03 January 2011

Happy New Year!

A bright and shiny new year for us all.  I already have my fingers crossed for a better vintage but I have 9 or 10 months until I know what this year is bringing.  Not being a New Year Resolution type person I don't have any resolutions to talk about but as always I do have the goal to eat healthy and get more exercise.  End of discussion.  And you can just see the pond is freezing.  Maybe we'll get a day of skating again!
In the winery last week I added bentonite to remove the protein from the Pinot gris and Gewurztraminer.  I am going to check today to see if I added enough.  The effectiveness of bentonite is temperature dependent so while I try to keep the samples at the same temperature as the wine what worked in the lab doesn't always work in the winery.  Hopefully it did as we are having a bit of a cold snap, 22F as I was driving in this morning, and I can use mother nature to help me cold stabilize the whites.   I need to chill them down to about 32F and keep them there for a week or two until all the tartaric acid precipitates out.  Depending on the amount of tartaric acid this can cause an acid shift in the wine which this year might be a good thing as I find the wines a little tart.  
Last week, I also added SO2 to the barrels on Pinot noir that are finished with ML.  After adding the SO2 I stir the barrels to mix in the SO2 otherwise it tends to settle to the bottom and then I top the barrels before putting in the new bung.  You can see in the pictures the two types of bung I use.  One allows the barrel to outgas, important during ML and the new one is a solid bung which reduces the amount of oxygen getting in.  I still have a few barrels of pinot which haven't finished ML and I am waiting for them to poke along to the finish.  ML bacteria of course doesn't like these cold temperature so what didn't finish last week may now sit for a little while until the barrel room gets a little warmer, the bacteria would rather be at 60-65F rather than the 45F the barrel room is now. 
 Pruning is starting in the vineyard this week, cold temperatures are helping that too and of course for us it only gets this cold generally when it is clear so the sun is glorious right now.  A trade off and one I consider well worth it, I'm sure warmer weather and wetter days are on their way.

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