You may think the Title of this piece is strange but not as strange as this conversation I had with one of the members this weekend past. The subject of this blog came up in conversation and this member said, ” I guess your blog is like mine ( he has a foodie blog) not much is posted their lately. I looked at him as if he had 3 eyes. WHAT! Why would you say that? We have never had more participation in the last few months than any other time the blog existed. I went on, we have over 300 hundred comments on one blog piece alone. He smiled and sheepishly admitted he doesn’t read the comments. Doesn’t read the comments? Did I hear that correctly? Yes you did Gene. Just about then another member said, ” hey you know something up until last month I didn’t even know there were comments. I can’t really I can’t.
So for the Blog Challenged the following is offered as advice.
1. Read the Blog Piece
2. Scroll down as their maybe more that one new blog piece on the page
3. Scroll down and look on the right and you will see the list of comments made on various blog pieces where you can also comment.
I hate to say this but you can’t make this shit up.
Well it is not over yet but it is another year making wine in 2014. Saturday October 11, 2014 we took delivery of 135 Boxes, 4,860 pounds, 2.43 tons of grapes. almost 1.5 tons of Sonoma Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon the balance we cannot talk about. Those who are that curious will have to come to our dinner where we, under the influence of good Wine, we may reveal the other grapes. But let’s forget that for the moment even though I know some of you are dying to know. Please understand, I wish I could be more forthcoming but alas I cannot. If you can find it in your heart, please forgive me. In any case here are some pictures along with some captions of a very wet rainy day. If you want an expanded photo image you can click on the picture.
Here are a few things I have adapted using the Variable Capacity Stainless Steel Tanks. While we have discussed this topic before here are a few things I have been using with my tanks. The first issue is either doing an Alcohol Fermentation or doing a MLF in a tank. In both cases one can use the fermentation air lock on the left but while it works there are a few problems with it. The first is when CO2 builds up burps out in a blast. This usually leaves a mess on the surface of the lid. The second problem is you cannot observe the change in activity because you can’t see anything. Using your ear against the surface of the tank does work if it is quiet enough.
Using a bubble type air lock with a rubber bung solves the visual problem. But with high activity during a fermentation the water is pushed out of the air lock as well as wine and it makes a mess as well. I solved this problem as you can see by gluing a pvc pipe to the top of the Air lock. As a result no mess and complete visibility of the ongoing fermentation.
Sometimes it is not possible for a variety of reasons to keep a tank warm to finish Alcohol Fermentation and MLF. In the case shown here it was a matter of pressing early and wanting to finish on the lees before pumping it into the room for MLF. Space heaters work but the cost of electricity makes it less desirable. I fitted the tank with a 1000 watt drum heater. It keeps the tank as warm as I want, uses minimal amount of power and the thermostat works perfectly.
An East Coast Winemaker’s dream has come true. Finally, a Cooperage is now on the East Coast even better, located in the Tri- State Area. Yes! How can it get better you ask? Driving down a light industrial street in Westbury Long Island we arrive at the Cooperage. We are greeted by Michael Georgacopoulos the Direct or Sales for East Coast Barrels. From his first breath it is easy to see he is excited and proud of what they have planned for their new Cooperage. He says, the mission is to recreate a time honored European Full Service Cooperage in the United States which will produce excellently crafted barrels and provide re coopered services as well, but there is more. They love Amateur Winemakers and hope to service not only large wineries but us little guys as well.
George Voicu , President has set the mission for the company to introduce the highest quality Romanian Barrels to the United States. It is obvious he is pulling out all the stops to prove it. Directly from Romania are experienced coopers George Ivescu, Florin Bula, and Alin Tita under the direction of Master Cooper Ion Tita. While Ion does not speak English well since only recently coming to the USA it takes only a few minutes in his presence to know he takes his craft very seriously. He is proud to point to various aspects why East Coast Barrels separate his from the competition. And some of these are obvious.
