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2015 November 24

Yes it is possible to be a dumb shit, no nothing , bad advice giver, and total hoser and become a moderator on

Joining the ranks of the other asshole moderators is none other than JohnT    Now a moderator.   Congratulations to you JohnT.  Maybe you will read a few books and seek the advice of experts before you, as you usually do, spread horseshit to the unsuspecting winemaker who visits the leading Crap Forum for winemaking on the internet.

Just hoping not much confidence this will actually happen.

We are not alone

2015 November 22
by Zac Brown

This guy makes 2 tonnes in a 550 sq foot apartment .

Apartment Winemaking



The 2015 Wrap Up

2015 November 12
by Gene Fiorot

Well with all our wines quietly going through MLF I thought we should have a thread on our 2015 Season.   For us , as we have spoken about previously, the Brix levels of some of the varietals were off the charts.  This making us look more carefully at our protocols and procedures for next year when faced with high brix grapes.   Solving a rare TCA problem in wine from improper re-hydration of barrels was a challenge we faced and succeeded in correcting.   Other than my Sangiovese/Cab Sav blend not looking like MLF is working all seems good while we wait for the Gamay to start up again in the carboys and finish up the last of the sugar.   The iridescent color of the Lanza/Musto Barbera is different and really beautiful.

Each year I attempt a small batch of something or do something different.   This year the challenge is a really buttery Chardonnay.  I inoculated with VP31 with Acti ML but used no Opti malo.    I am hoping to detect the butter with my nose and then try to decided when to add the Lyso-Easy.  I really don’t know a better way to know when to stop the MLF to protect the Diacetyl.  I could use Accuvin Strips and shut it down before it is finished I guess.   And ideas on this will be appreciated.  If I have success I will use Oak Staves or Spirals in a VC Tank.   A Kendall Jackson style the goal.   The juice is Lanza’s

So what’s  your story…..


What do you know about TCA 2,4,6 Trichloroanisole and TBA, PCA, TeCA? Or Haloanisoles in General? Probably not much.

2015 November 10

Except for those who know TCA is that nasty musty smell of a bad cork spoiling a perfectly good bottle of wine.  If you are one of us, then you know how to calmly tell the Waiter or Sommelier the wine is “Corked”  The smell is unmistakable.  It smells like a musty basement.  For those who have a damp basement you probably are familiar with TCA.  Usually Cardboard Boxes have the smell and when you take the box out of the basement the smell of the basement follow right along.  It gets in everything.

Now not all people have the same sensory threshold for the odor.  Some have difficulty smelling it at all.  Me on the other hand I am like a Bloodhound when it comes to this. To give an example, I brought a bottle a fine cab sav I made to a dinner. I opened it and was so disappointed that it was “Corked” not horribly, yet only 2 out of the 7 people at the table could smell or taste it.  Believe me it was there.   I think my first experience tasting TCA or one of its relatives was as a young kid tasting the Basket Bottle Chianti at Holiday Dinners. Wow! That wine was loaded yet when an Uncle brought a Ruffino Bottle I liked it.  Which leads me now to the conclusion it was not a bad cork every time it was something else.  Possibly a bad barrel?  Weren’t the Italians using the same barrels then for 50 years?

Cork Manufactures have gone to great lengths to minimize TCA in their corks.  Chlorine baths were partially responsible. Just looking at the chemical name clearly shows a chlorine molecule. This could be a clue, but as this story unfolds somewhat of a Mystery develops.

At our last Winemakers Tasting Dinner about a month ago, the focus was on soon to be barreled or just bottled wines.  There were only 14 of us in attendance so it was a good opportunity to concentrate on tasting and offering impressions.  You can imagine when we have 50 people in attendance tasting becomes a chore and frankly at times I forget what the heck I am drinking.  In any case the wines were being tasted and as we got to the main course of the meal  two of our relatively new winemakers John and Phil shared their Cab Savs.  Each one a Lanza Varietal, each one in 2 different Barrels , one new Hungarian  Oak the other a new Re-cooped Hungarian.  Needless to say they were very proud of their wine and should have been. I had tasted it after MLF and it showed excellent promise. Now one of the wines was in a Barrel for 6 months the other 2 months.

