13 February 2010

Moving day or rather moving week.

At last blends have been decided and I am in the midst of moving wine.  I have to admit that now I have something interesting to write about and not much energy to write.  The process is rather simple though this year it took some planning.  I only had one empty tank and created a spreadsheet so that I would be able to move all the wine and create the blends needed without having to move any wine more times then necessary.  After deciding where everything needed to go I started pumping wine.  Moving the wine is quick, it takes about 20 minutes to move 1000 gallons.  Lots are between 900 and 4000 gallons in size.
Moving wine
Lees after I start cleaning

The slow part is cleaning the now empty tank.  This is the first racking since fermentation has finished and the wines have been left mostly untouched while the dead yeast and any solids in the wine settle to the bottom where they create some interesting looking and rather slimy feeling sludge that is a good fertilizer.  It can take several hours to clean a tank and I get to build my muscles hauling buckets of lees (the proper name for the a fore mentioned sludge) and then have a facial while I stand in the tank cleaning it with pressurized hot water.  It gets very steamy and I can't see a thing most of the time.  This of course adds to the difficulty of cleaning the tank.  Finally after I get the tank all nice and clean I fill it again with the next wine in line to be racked.

Clean Tank
Tartrate Crystals

 I thought you might like to see a picture of the tartrates I mentioned in a previous conversation.  When they precipitated out in the jars they weren't much to look at but as you can see this wine threw a lot and when it comes off it big flakes like that its easy to clean up.  Otherwise I have to use either hot water or chemicals to dissolve them off the sides of the tank.  You can also still see them in the second picture of the lees on the wall of the tank.  The white wines are now all in tank and recovering.  Next week I will run some lab tests, checking to see if they are ready to be bottled and if so I will start filtering.

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