First we learn the Oak used for the barrels comes from forests in Romania. Before we go any further, You might want to ask how much oak for barrel making is shipped to France. Lots. The wood is cut and air dried for 24 months in Romania then shipped to the USA where it continues to air dry for another 12 months. East Coast Barrels produce Thick Stave Barrels. Period. The wood is extremely tight grained and that coupled with stave thickness will mean long rather than short extraction and micro-oxygenation times. But fear not they have ways to deal with that as well. Before we get to that keep in mind you can have a successful Re-Coopered barrel when the staves are thick to begin with. So if you purchased one of their barrels when it comes time to re-cooper it you can be assured it will make for a successful reconditioned barrel. The result is two lifetimes for one barrel. Thus making barrel use more affordable for Amateurs. Something to think about.
In dealing with custom toast levels and extraction times East Coast Barrels has it covered. Ion Tita say’s through a translator he has the method to increase the surface area of any barrel by cutting grooves either in the staves or the heads. Topping that, he has a “secret method” to provide two different Toast Levels between the grooves and the flat part of the staves. When re-coopering a Winemaker has the option for this and to replace the heads with new oak. All of this should satisfy any requirements a Winemaker might have.
Talking more about being unique, Michael Gerogacopoulos introduced me to barrel I have never seen. A barrel made with Black Locust Wood. Super Tight Grain and slightly yellow in color I had to ask who uses these? He related barrels made with this wood are used in Germany and other countries for Whites like Riesling. On the subject of being a Green Company. They are doing their best and they are fussy as well. All the toasting is done by burning wood not propane. Ion Tita feels his barrels should have no chemical residue so only wood for the fires are used. Even wood chips and saw dust is used to create a flash in the fire when they are charring Whisky Barrels. Truly Organic.
What should Amateur Winemakers know. While the facility is still undergoing the last stages of construction East Coast Barrels will be making 100 litre and 50 litre barrels when they are up and running at 100 percent levels. Besides, how many of you have a thick stave Hungarian barrel needing re-cooping? Your prayers have been answered.
When we were leaving Mike gave us a few bottles of wine made by Frank K of M&M Grape Company which was in an East Coast Barrel. We can’t wait to taste it at our next crushing lunch.
Thank you to all at East Coast Barrels for providing Al Battista and myself a great visit to their Cooperage. Oh yeah I almost forgot I took home a Re-Cooperd Seguin Moreau Sixty. Need one? Talk to Frank K at the M&M Grape Company. They came from the famous Jordan Winery and originally in use for only one year. They have been Re-coopered and a few of these barrels are ready to go!
They got the votes!!!!
The people at Zemplen Barrels have asked us for our help in obtaining a grant. They need your vote. Please help them out.They wrote the following to me on Facebook. Click on the link it takes 2 seconds to vote.
We’ve applied for a grant sponsored by Mission: Small Business and we need 250 votes to even be considered.
It happens every year. Proud Puppy shows up in the middle of the week to destem his grapes on the loading dock of the M&M wine grape company. His fear that quality will be diminished when he drives the grapes to Manhattan where City Pollution can have a negative impact on his wine. So here he is again. Rain or Shine. And all you Sissies who make kits or juice and complain about just about everything on Winemakingtalk.com which disturbs your perfect little life, take note here is a Real Winemaker braving the elements to produce fine wines. He is advancing the hobby and toughing it out while you talk horseshit. Good Job Ron!
Let’s talk about Ceja Pinot Noir Outrageous! Lanza Musto Sangiovese ON THE WAY!
Update September 15 , 2014 Corrected Information in Bold Letters
Latest Brix numbers for Lanza
Lanza Pinot Noir: 24.8-25.2 Lanza Primitivo: 25-25.4 Lanza Merlot: 25.5 Lanza Cabernet: 25 Lanza Cabernet 169: 25 Sangiovese: 24.5-25.3 More on the way.... Should arrive this week.... Lanza Pinot Noir Lanza Petite Sirah Lanza Merlot Cabernet Cabernet 169 Sangiovese Tempranillo
Still not harvested.... Malbec Napa Gamay Riesling Syrah To be harvested Keep in mind at least 5 days after harvest to arrive at M&M in Hartford
Here are the latest arrival dates for grapes at the M&M JuiceGrape.com Loading Dock Please confirm these arrivals as they maybe off by a day listed.