The wine was poured and distributed to the attendees.  We all tasted them about the same time and the expressions on the faces of the winemakers were unmistakable.  Something was wrong.  It got quiet. Everyone looked at everyone else hesitant to be the first to say anything so…..I guess it was left up to me.  I declared,  “This wine is Corked!”   Hey it can happen to anyone right?   Well not so fast.  Immediately the Winemakers informed us the wine was put in the bottle that day. We all think can a wine get “corked “ in a bottle in one day?  Wait how about the bottle.  Were they new, rinsed?  Were they left in the basement?  Could the Bottle have been “corked”?

So we were left with the notion that a worst case scenario is it is possible to have TCA in a barrel, ie stinky Straw Basket Chianti.  But these barrels one was new the other recouped for the use the first time.  Both Barrels?  Naw!   So by now if you have been paying attention and if you care you are probably want to know the answer.  Not so fast  Chuckles.

Before we go on and you develop all kinds of wild theories let me at least clear a few things up for you if need be.   This odor and taste, hard to separate, is not an H2S problem with any of the associated off odors of H2S or Mercaptans.  In addition this is in no way associated with vegetal odors or under ripe grapes and those associated odors and tastes.  More about this problem,

“Cork producers have made great strides in reducing taint levels to a fraction of their former incidence. More important, it turns out that corks are just one of many possible sources of contamination: Pretty much any combination of chlorine and cellulose can do the trick, as can some kinds of wood preservatives and flame retardants that may have been used on winery equipment and materials. TCA can flourish in barrels, wood chips, cellar pallets, cardboard boxes, hoses and other equipment. In a worst case, it’s not a single bottle that’s affected but an entire tank, or an entire winery. The little bugger has several precursors and relatives, too–TBA, PCA, TeCA–enough to make up a whole family of unpleasant haloanisoles. And if your luck is running really bad, the problem won’t be discovered by your lab staff, but by a prominent wine critic who has a sensitive nose and writes for a major magazine”

So that’s it, we have haloanisoles in the wine.  Getting out the Haloanisoles. Can we?

One thing is clear these two winemakers were very dejected sitting at the end of the table considering the prospect of dumping all that wine.  All they made for that season and getting ready to bottle.  We have to do something. Suicide is not an option.

Here is one quick test I never heard of up until now.   You should try it when you have a “corked”wine. Take a mixing bowl and line it with Syran plastic wrap.  Pour half glass of wine in the bowl and swish it for a few moments.   Then taste it. Voila! Gone.  Why does this happen can be explained,

“There’s no way to “neutralize” TCA once it gets into wine; it has to be removed. The various haloanisole compounds can’t be removed with traditional filtration, or crossflow, or reverse osmosis. The only solution is to get it to stick to something, and then remove that something. TCA and its posse of precursors will stick to certain polymers. As a parlor trick, swirling a little Saran Wrap in a glass of wine can clean up TCA; this approach also can be applied at the tank scale with larger sheets of the appropriate polymers. The more sophisticated methods involve running the affected wine past a magnet medium in a closed system, with the volume of medium and the number of recirculations depending on the level of TCA contamination. The TCA will adsorb onto the polymers forever. It will be out of the wine with no impact on wine flavor or aroma–other than getting rid of the TCA. “

But there is even another way to fix this problem,

“One seemingly old-fashioned but time-tested method to remove TCA is fining the affected wine with half and half. Unlike milk fining to remove tannin, in which the milk’s casein is the agent of change, here the butterfat is what grabs the TCA. Any milk product will settle down to the bottom of a tank pretty quickly, and is followed by filtration. This may sound like a home remedy, but Bryan Tudhope of VA Filtration, which uses a very different technology, says that potential customers sometimes find the half and half approach is more cost effective for very large batches of 50,000 to 100,000 gallons of wine.”

I don’t know about you but I have trouble pouring Half and Half in my Cab Sav.  But upon further research there is a solution which makes use of plate filters.  And guess what, many of us own Buon Vino Super Jet Plate Filters collecting dust.  As it turns out the FIBRAFIX TX-R from Heyes Filters Inc.  makes a filter pad exactly for this purpose to remove TCA and TBA.  The only hitch is the pad does not have the required holes drilled for the Buon Vino Super Jet an easy fix.  So with pads ordered and delivered we arrive at the day to cure the 60 gallons of Cab Sav.

