I wanted to start the month off with a fabulous post, given that today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. So a post that introduces all those new people who will be dropping by to the wonders of Two Terrier Vineyards would be just the thing.
Sorry, that will have to wait. The day devolved into a race through several counties and an exercise in negotiating the worst traffic hold-ups the Bay Area has to offer. Well, at least it was a nice day for a drive.
Not that there wasn’t some wine stuff going on. Today was a day for punchdowns of all the Cabernet we harvested last Thursday, and a day for racking the Mourvedre and Grenache from one steel tank to another. “Why?” you ask. Because dead yeast is still filtering down to the bottom of the tank and when we “rack”, which is a fancy word for stick a hose in one tank and pump the stuff into another, we leave behind a few inches of wine and lots of sediment. Do this several more times and you start to get a clarified wine. “And how do you know you are really getting rid of all that nasty dead yeast?” you ask next. Sometimes the method is very low tech.
Then again, sometimes you have to trot out all that fun equipment.
Looks like our Grenache and Mourvedre are registering very low on the scale. Here are the results in ppm or parts per million.
Don’t quiz me any more on this subject. I’ll have to get Andy to write a science-y guest post. I handle the more fun and less exacting work like punchdown. Or adding yeast.
Yes, you can let it all ferment naturally. And that’s what Cousin John is doing with his share of the Cabernet. But here’s the risk you run: there is yeast everywhere, on your skin, in the air. Who knows if you’ll get the fermentation results you want. Better to add a small bit of sulfite to kill the surface yeast, then add a good old UC Davis formulated yeast to the mix. It’s reliable, it’s consistent and it’s fun to mix up in a bucket and add to the vats. That’s called “pitching the yeast”.
And that was all the winemaking for me today. I was in the car, out of Sonoma County, up through Napa County and into Lake County to collect my mother for an appointment she has down this way. Hey, here’s lovely shot of Napa, specifically the Mayacamas Range.
Then home again, home again jiggety jig. Well, not really. Once we got into Napa Valley on the Silverado Trail, we poodled along behind trucks pulling winery equipment out of the fields (just about everything has been picked now except for Late Harvest Zinfandel).
Tomorrow we’ll see what San Mateo County has in store for me as I head down to Stanford.