Did a brix test in the field today. The Chardonnay is a disappointing 5-8º on Sept 6! The Pinot Noir is around 10-14º. Without another 2 weeks of warm weather we may be in a situation where we will have to pick and chaptilize (add sugar).
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.
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!
This years Pinot Noir is on high speed fermentation. We pitched the yeast and yeast starter on July 12. The must was pretty cold ~ on the cusp of too cold 66-68º. We put a little heat in the room and 36 hours later it kicked off.
In fermenting red wine you need to keep punching down the “cap” that forms as a result of the yeasts eating up the sugars and producing co2. The punchdown keeps the must from drying out and keeps the skins in contact with the juice to extract color and tannins.
This batch is requiring a punchdown 3-4 times a day. It nearly reforms just as soon as we punch it down. It’s also fermenting very fast. Yesterday our brix was 24º (percentage of sugar) and today it’s down to 10º. We aren’t sure why as the temperature is right. Perhaps this strain of yeast Lalvin Bourgovin RC212 is just fast acting.
Today we’ll pitch in Fermaid K, a yeast nutrient to help the yeast finish the job without getting “stuck” or “sluggish” .. which it doesn’t seem like a possibility. Hopefully it won’t kick it into overdrive!