The first thing recommended by the representatives of Filtrox was to filter the wine.  We used a 0.35 micron filter to accomplish this part of the task.  With all the wine filtered we began to filter the wine now with the Filtrox TX-R Plates in the Buon Vino.  If you have used one of these before you know you can expect quite a bit of dripping and pressure beginning around 5 pounds. Not so with these filters.  Pressure started out at 15 pounds and went up to 23 pounds after 30 gallons were filtered.  Even more suprising there was no dripping to speak of.  Evidently these filters are very tight.

Obviously we could not wait to see if this was going to work.   After about 5 gallons were filtered we compared the unfiltered wine to the filtered wine.  JOY and RELIEF!   The TCA was gone.  The beautiful nose was back and the cherry taste of a new Cab had returned.  It worked!  Now the only thing left to do was to continue to monitor the results as the pads were filtering.  When we got to the end of the 30 gallons we could detect a slight TCA odor.  Very slight.  Filtrox recommended filtering more than one time.  So the entire 30 gallons was filtered again removing all traces.   Truly remarkable to have a problem never before experienced and getting it fixed too.

I am sure some of you are still asking the question how did this wine get infected.  After careful inspection and discussion the following became known.  The household water has a great deal of chlorine in it.  Make no mistake it is really present. The Hose used to fill the barrels when rehydrating is a suspect.  When the barrels were rehydrated no Meta was used and for the wine with the worst condition of TCA (the new barrel) took 3 weeks to seal.  The re-coop barrel sealed in a few days and that wine had much less TCA.  Did the Chlorine in the water somehow combine with the oak of the barrels causing this problem?  I am not a chemist and I have no idea if it is even possible but I do know the wine that never saw a barrel ( 2 carboys  one for each wine) did not have the problem.

The Moral of the Story.   Between Stuck Fermentations and TCA one thing is clear. When you think you have this winemaking thing down pat.  Think again you don’t.  There is always a new challenge around the next corner. And probably the most important thing to learn is never give up on a wine.

Phil and John
Copyright © Wines & Vines




High Brix and Stuck Fermentations methods and questions Lot’s of Questions

2015 November 5


If you are like me you probably don’t have a lot of experience with Stuck Fermentations.  Unfortunately this year and last year we have received grapes with very high Brix.  I say unfortunately because there was a time when we loved the idea of 25 brix grapes having been accustomed to low Brix grapes in the past.  But things have become out of hand when you find your Brix at 30 and even higher.   I will admit this is new territory for me.

Let’s begin with yeast.  We all know that certain yeasts have different alcohol tolerances.  But how many times has that really been a criteria we had to weigh seriously.  It is pretty safe to assume most can with proper hydration and nutrient protocols ferment 25 Brix without issues. That assumption and approach has to change.   Even when you are watering back a must to 25 are you really sure you are at 25 brix after you add the water?  Yes we all are smart enough to check Brix the following day to see a bump up in Brix as the grapes are soaking.  In my case with a Gamay Batch it went from 28 to 30 overnight.   Was it really 30?  Was it going to go up even more 3 days from then?  When I watered back to 25 using 30 as the number did I really get to 25 or was it higher?

Since we are going to be watering back in the future what formula are we going to use?  Will it be conservative or not.  For example I have two spread sheets one indicated 8 gallons of water the other 14 gallons.   So what is the formula we should be using?   I have a feeling we are using the same formula but in the interest  of not wanting to water Central Valley grapes so the wine looked like Rose the water additions were cut back drastically.  Paul Gatti tells me I would be floored by the water that is added in his winery.  Even he can’t believe it but he adds everything comes out fine.  So aggressive water additions seem to be the course to follow.

