08 March 2010

Finally Filtering

I am so sorry.  I wrote this last week, needed a picture from home and then didn't get it posted.  I am filtering Muller as I type and fingers crossed it is going well.  I really hope to be done today.  Then I can set up for bottling.  I also wanted to let you know that the tasting room is now open for business on the weekends.  Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm, if you are going to be early or late give Mary a call first and make sure she will be around: 503-838-6013.  As always we are open by appointment or by chance during the week.  Come out and taste what I have been working on!

Well paradise was wonderful and as always the geckos were fun, the snorkeling great and the hiking breathtaking.  The changes in the landscape on the big island of Hawaii are amazing.  On the walk to the green sand beach if you look left it could be the high dessert of eastern Oregon and then you look right and see the crashing blue-green surf of the Pacific with whales spouting in the the distance.  We didn't visit everywhere we had planned, it was my husband's first time to Hawaii, but instead got caught up in the local way and spent a few days doing nothing.  It was great to see my parents and spend some time with them in their almost complete new home.  My mother has taken cooking on a gas grill to a fine art though I think she might be ready for the kitchen to be finished.  Cabinets were in and counter tops on order so the end is in sight.
Being home is good as well and the kittens were very glad to see us, boy did they grow in a week.  I think they were purring the first 24hrs solid and not having to sleep in the garage, heaven!

Being at home means back to work and I have been in the thick of it.  Filtering has at last started and has been going very well.  I have a sneaking suspicion that vacation may be part of it.  Normally the wines don't get to settle for as long as they did this year and so they are quite clear before I even start. 
I use diatomaceous earth (DE) to filter the wine, the same as is used in swimming pool filters.  The DE builds on the screens inside the filter and eventually forms a cake through which the wine passes.  The particles in the wine get caught by the DE and brilliant (the technical term for very clear) wine comes out the other side.  The wine enters the machine, called a pressure leaf filter, on the right and exits on the left in the picture.  I can filter between 1100 and 2200 gallons on wine in a run which takes about 3-5 hours.  Yes, I agree that is a huge variance in the amount of wine but there are so many factors including I am almost chagrined to admit user error.  In my defense there are 12, yes 12, valves on the machine and failing to either open or close one of them at the correct time can cause the filter to break down and I am sad to admit I still mess something up at least twice a season.  On a positive note I haven't fired any wine onto the ceiling since we had it repainted three years ago.  By break down, so you don't think I am breaking the machine, I mean that the pressure changes enough inside the machine that the cake is cracked and stops collecting the particulates in the wine, ergo it stops being brilliant and starts being cloudy.  Arghh!!!!  The end is in sight though, I should be done Monday or Tuesday of next week.

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