Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finishing Racking

Last Friday we headed back up to Chaine d'Or to finish racking our 2007 Cabernets. I wanted to leave the wine in tank just a little longer this time to let it settle a bit more. Last time we racked the wine only settled for a couple hours and this was a bit of a 'make up'.

We rack for three reasons. First by transferring the wine to tank it lets us clean out the gunk, or lees in the bottom of the barrels. It also lets the wine settle in tank, getting more of the solid bits out. Second it allows us to expose the wine to some oxygen and that helps soften the tannins of the wine. Kind of like a giant decanter. Finally it lets us add sulfur to the wine in one even shot, which I think is better that barrel by barrel.

Sulfur is very important to keep out the little bugs that can ruin wine. Maybe later I'll do a blog on the myths about sulfites, but for right now I'll just leave it at :If it doesn't say "Contains Sulfites, it should say Contains Bacteria."

Off again at 36 degrees and 8:30 AM

Jerry getting all the barrels ready to fill. We're getting to be a really good team at this. Jerry, Stefania and I each have tasks that we need to do, and we work very efficiently at each one. Jerry does the set up, cleans barrels and tanks, breaks down equipment and helps fill. Stef does sulfur and additions, lab readings, cleans barrels and helps empty the tank. I move barrels, do set up and break down, top off barrels and decide on sulfur amounts and wine movement.

We pump very gently at about a level of 5.8 amps, it's actually a little slower than using gravity.

Stef measuring sulfur. We added 50ppm on this addition. She has a new sulfur lab that will give us exact amounts of free and bound sulfur, plus total sulfur so that we can fine tune our additions even more.

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