Getting this year’s Gamay fermented is a story that can serve others when faced with a slowing or struck fermentation.  As I said above the Must was treated as it was 30 Brix.  Water additions were made on the conservative side  (mistake number one)  The yeast selected was Zymaflore RB2 with a 15% Alcohol Tolerance.  (mistake number two).   The fermentation began and developed as expected.  Fast and reaching 85 degrees around 12 Brix in a few days.  Normal for Zymaflore RB2.   The day after being at 12 we were at 6.  Again expected and furthermore the expectation is to be at 3 the next day.  That day arrived and we were not at 3 but we were at 5. Some might not even blink an eye at this but not me.  Alarm Bells were going off in my head.  I reached for yeast hulls immediately and wrapped the vats with bubble insulation to maintain the 80 degree temps.  Deep in my heart I knew “Houston we have a problem”.   It took another week to get to 3 brix and after even more days we arrived at 2 brix.   I decided to add another addition of water hoping to get the alcohol level down helping out the yeast was my hope. Interesting by doing so I arrived at the amount the second spread sheet indicated to use in the first place.  Needless to say I was not a happy camper.

I called Paul Gatti and Greg P.  What to do.  Both suggested I was being impatient and reassured me all will be ok and work out.  I waited another week and we arrived at 1 Brix I guess the water helped but it was not moving any further.   Stuck we were.  Yes it tasted sweet. Yes we were losing Vat temperature. I immediately employed a space heater on the vats and made the decision to restart the fermentation with a new yeast culture.  I chose KV1116 for the yeast.

Now the method to making a Re-start Culture is decided by the Brix in the Must.  Over 1 Brix and below 1 Brix is the determining factor.   Scott Labs has in depth instructions regarding the methods.   I decided to use the less than 1 brix method.  And I made 8 gallons of culture for each 80 gallon expected wine.  A 10 percent culture.   One thing about being below 1 brix is the inability to use any nutrient.  It took about 24 hours to build the culture and while diluting the starter solution wine with water by 50 percent. I did add about 4 ounces of sugar.  I couldn’t resist.    Yes you read that right, more water.

By this time I had learned to have patience and realized I was not going to expect a drop of Brix in the vats in a 24 hour period.  For one the new yeast culture needed time to grow.  And the growing would not be fast with little sugar, no nutrients and high alcohol present.  We wait.  We give up testing brix everyday not to get disappointed. We adopt 3 day intervals.  Now with one Vat at minus and the other a tad below a positive half I have decided to press out the grapes.  Truthfully, I am torn between leaving them in the vat and pressing and getting the wine in a sealed container.   There is no question we have had enough skin contact time but I think with the cap falling and the less amount of C02 being produced pressing is the course to take.   I would not be surprised if others did not agree with this.  But interestingly the Scott Labs protocol talks about racking off yeast hulls and introducing a second dose with the restart culture.  So it seems to me they are restarting grapes that have been already pressed.  I would as an alternative press all the grapes out and put all the wine in tanks and keep them warm with heating belts but unfortunately I do not have enough tank space this time of year for all this wine.  So the guys will have to take their wine home and nurse their carboys.

Well that has been my experience this year.  Last year I had a GSM with residual sugar which for everyone but me re-started up again this summer and finished dry.   Mine for some reason in a 60 gallon barrel re-started but did not finish and still has some sweetness.  Paul Gatti laughed when I told him that saying they have wines that sometimes don’t finish for a year.   I hope that is not what we have to look forward to in the future.   I hope using the top end of the formula for water additions and high tolerance yeasts are the way to avoid all of the above.  At least that is the way I will be approaching the problem.  That is if I can’t get reasonable 25 Brix grapes from the growers.   You know who you are.



Malolactic Fermentation

2015 October 7
by Gaetano

This isn’t going to be the usual “MLF is so scary” post that you can read almost anywhere around this time every season, instead, I’m really surprised how fast MLF started for me this season.

As always, I use VP41, hydrate with Acti-ML and add Opti-Malo to the demijohn right before adding the MLB.
The demijohns are in my cellar which maintains a temp between 64°-68° until winter, if MLF is still active when the colder temps roll in, I add a small heat pad to the Demijohns to keep MLF active.

Nothing earth shattering, just the normal steps that I take every season, with one exception – this time I got side tracked with another project and realized that 40 mins had gone by…not a big deal except that the instructions on the packet of VP41 read “Rehydrate the packet of freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria in 20 times its weight of clean chlorine free water at 20°C for a maximum of 15 minutes”.