Ceja Merlot Delayed
Ceja Pinot Noir IN NOW
Lanza Chardonnay IN NOW
Lanza Sauvignon Blanc IN NOW
Tembrink Muscat Canelli IN NOW
Lanza Merlot Sept 16
Lanza Valley Cab Sept 19
Lanza Musto Cab Sav 169 Sept 19
Lanza Malbec Delayed
Lanza Primitivo Sept 19-20
Lanza Zinfandel Sept 19-20
Lanza Pinot Noir Sept 19-20
Lanza Musto Sangiovese Sept 19-20
Russian River Pinot Noir Sept 17
No dates on Napa Cabs
No date on Sonoma Chalk Hill Cab Sav
No dates on GSM varietals and Napa Gamay
No dates on Koch Cab or Tembrink Cab
Also keep in mind some of the Lanza Vineyards are picked multiple times making for additional later delivery dates than listed above
Here are the latest Brix Numbers from the Lanza , Lanza-Musto Vineyards in Suisun Valley California available from the M&M Wine Grape Company in Hartford Ct. www.juicegrape.com
August 21, 2014
It just so happens and I have known this for a very long time Lanza Vineyards produce a wonderful Muscat Canelli Grape Juice processed including DE Filtering in buckets for Winemakers. Yes call me a sellout. Call me a Winemaker jumping on the latest trend. Call me losing my bearings. (balls by another name) But don’t call me Stupid. Miss Virginia wants Moscato well then I make Moscato. There are many benefits to do so. (Heh heh) And unfortunately it will not be a dry one either. As she said when I brought up that subject. Who drinks a dry Moscato? I was at a loss for an answer. I mused and offered ….. my Grandmother? That look nah, Nice try but that wouldn’t fly. So we are on to the mission to make a Moscato less then dry. Which brings up the first problem.
How Sweet is Sweet. Since Miss Virginia is the deciding factor as she is in so many areas, I figure I will let her taste a few commercial ones and decide which one she likes best then use the Clinitest to figure out the level of Sugar. Is this a good Idea? Look before you get all jiggly I don’t make freekin sweet wine. OK? So is this a way to determine sugar or do I really have to send this S**T to a lab to figure it out? You should be able to tell by now I am not exactly thrilled with this ASSIGNMENT. One one thing good about this is she doesn’t read this blog. She thinks I am too offensive. Come on give I guy a break. I’ll make you the (Damm) lovely fruity perfumey Moscato DEAR!
Ok your thoughts on that. Now on to procedure
ML Bacteria lives and thrives everywhere in my winery. Considering I am going to have to use Sorbate, my thinking is immediately after going dry when racking off the lees and using lysozyme at the same time as well. Then I want to use some reserve frozen juice and bentonite and PVPP for the winter months.
So the amount of Juice to reserve????? This is a measly 25 gallon batch. Thank God! The procedure ? Your thoughts………
Well I can’t be sure of the headline but the truth is we have known for years that the Lanza Family of Wooden Valley Suisun have been growing and harvesting the finest Petite Sirah we have ever made. And it is no secret they have won some very prestigious awards with these grapes in the hands of Rick Lanza. I guess Mr. Wagner was paying attention since his plans for the area include for starters a 100.000 square foot facility. The focus? Petite Sirah. Will Suisun become the Capital of Petite Sirah in California? Mr. Wagner seems to think so. I think you will enjoy reading about his extensive plans including moving half of his Napa Staff to Suisun. 2016 Caymus Special Selection Petite Sirah hmmm. Do you think we can make one to top it? Remember in 2007, we were all asking where the heck is Suisun?
Oh yeah I almost forgot Gallo is joining Caymus in Suisun too.
I received the great news that Frank Musto President of the M&M Wine Grape Company has secured for us our long sought after Amador Grand Pere Vineyard Grenache Noir. This sets the stage for a repeat of the 2011 GSM. In 2011 I was the only one who made this wine. The others were either saying “What’s a GSM” or I want more Cabernet Sauvignon. As it turned out they were sorry for not making it but on the bright side they have learned their lesson and now are All In for 2014.
