As I mentioned in my first post of today, yesterday Jim and I went to Purple Pearl Vineyards in Dixon to get this year’s vintage of Merlot grapes.
After last year’s effort to muddle through picking out stems and leaves, we decided to make a trough to move the must from one tank to another. It was a much better, and easier task this time. We bought 1200 lbs. of grapes this year, because Rory (the vintner) told us the juice is lower in this vintage, and I wanted to make sure we have enough wine to get 75 gallons again. So… this year we have 4 tanks of must instead of three.
It took us from 10am to 4:30pm to crush all 1200 lbs of grapes, and pick out all the stems and leaves. After cleanup and return of the crusher, I started the testing. In the last 3 years, I have found that TA and pH are closely connected, so I will check TA before adding yeast today, but I didn’t check it at all yesterday. I had a pH of 4.02 in the must, and Brix of 25.5. Based on previous experience and calculations I knew that I needed at least 4 oz. of tartaric acid in each of the tanks (this year they are closer to 30 gallons than 35).
After adding 4oz. of acid to each tank – the pH went down to 3.50 – exactly where I want it.
At 6:30pm, I added 2 grams of SO2 (tablets) to each 30 gallons of must rather than 5 grams as I did last year. I checked it this morning to make sure it’s not starting a fermentation on its own because the inoculation is lower, and it looks/smells wonderful.
I am publishing this post now, and will add to it as I go through each step of making this vintage.