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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Silly winery tricks 2009

We are in the low 40's - high 30's at night now in Kelseyville. Our tanks are outside and not heated, so sometimes things chill a bit too much. Sounds like time for a winery contraption. This is the fermenting Primitivo, and it is being given one of two splash racks. The idea is to incorporate some oxygen into the fermenting must for the yeast, and also to promote a bit of color set through acetaldehyde production as well as working on the tannins while they are young and gobbling oxygen. But, we didn't want to cool the fermentation down at all, so a bit of engenuity was needed. The wine is draining through a racking valve in the fermentation tank into the catch basin that is positioned over the bin. The basin has a fine screen in it that keeps any seeds or large bits from getting through, allowing seed and debris removal. The level of the wine in the tank is above the bin, so it flows on its own. Mounted at the outlet of the catch basin is basically a PVC tube with glued fittings and a water heater element that is plugged into 240v, warming the wine that flows through it by about twelve degrees. The warmer wine then splashes out against the shovel which allows more oxygen uptake by spreading the stream very thin. When the bin is full, and twelve degrees hotter, it is pumped back over into the tank, mixing it all back together while warming the little yeasties so the are toasty, happy, well fed and ready to finish their job without any excuses. We pressed today, twelve day fermentation and at 0 brix - everything exactly on track and the tannins just right.

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