I pitched the MLB gave it a nice stir, put the bung and airlock on and put it to bed not expecting to see any indication of MLF for a few days.
The following day less than 24 hrs later MLF had started, this may be the norm for some of you guys, MLF had never really started this soon for me, or should I say, it was never visible this soon.

I’m guessing that the 15 min max rehydration is intended for those that don’t use a hydration nutrient and that the extra 25 mins helped to grow a larger and stronger bacteria population resulting in a shorter lag time…or I just got lucky…LOL

What does everyone else use for MLB?

Is it a Field Blend or a Co-Ferment. How can the Winemaker know?

2015 September 28
by Gene Fiorot

Recently I wrote here that I was going to do a Field Blend of GSM grapes for the 2015 Season.   Zac Brown corrected me.  He indicated that a Field Blend only occurred in the field when grapes a picked and mixed in containers to be brought to the winery for fermentation.  He went on to say I was really doing a Co-Ferment that is,  mixing various grapes in a vat and fermenting them together.   As a result of this I have now referred previously called Field Blends as Co-ferments.   Except this time.  I am pretty sure the picture below does qualify me calling this a Field Blend.

What say you.  Is Zac still correct?  Or have we just created a GSM Field Blend for 2015.


Field Blend

Sourcing Grapes in the Northeast for 2015

2015 August 19
Ron "Proud Puppy" at the Christmas Party

Ron “Proud Puppy” at the Christmas Party

No fear Puppy is Back!

No fear Puppy is Back!

Ron at the M&M Loading Dock

Ron at the M&M Loading Dock


Notice the PH

Notice the PH








There is someone missing at the M&M Loading Dock this year. Each year Ron “Proud Puppy” can be seen crushing and desteming grapes by hand into buckets to take back to Manhattan where he ferments them in secret in a storage facility. We have not heard from him since our Christmas Party 0f 2014. I sent him a bunch of emails in April to attend our Spring Barrel Tasting Dinner but he did not respond. Now he has not ordered any grapes and has not been heard from at M&M. We would lie if we said we are not concerned. Where is our Proud Puppy

UPDATE  Tuesday September 8, 2015      Change no Malbec on September 12th.    For the Weekend of September 19, 2015  GSM varietals.  Lanza grapes same as on the 12th.  PLUS Cab Clone 08, 169,15.  Malbec, Petit Verdot,   Koch Cab possible?   All Italian varietals.   Barbera is in NOW! 

For week of September 25 , 2015    Paso Robles Zin , Napa Chalk Hill Cab,

More to come stay tuned


UPDATE     Wednesday   September 2, 2015   First shipment of  Tembrink Cab will arrive for weekend of September 12, 2015

UPDATE     Tuesday September 1 , 2015

Grapes are coming in Fast and Furious..    For the weekend of September 5th

Iron Oak Pinot Noir,

For Weekend of September 12     Grenache Noir, Lanza Sangiovese, Malbec Petite Sirah, Muscat Cannelli, Chardonnay,Iron Oak Merlot

For Weekend of September 19    Grenache Noir, Lanza Syrah, Lanza Merlot


News Flash!!! 8/20/2015   The Hartford Report

Get Ready Fellas this year is coming early, fast and for the most part all at once.   We expect to start our first crush on September 12,2015  if making Lanza fruit be prepared other varietals will be coming on or about that date.  We could be done by the first week in October.   Yes you read that correctly.



Every year we start a thread like this. And every year there are always surprises and even some disappointments.  I am sure this year will be no different. For those smart winemakers who source grapes from the M&M Grape Company we have some very nice news at this pre-harvest time.  More than once Frank Musto has increased the availability of varietals from areas which were not previously available.  This year Frank’s company is doing it again.  First up….

Suisun Valley Lanza Barbera.   This 5 year old vineyard produced its first harvest last year.   The Lanzas reported making some very nice Barbera from these grapes.  With this year expecting it to be even better some of our club members will be making this varietal for the first time.  It is exciting to think we can make a quality Barbera with the expectation of results from Lanza Fruit.

