Both our wines were racked today to get it off any remaining lees and oak chips. MLF was started but we think there is a possibility that it did not take or has not stalled. Why do we think this? We are not seeing much in the way of oxygen bubbles passing through the airlocks on the carboys. Testing for MLF completion is an arduous task and we aren’t bottling so it’s not imperative that we know where it stands of the percentage of completion right now.

We did read about a new procedure today we hadn’t seen before; Purging the air from a new carboy vs filling with wine and just adding inert gas on top. It’s incredible to see how sticking a flame into the gas immediately extinguishes the flame.

Deer Fencing Pays Off

Caught red handed! We haven’t seen many deer this year. Our neighborhood has filled in most of the lots and since we don’t back up to green space they seldom come through.

Cute little buck caught a whiff of grapevines and thought he might have a snack after he had a drink from our pond.

August 1 Vineyard Status

We need more leaf topping and thinning especially around the fruit. Some of the clusters are touching and overcrowded and really should be removed, but it’s just so difficult to cut off a happy cluster.

What’s that Smell?

We have read about this from other home winemakers, but this is the first time it happened to us. Our Chardonnay which has finished primary fermentation and started MLF has acquired a rotten egg smell. It is actually H2S or Hydrogen sulfide. It comes from lees (sediment) hanging around too long after fermentation. Yeast cells without nutrition with nothing to do.

It is a common problem that fortunately has a solution. The first step is to “splash rack” the wine off the lees. Giving it some oxygen and taking it off the lees which are causing the problem. The second amendment is to add 25 ppm of Potassium Metabisulfite (K2S205) .. for you chemistry nerds out there. It is an antioxidant to protect the wine from damage from being in contact with air.

Just racking it twice took away a lot of the bad smell. The Potassium Metabisulfite should assist in ridding us of the rest.

Hopefully we won’t need to go to the next – – more drastic step. Copper Sulfate.

First Rack Pinot & Start MLF

It’s been 2 days since we moved our 2021 Breakthrough Pinot Noir from the fermentor into 2 carboys to settle out the gross lees (the heaviest particles the pressed juice which settle to the bottom)

We put each carboy into the same size carboy, keep the free run separate from the pressed juice. Unfortunately we ended up with more headspace in the carboys than we can safely protect from oxygen with just Argon gas.

So what to do? We didn’t want to consolidate the free run with the pressed wines so we opted to add bottled wine to our wine to bring the levels up. This is what is suggested for home winemakers.

In making our choice of what to pour in .. we decided to use 3 bottles of our own “C.R.A.P. wine we made from the Brehm Pinot Noir frozen must in 2019. That way we can still say it is 100% our wine we made!