Last year the late ripening from Fruitland Valley Vineyard created a scheduling conflict with the American Wine Society annual conference, so I got all my grapes from Konnowac this year. I’ve always loved their grapes, and it’s always fun to visit Chuck & Claudia. We got a total of about 3,400 pounds, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Merlot arrived September 16, Malbec September 21, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc September 30, and Petit Verdot October 13. So it was nearly a month of grapes coming in. Ph ranged from 3.33 to 3.9 and Brix ranged from 23.5 to 26.
Crush: In the Merlot only, I added about 10% whole clusters to increase fruitiness.
All grapes started their journey with 50ppm Sulfite on arrival, along with Lallzyme EX-V to increase yield, Opti Red to help with complexity, color intensity and tannin integration. Crushed grapes sat overnight before yeast was added.
Yeast: This year I used Rockpile RP-15, with Go-Ferm, and added FT Rouge to help preserve the natural tannin, create color stability, enhance mouthfeel, and prevent oxidation, as well as oak chips during fermentation.
Nutrient: At the first sign of fermentation, everything got a dose of Fermaid K to keep the yeast happy.
At about 1/3 sugar depletion (3-5 days) another dose of Fermaid K, along with FT Rouge and Colormax, and then toward the end another dose of Opti Red.
Press 10-13 days after crush, let settle overnight, and then pumped wine into barrels (and carboys), yield was over 7 gallons per 100#. Added ML Alpha and VP41 to the barrels and carboys in October, stirred every three days until testing showed that MLF had completed. Added SO2 and racked all barrels on 11/26/2017. Monthly topping up and barrel tasting done 1/20/2018. Next time will be late February or early March. Good time to schedule a visit to the winery!