In 2011 I used the following percentages Grenache 20 boxes 67% Mourvedre 3 boxes 10% Syrah 7 boxes 23% This added up to 30 boxes and after crushing I did a 10% saignee. I like to believe the saignee made a big difference in the final result. The Rose was less impressive as I sent it through MLF mistakenly and back sweetened it instead of reserving. I also drew it off too soon, 6 hours probably should have let it go 12-18. Anyone have advice on that I am listening. In the end I did correct the color so it resembled a typical light pink French Rose.
As I have been thinking about this year it occurs to me since so many Guys are wanting this wine what would we do with all the saignee? My next thought is not to saignee at all. Instead raise the percentage of Mourvedre 15% , the Syrah to 30% and reduce the Grenache Noir to 55%. Is this going to work? Is this going to produce the lovely 2011 wine once again? I don’t know. And it bothers me. So….
Another thought is to do a 10% saignee and have all the guys making it take home some Rose. They will have to increase the amounts of wine they want but we will have duplicated 2011. The problem I see here is if a Person is making 20 gallons they will receive 2 gallons of saignee. so what are they going to do with that. Unless guys can share a carboy amongst themselves. For a guy making a 30 gallon barrel they will need to get 35 gallons of wine and 3.5 gallons of saignee.
I wait to hear your advice to these questions and ways to proceed.
Advice for the Kit Maker…. Buy Grapes. Anyone want to add to this feel free.
Anyone trying to figure what this is all about well, Another bunch of defensive Kit Makers get their panties in a bunch elsewhere. So if you are capable of making wine from grapes for no good reason then you are a bunch of wimps and you shouldn’t consider yourself winemakers. I don’t even if you Zest and have cornered the market on Raisins. Not to burst your bubble even if Winemaker Magazine tells you are, you’re not.
Foot note http://www.winepress.us/forums/index.php?/topic/55672-comparing-kits-wines-to-commercial-wines/
While most of us are pretty lucky to have the M&M Grape Company as our supplier of quality fruit, there is always the possibility that harvest conditions beyond their control could have Winemakers having to deal with less than perfect fruit. In fact we are so spoiled we probably forgot what we learned years ago when dealing with some pretty horrible fruit on a regular basis from suppliers in the Tri State Area. In any case here is a nice article if you need to brush up on the subject. I am hoping we don’t have to deal with it but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Research identifies yeast strain that metabolizes sulfur efficiently and with little or no leakage of hydrogen sulfide
Wine Business Monthly (click on the link to view) has an interesting article about “Research identifies yeast strain that metabolizes sulfur efficiently and with little or no leakage of hydrogen sulfide”, a lot of the info dealing with avoiding H2S has already been discussed here.
The article discusses “The Best Practices for Reducing H2S Development” and goes on to say “Levels of H2S where the rotten egg smell is pronounced may render a wine unsuitable for commercial use. Remedial actions, such as aeration to blow off this volatile compound and fining with copper, where the sulfide binds with the reactive copper to form insoluble copper sulfide, nearly always, when successful, result in somewhat diminished wine quality. The potential for the H2S to re-form at some future time, particularly under reduced conditions, e.g., in the bottle, is also a troubling scenario for winemakers.
With the popularity of the ever more ubiquitous screw cap, the problem of reductive H2S formation in the bottle has become more prevalent.”
What I found most interesting is that one winemaker commented that the non-H2S producing yeast produced wines that were “magical” in the elimination of H2S, she also commented that they “lacked complexity” and were “completely clean, straightforward.”
I don’t know if the yeast mentioned in the article is available to the home wine maker yet, but my question would be when do you know to use this yeast?
Normally, by the time you smell the “rotten egg” smell, fermentation is well under way, maybe I’m missing something.
The article also mentions that “With the popularity of the ever more ubiquitous screw cap, the problem of
reductive H2S formation in the bottle has become more prevalent”, I thought that wineries were converting over to screw caps because they were better for the wine?
With the 2014 fall wine season just around the corner, I’m interested in what everyone has to say.
Hello all, I hope every ones summer is going well.
