Speedy Fermentation

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!