worried. As of this morning fermentation just isn't going! However, the second run is fermenting wildly, to the point where the foam pushed up the plastic wrap I've covered the fermenter with. So I took 2 cups of wine from the second run and added it to the juice. Hopefully that will kick start it.

07 Oct 1999

17.5 brix

My worries are ended! That last addition did it. This batch is perking along at high speed -- but with all the yeast in it, it should!

08 Oct 1999

17.5 brix

I figured out that to get an effective 24 brix, I need to add 5-1/2 lbs of sugar to this batch. I was short on time this morning, so I quickly added 1 lb to get the fermentation going again.

11 Oct 1999

?

Added another 3 lbs of sugar to kick the effective brix up. I decided to reduce the final alcohol, so I added a total of 4 lbs sugar instead of 5-1/2.

15 Oct 1999

?

Fermentation is complete, so I racked it into a 5 gallon carboy and 1 gallon jug. Added 3 tsp bentonite to help in clearing.

20 Oct 1999

0.996

Dropped quite a bit of sediment, but the wine isn't clearing too well. I'm going to give it another week, and then pour back the reserved juice and add pectic enzyme. We'll see what that does.

24 Oct 1999

0.996

Added the reserved juice and 2 tsp pectic enzyme. We'll let this set for a few weeks and then rack. Lot of sediment in the juice, although I decanted it and left most of it behind.

31 Oct 1999

?

LOTS of sediment -- this has needed racking for a few weeks but I just didn't have the time to devote to it. But I racked it today. The wine is nice and clear. I think I'll let it set for a few months to ensure that it is clear before bottling.

Saturday, 11 December 1999

?

Finally got my butt in gear and bottled this. It's nice and clear and has a slightly rose color, just barely off white. Taste is OK, we'll see what it does after 3 months in the bottle.

Saturday, 13 May 2000

?

Final Notes

Yield

28 bottles

14 Aug 2000

No sediment is dropping, which is good. But I'm still not wild about the taste. Something is a little off, maybe just a hint of astringency, which is odd for a slightly sweet wine.

10 Jun 2001

Scratch my remaining case -- OXIDATION!!! This batch and the second run both oxidyzed at about the same time. ARRGGGHH!


Second Run Cabernet Sauvignon

When I decided to make a white cabernet I just could not throw the pulp out! I figured I'd make a stab at doing a second run off the pulp. In the past I've done this with the residue of a "normal" red wine; given that this pulp hasn't been fermented yet I figured it might work out.

Ingredients:

Fruit

pulp from pressing the juice from 102# of cabernet sauvignon from White Cabernet

water

3-1/2 gallons

sugar

8#

potassium metabisulfite

1/2 tsp

nutrient

5 tsp

energizer tablets

3

pectic enzyme

3 tsp

yeast

Pasteur Red

Notes

Tasks

Date

SG

I've never done a second run wine from pulp that hadn't already been through fermentation. So I'm going to vary from the normal recipe. Typically I add 1 gallon of water for every 2 gallons of wine I get from the first batch. Then for each gallon of water I add 2-1/2 lbs sugar, 1/4 tsp grape tannin, and 1/2 tsp acid blend.

Since the pulp hasn't been fermented yet I'm assuming all the tannins are there, and probably a good amount of acid and sugar, so I added 8 lbs of sugar for 3-1/2 gallons water. I also screwed up as I didn't take an initial SG reading, so I have no idea what it was. Guess I'll have to guess, and adjust the sugar accordingly.

03 Oct 1999

?

Fermentation is quite vigorous. I pressed the pulp out and got a full 8 gallons of wine! This was a huge surprise. I was expecting something more like 4 to 4-1/2 gallons. I think the difference is due to the fact that the pulp was unfermented. As I recall, getting the juice out is tougher as the unfermented pulp is tougher and requires more pressure. My press is not what anyone would call robust, so I suspect I just couldn't get out as much juice as a better press would have.

Since I need to guess what the original SG was, I think I need to figure what SG 8 lbs of sugar in 3-1/2 gallons water comes to, and average it with 4-1/2 gallons of juice (from the pulp) at 17-1/2 brix. Then, if necessary I'll adjust the sugar up to 22 or 23 brix equivalent.

05 Oct 1999

1.035

I figured out that to get an effective 22 brix, I need to add 3 lbs of sugar to this batch. I was short on time this morning, so I quickly added 1 lb to get the fermentation going again.

11 Oct 1999

?

Added another 2 lbs of sugar to kick the effective brix up to where I want it.

15 Oct 1999

?

Fermentation is complete, so I racked it into a 5 and a 3-1/2 gallons carboys. Added 3 tsp bentonite to help in clearing.

20 Oct 1999

?

Heavy sediment had dropped by Friday and the wine was relatively clear. So I racked the wine again, putting it into a 5 gallon carboy plus two 1 gallon jugs. Tastes pretty good. Although the color in the carboy looks dark, the wine is coming out more of a dark rose. Of course, I only fermented it on the skins for two days, so that's more or less what I expected.

24 Oct 1999

0.994

Finally got around to racking, which is seriously overdue. Like the first run, this one had a LOT of sediment. But the wine cleared nicely. I'll probably bottle it in a few months.

11 Dec 1999

?

Bottled both this one and the first run. This one is much nicer than the first run, which is slightly astringent. Very pleased with it.

13 May 2000

?

Final Notes

Yield

32 bottles

14 Aug 2000

No sediment is dropping, which is good. This is a pretty good wine, especially considering the poor quality of the grapes AND that it's a second run!

10 June 2001

My last case was destroyed by oxidation. It came on fairly fast -- had to pour it all down the drain. Not sure what happened, but the white cabernet died at the same time.