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Crushed & Pressed

Chianti Grapes Were Amazing

On Tuesday, October 9th (in the rain of course), all of our grapes from the fall 2017 California harvest arrived at our winery.  Included in that delivery were the grapes to make our Chianti (a Tuscan blend) for our barrel club owners.  The main ingredient in Chianti is the grape varietal, Sangiovese.   Those grapes were absolutely pristine when they arrived, and we were excited to get them crushed and into the tanks.

On Wednesday, October 9th, with the help of some family and friends, we crushed the 2592 pounds (1.3 tons) of Sangiovese in our brand new destemmer and sent those grapes right inside into an awaiting fermenter.  We sanitized the grapes by adding a small dose of potassium metabisulfite (sulfite) to kill any native yeasts and any other potentially damaging micro-organisms that could have made the trip from California.

On Thursday, October 10th, we inoculated the grapes with a “premiere classique” yeast, also known as “montrachet” to start the fermentation.  Starting brix were in the 23 degrees range with a starting ph around 3.5.   All signs looked good for a solid fermentation over the following week.

Daily brix, ph, and temperature tests over the next 7 days all showed steady progress of the ferment and gave us our window to take the must to press.

On, Wednesday, October 18th, we pressed all 2600 pounds of the grapes using our 300 liter, stainless steel, vertical bladder press.  We made one hell of a mess (which we always do), but the outcome was outstanding.  We conducted a hard press to get as much of the sangio goodness out of the grapes as possible, taking the pressures to around 2 bars.  The wine was inoculated with oenococcus oeni lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to start malo-lactic fermentation (MLF).  Now the wine is back in tank and has had its first racking.

From here, the wine will get a daily batonnage to keep the lees from settling to the bottom of the tank, giving the LAB plenty of nutrient and adding some complexity to the wine.  We’ll keep you updated.  Check out the pictures!

Some Quick Pics

Crush & Pressing Days