Next Up a New Varietal for the first time on the East Coast.    Lagrein.    What you have nerve heard of this varietal?  Have you not traveled to Trentino Alto Adige?  The home of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio.  For me making a Northern Italian/Austrian Border red tannic wine grown predominantly in South Tyrol is especially interesting me as my Father was and my relatives live in this location in Italy.  While we would love to make these Italian grapes the Lagrein M&M will receive are growing in very small quantities in Lodi California.   Nevertheless a new varietal is coming and we have to try them so should you.

Certainly not a new varietal but one which always presents itself as a problem getting good fruit.   Yes good thinking.   Grenache Noir for GSM.  Undaunted Frank Must has worked hard every year getting the best Grenache Noir.  This year is no different.   Head Pruned Grenache Noir planted and grown by an 85 year old grower.   Just look at the picture and try and guess.  How old are

Lanza Barbera  19.5 Brix 8/18/15

Lanza Barbera 19.5 Brix 8/18/15

these vines?

Lagrein from Lodi

Lagrein from Lodi

Head Pruned Grenache

Head Pruned Grenache

Amici’s Beachside Bistro Melbourne Florida a Winemakers Slice of Heaven

2015 August 1
Amici's Beachside Bistro

Amici’s Beachside Bistro

One of the best things about being a winemaker is taking your wine to a restaurant and enjoying a great meal. We are always looking for Restaurants who have a reasonable corkage fee so bringing wine makes sense. Last year we discovered Amici’s Beachside Bistro 1940 North Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32937. Just across the street from the Atlantic Ocean a small Bistro close to our home.

We were very impressed with the food and the service when we went this past Valentines Day. I am sure you know not to expect the best on certain holidays but we were more than pleasantly surprised. When we were there we asked if they allow bringing your own wine if they had a cork fee. They were very open to the idea and welcomed us bringing wine. I mentioned I was a winemaker and they explained one person on staff had trained as a sommelier.
We finally returned to Amici’s last month with a party of 5. I brought 4 bottles of wine, one for the Chef. I like to do that when I bring wine to a restaurant. Instantly we were greeted at the table by the Chef thanking us for the wine and asked what we wanted to eat. We were satisfied with the menu and the specials but he insisted he would make anything we wanted. Remembering the Pasta Carbonara I had on Valentine’s day I asked him to make it for the table. His eyes lit up that I even remembered it. But truly that was not hard to do because it was amazing. I suggested our waiter bring some glasses and have him, the chef and the sommelier taste the wines I brought that night.
As the meal progressed we opened the different varietals I brought that evening and by the time dessert came around the Chef , the Sommelier and the Waiter were drinking with us at the table. We had a blast and I think I had the best time of all watching them enjoy and making comments on my wines. When we were about to leave the Chef made a proposal. If we would come back next Friday night around 8:30 when things would not be so busy he would cook for us an entire dinner, no menus. A special dinner prepared just for us. Now how can you refuse that offer? We didn’t.
As planned we arrived and were ushered to our table where we found a special menu listing five wonderful specialties. We started with a Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Bruschetta Butter. Then on to freshly made Lobster Ravioli in a beautiful Pesto Cream. It can’t get better right?. A Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Charred Asparagus and Citrus Vinaigrette a Tuscan favorite was the perfect dish for the Super Tuscan I brought. And then when you think it can’t get better we were served Sirloin Braciole with Broccoli Rabe/Pine Nuts/Goat Cheese with a Sweet Pea and Mushroom Risotto. How happy was I thinking to bring the Geroges III 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon for that dish. For dessert Chef Paul made a Bourbon Vanilla Panna Cotta perfect pairing with my 2014 Lanza Moscato Cannelli and the Sommelier’s gift of a bottle of Mer Soleil ‘Late’ Viognier, Santa Lucia Highlands, USA. A great end to a perfect culinary experience.
Besides it being imperative to have dinner at this restaurant if you are in Melbourne Florida, what is the moral of the story for winemakers? Discover your local restaurants and bring your wine and share it. You never know what can develop. Besides it is a lot of fun and very satisfying for any Winemaker who is proud of his wines. Buon Appitito!

Chef Paul's Menu

Chef Paul’s Menu

Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Bruschetta Butter

Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Bruschetta Butter

Lobster Ravioli in  Pesto Cream

Lobster Ravioli in Pesto Cream









Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Charred Asparagus and Citrus Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Charred Asparagus and Citrus Vinaigrette


Sirloin Braciole with Broccoli Rabe/Pine Nuts/Goat Cheese with a Sweet Pea and Mushroom Risotto.

