Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Fermentation---at last!

It's been a long, long, & difficult harvest season in California this year.  Spring rains that knocked the pollen off the flowers and resulted in drastically reduced yields followed by cool summer temperatures that extended into fall.  Many vineyards failed to reached maturity and the fruit was left to rot on the vine.

I've been patiently waiting for my grape order to arrive.  Almost a month later than usual, the Koch Vineyard cabernet sauvignon reached maturity and was harvested.  Of course--it arrived on the East Coast just in time for our Snowtober.  Thankfully, the emergency back-up generators at M&M kept it cool.  I was simply unable to receive the fruit after it arrived, so I had M&M crush/destem and freeze the must until I could get down to CT to pick it up.  The Koch cab sauv was actually the ONLY thing in my order that arrived on the East Coast.  Everything else either failed to mature or West Coast wineries snatched it all up.  But, my broker Nick was able to find some replacements for the rest of what I had ordered.  What a guy!

The line-up for 2011:

32 gallons of Koch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Suisan Valley)
23 gallons of Lambert Ridge Syrah (Suisan Valley)
12 gallons of Paso Robles Grenache Noir
14 gallons of Lambert Ridge Carignane (Suisan Valley-a special fermentation treat for Shawna)

Now, this will be the absolute latest that I've ever fermented wine and is pushing the envelope of my creativity to get the frozen must thawed and warm enough for the yeast to be fruitful and multiply.  Here's some pictures of what I've resorted to.  The fermentors are clustered around a space heater and then covered with blankets to contain the heat as much as possible.  So far, it's working.  Must temperature after innoculation is ~70 °F and cap formation was evident within 18 hrs.  I'd like to spike the temperature to at least 85 °F so will continue the heat tent treatment, especially as the temperature dips below 32 °F at night.


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