Thursday, January 21, 2010

so it goes

I have told many people who visit the winery one of the winemaker’s challenges is following the progression of taste a wine goes through as it matures. I taste the wine every other week to see what progress has come about, check it for surface molds (yuck!), and check sugar and acid levels.

As an example, I have a wine we put into barrels this fall that I have decided is too sweet, we stopped the fermentation too soon. So I have the choice of re-fermenting all the wine again and trying to stop it at a better sugar level, or do one barrel and ferment it all the way to dryness and then blend it into the too-sweet remaining stock. Which method I choose has yet to be decided, but either should accomplish what we need here, a properly balanced wine.

Last weekend we moved a lot of wine around, “racking” or transferring wine from one container to another has a significant effect on the flavor and character. It is a little more work for us to rack then a typical winery since we have to minimize oxygen contact with the wine since we do not use sulfites as a preservative. The racking process also causes the wine to precipitate out many solids that might otherwise drop out in the bottle.

So the winemaking process goes on, and on, and on. It is what makes winemaking interesting and a constant challenge. But if you do not love it, you might as well get another job…

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