16 April 2012

Let Bottling Begin

I have been spending the last month getting the whites and the rosé ready for bottling, which will start this week.  We have also been putting a lot of hours into our new labels including building the pages where the QR codes will be directed.  My understanding is that the page the QR code leads to is also under the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulation so until we have those written we can't submit the new labels for review.  We are almost done with those for the first labels we are having done so I hope to get the labels submitted soon for review.

I've also been disgorging more of the sparkling wine.  It's getting easier if not any faster.  Barry came by and help for a little while and that was good.  One bin down and 6 to go!  It really is at most a two person job but I'm planning on having a few disgorging days at the winery when anyone who is interested can come out and see the process and try disgorging a few bottles.  I'll post on Facebook when I set those days so if you are interested in getting notified make sure you are a fan of Airlie Winery. If you look closely at the bottle you can see the yeast beads frozen in the neck.  When the black crown seal is removed the pressure in the bottle pushes out the plug of ice and all the yeast which is caught by the upside down plastic box.  Remarkably effective.

Since I last wrote I've racked the rosé to tank and cold stabilized it as well as all the other whites.  Cold stabilization takes between two and four weeks even with the help of cream of tartar and I was glad we had as many cold nights as we did over the last month.  It helps keep our electricity bill down.  The next step after making sure the wines are cold stable is to start filtering.  I use a pressure leaf filter with Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to bring the wine from pretty well settled, it looks slightly cloudy, to brilliant, sparkling clear.  It isn't actually sterile at this point, the DE doesn't create that uniform of a filter medium but it is close and should go through the next two filters during bottling just fine.  After filtering everything I added a small amount of sugar to the rosé to round out the mouth-feel and reran all of my lab work.  During cold stabilization the wines throw tartaric acid which can cause a shift in pH as well as titrateble acidity. I also checked all sugars again.  It really is a fun test because of all the colors.  And speaking of colors while checking the total SO2 in the rosé the Sodium Hydroxide turned the wine green and then the Sulfuric Acid turned it pink again.  White wine just turns yellow and then back to white, still interesting but not quite as dramatic. And who thinks chemistry isn't fun?

I've also been attending the twice weekly meetings at OSU for the sensory panel.  That has been interesting though time consuming and I'm glad tomorrow is the last meeting.  For the last three sessions we have been evaluating Matt's research wines and I'm curious to hear about the wines and what he is hoping to find out.  He didn't tell us anything about the wines, to not bias us, so I don't know what characteristic differences he is hoping to find but the wines certainly are different.

On the home front Chad has been taking care of more dinners with my bi-weekly meetings and here is a picture of his beautiful Fragrant Fish soup, courtesy of Eating Well.  We also finally got the bathroom walls tiled this past weekend.  Now to grout them and put the sink and toilet in.  The pedestal for the sink is just sitting there because I wanted to see where the basin hit on the wall.  I'm really pleased with how it came out and can't wait for it to be done.

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