Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wines I'm Making: 2012 Cabernet Harvest

The 2012 Cabernet grapes are crushed and destemmed and resting in the garage. We picked the grapes on the morning of Thursday, the 18th, a fairly typical date. We harvested 90lbs of grapes, having lost none to raccoons or any other critters this year. Early application of two layers of nets and the electric fence worked. Netting early seems to be the key, and it's worth it to have all the grapes at the end of the season--although the nets make tending the plants a hassle. For example, this year I would liked to have removed some of the leaves covering the grapes in the most luxuriant plants to have given them extra air and sun against the formation of mold, but it was hard to do because of the nets. Thankfully, this year was cool and dry, and mold was a minor problem.

The crushed, de-stemmed grapes yielded 11 gallons of must. I lightly sulfited the must to 53ppm (nine Campden tablets in the 11 gallons of must) and will let it sit for a few days before inoculating with yeast to start fermentation. The must tested at 25.0 Brix and a pH of 3.54. pH squared times Brix was 313. The specific gravity measured 1.108 by hydrometer at about 70 degrees F.

Meanwhile, the rosé from our Sangiovese grapes is ready to be racked off the gross lees. Today is the 15th day of fermentation, and the activity has slowed greatly. I will test with the hydrometer. If it looks completely dry, I will very lightly sulfite the new wine. In about two or three weeks it will be ready for another racking and should by then be mostly clear. Usually the rosé is ready by Thanksgiving.

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