06 January 2012

Merry Christmas to me!

Look what I got today!  My first new pump!  For the winemaker geeks, it's a Waukesha 30 positive displacement pump.  I've never had a new pump before.  I'm so excited!  The funny part is that I have wine to move but I can't use it because the pump doesn't have a plug!  I'd have to raid another piece of equipment so I guess I'll just wait and use the old one.  Oh well!  But still, I am very excited.  It's so clean and shiny!  And it came it box, that officially makes it a present.

Okay, enough drooling from me, back to work.  Work this week involved adding the bentonite to wines that needed to be protein stabilized, a slow process but not difficult.  After mixing the clay with hot water I let the mixture sit overnight so the clay is completely absorbed and I have a creamy looking slurry that feels very slippery.  I then hook Argon gas up to the tank via one of the valves and slowly allow the gas to bubble in causing the wine to turn in the tank.  Finally I stand at the top of the tank and slowly dribble in the slurry.  This can take around half an hour depending on the size of the tank.  Finally I shut off the gas, close up the tank and let the bentonite go to work.  It takes about a week to settle out and as the bentonite passes through the wine the protein compounds will grab on to the clay and be carried to the bottom.  If I remember right there is a charge difference between the clay and the protein and that is what causes the attraction.  Please don't ask me which is negative and which is positive, I can't remember and I would be compelled to call a fellow winemaker and ask.

I also checked the ML's on the inoculated barrels from two weeks ago.  They appear to be starting. Yeah!  I saw sparkling in the barrels and we are starting to get the dots forming at the top of the sheet.  It's amazing what gets me excited is it?

I nearly forgot to tell you, the problem pinot gris has been stopped.  Mary and I decided it had come into balance though it wasn't quite dry and I went ahead and added the SO2, sulfur dioxide, to kill the yeast.  Watch now it won't stop just because I want it to and it will go to dry after all.  I can just see this happening.  The next step will be to check it for protein stability, add the bentonite if necessary, and start blending trials for both the pinot gris and the seven blend.  One of my favorite projects.

Pruning has started in the vineyard.  The crew at this time is just making the cuts, later when the vines are warmer they will go back and remove the dead wood and tie up the canes for this year.  If they tried to do it now the canes would tend to break as they are quite stiff from the cold and we would have nothing for this year.

I'm going to go pet my pump some more. 

Just kidding.

Or maybe not?

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