Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Wines I'm Making: 2018 Harvest

Cabernet grapes, just harvested
Harvest 2018: As rain was forecast for this week (and it's raining right now--first rain of the 2017-2019 rain year), I picked our backyard grapes on September 28, both the Sangiovese and the Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc section of our little vineyard of 34 vines.

Grapes in the crusher
We got 84.5lbs of Cabernet grapes, about 30% more than last year. The must tested at 24.0º Brix, which is just about perfect, although I could have let them hang another week or so. I decided to pick because of the rain and the fact that critters were beginning to discover them (despite being netted and protected by an electric fence). Today, October 2, I pitched the yeast, so they've had a three-day pre-soak, which is in line with my usual practice. The only deviation this year has been that I did not sulfite either the Cabernet or the Sangiovese must, as having more grapes this year allowed me to choose only the best, healthiest grapes.

Crushed grapes--on their way to becoming red wine
We got just over 70lbs of Sangiovese. Normally, I make rosé from the Sangiovese, but circumstances conspired against that. I've been so busy with work and other obligations in the last week that they'd already been on the skins for about 30 hours by the time I got back to them. I could have pressed them and made a deep rosé, but I didn't have the energy, so I left them; this year we will make a red wine from the Sangiovese for the first time in many years. The must tested at 20.5º Brix, which is on the low side. I added 2.5 ounces of corn sugar to the must (all I had on hand), which will raise the alcohol level slightly. This wine probably will be best pressed early to make a lighter wine. We'll see how things turn out....

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