Sirloin Braciole with Broccoli Rabe/Pine Nuts/Goat Cheese with a Sweet Pea and Mushroom Risotto.


Bourbon Vanilla Panna Cotta

Bourbon Vanilla Panna Cotta

Owner Dave on Left Hungary , Hungry New Yorker Carlo, Chef Paul on Right

Owner Dave on Left , Hungry New Yorker Carlo, Chef Paul on Right


Mer Soleil 'Late' Viognier, Santa Lucia Highlands, USA.

Mer Soleil ‘Late’ Viognier, Santa Lucia Highlands, USA.

New World Winemaker Articles

2015 July 31
by Zac Brown

I thought I’d share one of my favorite sites for advanced winemaking articles .

It should find fertile ground here .

Monitoring your Cellar Temperature.

2015 July 26

Awhile back I posted here how I was monitoring my Cellar Temperature when I was away from the winery.  I was using La Crosse equipment.  It did the job and certainly was a very reasonable cost effective way to stay on top of things.   However as time went on a few gliches started to appear.  Battery life for no explained reason was very erratic as was loss of sensor signal at times.  Not the worst thing in the world but a pain.  Then there was instances where the internet router link would go down requiring a power down and up procedure, hard to do when you are not there.  I addressed this with using a cheap 24 hour 120 volt ac timer to shut off once a day for 15 minutes.   Also the system requires a recurring subscription in order to receive email and text message alerts.

My last failure however was not that simple.  Which caused me to purchase another system.  Sadly the new system went down shortly thereafter. Customer service and tech support was adequate but complicated routines to get the system working really started to annoy me so I started to look for an alternative.   I found one.

This new system is sold by   To begin it is very reasonable in price and even better it is much more simplified in its operation and setup. Customer service is tops and they can take over your system and make the adjustments themselves leaving you only to wait for it to occur.  I purchased a Weather Station unit display, a router link, and 3 sensors for under one hundred dollars.  Even Even better is there are no subscription charges to receive text messages or emails when your temperature and humidity points go out of range.  Even Even Even better there is an App on my Iphone for monitoring.   So far the system has been working flawlessly.  If you need to monitor your cellar temperature  this is the way to go.


iphone acuweather








The original system and post here…

July 2015 Wine Tip Scott Labs free shipping in July

2015 July 24

It is still July with a few days left to take advantage of the free shipping policy of Scott Labs.   Even if you are a small buyer the overnight ML bacteria shipment alone can get quite expensive.   I take advantage of this every year.  Be sure not to forget to ask them to include the 2015 fermentation guide with your order.

How much Wine is in that Box of Grapes?

2015 July 18

I thought I would share my experience of yield in gallon per box of grapes by varietal.   I was reading a thread on the subject and as usual the information was seriously lacking.  Please feel free to add your experiences and varietals I not included in the chart.

Yield of Wine in gallons per 36 pound box of grapes

This chart assumes the following.

  1.  You did not add water to lower brix.
  2.  Using a basket press or bladder press , you press until the flow stops , break down the cake, fluff it up and reload the press and press a second time.
  3. Amounts are at pressing before racking off lees.
  4. You used maceration enzymes.


Varietal                                             Gallons per Box

Zinfandel                                           2.9-3.1

Allicante Bouchet                            2.9-3.1

Carignane                                          2.8-3.0

Merlot                                                2.6-2.8

Cab Sav                                               2.6-2.8

Pinot Noir                                          2.5-2.7

Syrah                                                   2.7-2.9

Grennache                                         2.7-2.9

Mouverdre                                        2.7-2.9

Napa Gamay                                     2.8-3.0

Sangiovese                                        2.7-2.9

Petite Sirah                                        2.8-3.0



The 2015 Sonoma/ Napa Grower Report.

2015 July 9
by Gene Fiorot

Light Crop, Shatter, Pretty Much on time if not a bit early still.   All the details are here…..

I love California

2015 June 26
by Gene Fiorot

I love California.   More so I love the people who grow the grapes I make my wine from.   But there has to be something wrong with these good folks if they take this shit.  Yet it seems they do….