Going into my third season making wine I am challenged with a growing supply of wine, where to put it all and how to control its environment. Having grown out of the corner of the laundry room and wanting to keep the misses happy I examined my situation and arrived at the following conclusions:
I needed to create a “room” that would allow both cooling and heating for my fermentation and post fermentation storage. That room needed a bench to work on, ventilation and ease of access to move wine in and out. A place for all the “tools” needed for the wine… WAIT… I need a new house.
I can’t repeat what my wife said to that suggestion.
The next best thing I came up with was a space in the back of my garage where my current workbench is. The space I decided to use measured out about 12 feet wide from wall to wall. So I set about thinking how I should design this closet. Initially I was going to build a two or three shelf vertical closet based on some drawings and blogs I have read. Then, at the suggestion of a fellow wine maker I decided to go low profile and wide with a sliding partition to separate cool from warm. The partition would allow me to adjust the size of each side of the box during the different stages of fermentation and storage. When I am not fermenting any wine at all I can remove the partition completely – if necessary. Pull off front doors on each half would allow me to slide carboys and roll barrels in and out with out breaking my back trying to lift them on and off shelves.
I designed a long bench type box with pull out front face doors. Its interior measures 110 inches wide by 40 inches tall by 38 inches deep. I used 2-inch thick foam board wrapped with a silver thermal liner used in attic insulation jobs that I had left over from my attic. The insulation was built inside a 2×4 wood frame construction. For the bench support I used 2×6 12-foot stringers. The bench top was given a 2-inch lip to allow for the attachment of the wine bottler.
On the cool side I installed a 600 cubic foot wine refrigeration unit I purchased from Gene on the left side of the box that will provide cool storage.
If I split the box down the middle, it gives me space to secondary MLF two 15-gallon carboys and nine 5-gallon carboys. I plan on transitioning to the 15-gallon carboys as time and money allows. That will allow me to ferment more wine and keep a much smaller footprint.
When all of fermentation is complete I can leave the fermentation door off and use the normal temperature inside my garage for cold stabilization.
Here are the pictures of the box in various stages of the build. They uploaded back wards, the top ones are the finished build.
The idea of getting Frozen Grapes actually Grapes destemmed and crushed has some excellent advantages However all may not be the perfect picture you might imagine. There are pitfalls as well. Let’s talk about the advantages. Probably the best one is being able to get grapes to a location where fresh grapes are not available. The second is for a winemaker who has a logistic or timing problem where he cannot take delivery for fresh grapes or he cares to do a co-ferment and all the fresh grapes do not arrive at the same time or he wants to make wine at another time during the year. Having Frozen Must also eliminates the need to do a cold soak if that is the winemakers’s choice. In addition one of the best advantages is getting Super Quality Vineyard Specific Grapes from distributors like Peter Brehm is the grapes are processed the same day as harvested.
Now for the negatives. Not to be paranoid but I like my crusher completely sanitized before crushing my grapes. A Crusher used for many hours even days not in my control makes me worry. I know Frankie Juice and M&M Grape takes care of this so it is one worry I don’t need to have. I like to see my grapes and evaluate them again Frankie Juice at M&M Grape takes pictures and gives me a verbal analysis besides performing the typical post crush testing. Adding SO2 before the grapes are frozen is within parameters as to not interfere with ML:F is another concern one should have. The last concern I have when the grapes are in the hands of the distributor is how fast and good is the refrigeration to freeze the grapes as quickly as possible limiting bacterial growth.
Now on the other end of the supply chain when the winemaker receives the Frozen Must he must be prepared for at least the following. There is going to be a long span of time before you get to the end of lag phase. Getting the Must up to temperature is not not a simple task when you have a half ton of slush sitting in a vat. Another thing due the the freezing and thawing process be aware if you had any idea of a whole berry or semi whole berry crush fogetaboutit. You will have basically Ugly Mash. And Mash does not allow you to control tannin extraction especially if you a fermenting a high tannic grape nor does it allow you evaluate as much as you would a Fresh Grape Must.
Other issues are obvious it is expensive to ship frozen Must based on the per gallon of wine produced from a pail besides the cost of handling the grapes and for freezing. But it does offer for the Amateur the opportunity to make world class wine otherwise not possible. And that is all that matters.