Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Red hands at night...

Ahh yes, I have them now! Working with red grapes tends to dye your hands a deep, dark, shade of maroon and this does not even consider your clothes. Red wines always stains and yes, we have special cleaner to remove red wine stains, but these are work clothes. The red stains are a mark of honor or at least of effort put forth.

Truth be told this is the work that really makes you take notice of what shape you are in and how old you are. Certainly we use pumps to move most of the juice around, but that still requires a good bit of physical effort.

Recently, we got in a load of white grape juice from out-of-state and the vineyard had frozen the juice to keep it from fermenting while in transit. The unseasonably cold days and nights we have been having did not thaw the containers out as they have in the past by the time they hit our building. The result was grape juice slushy and the first thing to freeze and last thing to thaw is the water portion of the juice.

Now an old hand like myself should have known that, right? Well, I was tired and did not think it through very well. So when I went back the next day to check the sugar and acid level, one tank was 29-brix (very high sugar content) and the other was 16-brix (somewhat low). SO… --I got the pump out and started pumping from one tank to the other until I had a nice 22-brix balanced across both tanks.

Now we just have to wait for the temperature to come up to about 75 degrees and we can add the yeast, then its just another short 6-12 months and it will be wine! Patience is the key in winemaking; oh, and sanitation too.

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