Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great ideology creates great times!

Continued pumpovers and punchdowns yesterday. That process is getting much easier because the the skins all rise to the top pretty quickly, and stay up there. Balling has started to go down quickly (20.5 yesterday, down from 23.3 on Friday) and temperature is rising nicely (24 degrees C up from 20). This means that the little yeast dudes are doing their job by eating up sugars and crapping out alcohol. Good to know that we're not just, as Kris likes to say, making really expensive grape juice. It's looking pretty good all in all. The color is a nice, vibrant deep purple.

We've also begun an informal process of leisurely removing the seeds from the tank. They tend to settle at the bottom and come out in a clump at the beginning of a pumpover, so we've started to just set them aside. They don't add anything to the wine except for some unwanted tannins (as opposed to the desired tannins from the skins).

Today we added 80 grams of ammonia for the yeasties to munch on, and 80 grams of grape tannins because that's what we were told to do. I was on top of the tank for the first pumpover today, and the wine smell was incredibly strong. People like to swirl in the glass and stick their nose in, but I think the best way to catch the aroma of a wine is to put your nose directly above 800 liters of it.

Yesterday was pretty eventful. After a day of hanging out around the office/tasting room, I'd just headed back to the cottage and thought about going for a run when I got a call from Kris asking for help back at the cellar. I rushed back to find that the barrel cellar, down under the restaurant and home of about 250 barrels of maturing wine from the 2009 vintage, was under about 6 inches of murky water. Really gross-looking stuff. We quickly set up the pump to pull water out and send it into the drain out back where harvest takes place. It went to work for about ten minutes, when I heard a loud cascade of water coming from the back corner of the room -- all the water that we were pumping out was circulating right back in. Bleh. We switched to pump into a different drain, and eventually diagnosed the problem -- the roots of a tree outside had grown and created a blockage in one of the drainage pipes, so that all of the wastewater from the cellar was diverted directly into the barrel cellar. This included water, cleaning chemicals, grape skins, sand, dirt, and who knows what else. The chief worry was that all the stuff in the wastewater would get on the barrels and seep into the wine, ruining the entire '09 vintage. Having seen all that goes into harvesting (still with 1/2 the farm to go) and winemaking, I can confidently say that it would have totally sucked. Spent the evening pumping and cleaning.

1 comment:

  1. Well, the room was funky and small, but not necessarily "dingy>"...Anyway, sorry about that, but at least we had a view of some fields and gardens and real actual Italians, and not just the tourist row of Florida hotels! It was good to get into old Rimini, no??