While most people were enjoying their Labor Day weekend at the beach or picnicking with friends, many of my fellow Iowa winemakers were busy picking wine grapes and processing them.
I thought it might be interesting to share some of my winemaker notes with you. These particular notes represent my efforts to craft a medium-bodied, Marechal Foch red table wine.
Grower: Tom and Vicki Capper (Old Mans Creek Vineyard)
Quantity: Purchased 156lbs.
Quality of Grapes: After two weeks of heavy rain (3-11 inches) the berries we picked were in remarkably good shape. Although there were some indications of rot in some berries (we left those) but some probably got into our bins. The berries were mostly sound, few greenies, and few light red berries, but overall the berries were very good. We harvested on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (9-6-09).
Marechal Foch Table Wine
Background: We wanted a medium bodied, low-herbaceous Foch wine, so we wanted to press early.
Brix: 21.2 (potential alcohol: 11.7%)
SO2 Addition: 1.5 grams (30ppm, sound quality grapes).
Pressed: 9-8 (t=36 hours)
Yeast: Inoculated at t=18hours (9-7) in morning (8 gram yeast).
Go Ferm: added with yeast (10 gram).
Quantity of must before pressing: ~11 gallons. (note: I didn’t press as hard as I could).
Quantity of juice after pressing: ~5.5 gallons
Notes: We had spontaneous fermentation on the morning of 9-7 and promptly inoculated must with cultured yeast. We also added 4 grams of VRSupra Tannin (2x more than I was supposed to – doh!).
9/7/09: Inoculated with yeast
9/8/09: Pressed must; very dark juice
9/9/09: Hydrometer: Brix = 13.5; added 4 grams of Fermaid K
9/10/09: Fermentation going very well
9/11/09: Fermentation slowing down and nearing completion; tastes and smells good.
9/13/09: Added: Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) - rehydrated with Acti-ML (nutrient). FYI: The LAB will convert the sharp tasting Malic acid in the wine to the more smooth Lactic acid. *Note: need to be careful about oxygen ingress from here forward as alcohol fermentation is nearly complete.