Maxx Baqustae

Winemaking anarchy

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I know there a thread about wine about a month ago but I found it a little snobby so didn't reply but I have been making wine for over 30 years or so. Member of a local winemaking club. I get awards and medals for my wine as other members. We have properly schooled judges, wine writers and critics in our club and some the best in the region for our competitions. I started with some cheap crappy kits with a friends cellar (he called his/our wine Morosini Cellars when I called it Bobby's Basement!) but graduated to imported wine juice from California. Now we do our own crush every year when in season. We also drag up our grapes from Lodi region etc. Lately, we have a great relationship with a vineyard/winery on the Naramata bench in the Okanogan. Great product and they are paying attention. You can't buy their wine in liquor stores except for speciality wine shops or restaurants in the region. I have had tastings of the product that is outstanding. $40 a bottle Chardonnay if you could buy it, but you can't. I have probably have 500 bottles in my cellar - quietly ageing and I'm in amidst of the Chardonnay and Shirah grapes in due process. bulk ageing and ready to bottle in another two months.

Did a must/juice from Sonoma from the fall with a Pinot Grigio (a great summer sipper) that came off very well and look at the colour. 

Crafting your own wine is an art and you might never get a 100 dollar wine out of it. But 40 bucks - yes. But frankly, most of my medium product would stand up to 15 to 25 dollars a bottle (in Canada). Cheap ass cellar fillers, top up and back sweeting wines probably 10 to 15. 

But it's craft of doing it; making it better. Not cheap hootch. Some do, but not me. 

Anyone else wants to contribute?        

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I just sold all my wine-making gear. I wasn't getting the quality I wanted and I just got tired of the whole process. Being in a like-minded group would help, doing it solo for the last 25 years just got old.

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Maxx, i've done it for 3 years, but did big reds, and well, the wife is into lighter things.

I'm not perfect, the reds are somewhat tolerant of low levels of perfection, is there a lighter wine that can be done without temp control? Sometimes during fermentation it can get warm around here.

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I've been making wine with a group of friends out of the back of a winery since 2012.  Some cab blends, a Santa Cruz Pinot, a couple of Napa cabs, and one of our better wines was our "ZSPS" blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah which we blended at crush based on weight.  Currently fermenting is our reserve Rhone-style blend.  The Grenache and Syrah are co-fermenting, while the Mourvedre and Petite sirah are individually fermenting.

We let the kids handle the bottling, something they are good at and have been doing since they were 5-7 years.  "Bottled by children" goes on each of my labels.

The analogy I use is that it's like bowling with the kiddie guards up:  we may not roll a strike but the winemaker makes sure we nail the spare, as the winemaker handles the chemistry.

Fun times, and remember:  drink what you enjoy, not what someone tells you to drink.

Cheers!

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I prefer making beer. I've made some great brews that you can't get anywhere else. Wine looks fun too but the wife won't allow more equipment in the basement. 

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9 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

I just sold all my wine-making gear. I wasn't getting the quality I wanted and I just got tired of the whole process. Being in a like-minded group would help, doing it solo for the last 25 years just got old.

I hear ya Ish. Since of joining or winemaker club, 5 years out now and it's an old club, it's made all the difference in the world. It's hard to do a big red but tasting our recent club crush from Shariz grapes in Naramata our going to be outstanding. If you've been doing this for that long, you'd know that. Whites aren't as fussy. There is a club in Saanich and Nanaimo. Often they do well in our regional competition. Offloading our grapes in North Van:  

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25 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Maxx, i've done it for 3 years, but did big reds, and well, the wife is into lighter things.

I'm not perfect, the reds are somewhat tolerant of low levels of perfection, is there a lighter wine that can be done without temp control? Sometimes during fermentation it can get warm around here.

Depends where you are I suppose. Most of our club have a proper cellar and cold room. i don't so I put them outside for cold fermentation for whites as it's pretty stable right now with temps from 5c to 12c in Vancouver. Reds are more tolerant of temp so70 to 80F. There is a limit of course and I'm done by mid-June bulk aging and bottling at that time. Lighter reds, like a Pinot Noir (the break heart grape - had a batch explode!) I can't comment except I'm now consuming a few 2 year old Camenere that's lovely. 

I do get imported Chilean must in late June but a friend has a cellar on the north side of a mountain in Lynn Valley that I can get away with. Cool enough at that time.   

     

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37 minutes ago, #13 said:

I've been making wine with a group of friends out of the back of a winery since 2012.  Some cab blends, a Santa Cruz Pinot, a couple of Napa cabs, and one of our better wines was our "ZSPS" blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah which we blended at crush based on weight.  Currently fermenting is our reserve Rhone-style blend.  The Grenache and Syrah are co-fermenting, while the Mourvedre and Petite sirah are individually fermenting.

We let the kids handle the bottling, something they are good at and have been doing since they were 5-7 years.  "Bottled by children" goes on each of my labels.

The analogy I use is that it's like bowling with the kiddie guards up:  we may not roll a strike but the winemaker makes sure we nail the spare, as the winemaker handles the chemistry.

Fun times, and remember:  drink what you enjoy, not what someone tells you to drink.

Cheers!

Good on ya. It's good you can get a good product fairly easily. Our season is short by comparison but I get juice and must imported from Cali but that's coming to an end and too late to proper bulk age in the carboys. I have had a high-end kit (Spagnol's Super Tuscan) that I have gotten a bronze medal for it. But you have to dink around with it to make it good. I have a freezer full of leftover crushed skins to do a punch down like I did for a second run wine using Zin skins and Petit Shirah juice and I got silver meal for that. it isn't even aged properly yet. 

I agree #13 - make what you like to drink. Don't be a snob. One of our top winemakers does what he calls his 'pizza" wine. Blended for that reason. No pretence; just fun. but damn good wine too! 

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Let's see if this link works.  The oldest kid in this video is 10, on the cork press.  My daughters were on the cork press (9yo) and fill line ("Betty Crocker" time, in a dress, 7yo).

https://bit.ly/2H7h1ar

Fun times!

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I tried it up north, but didn't have the volume that I think is needed to create a decent cask.

 Down here, it's just too damned hot most of the year to get a decent sugar content.

 When I lived in Mendocino, it was easy to get a spectacular red table wine for $4 a bottle if you knew the vintner, and he wanted a taster...... But...... That was long, long ago.

 

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The first and most important rule in wine making is that you can't make a good wine from bad grapes.  There is no substitute for fresh pressed juice from good grapes.  If you don't have access to that, frozen juice is good, you will never get more than an OK wine from concentrate.  

The other thing is if you make red wines, you really need to barrel age them.  Due to the exposure to oxygen and evaporation, small barrels aren't practical.  Fifty gallon barrels are ideal but that's a lot of wine and good barrels are expensive.  Oak chips will help but are not a substitute for a real barrel.  

I will put in a shameless plug for a place operated by some old friends of my family.   I have known them all of my life and I worked at the winery in 1982-83.  They are great people.  They have every conceivable piece of equipment you need to make wine at home or operate a small winery.  If you call them, the folks there are happy to help with any problems and answer any wine making questions.  The family has been growing grapes since the 1800s and the wine making supply business was started in 1964.  They are the real deal.

Presque Isle Wine Cellars

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10 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

The first and most important rule in wine making is that you can't make a good wine from bad grapes.  There is no substitute for fresh pressed juice from good grapes.  If you don't have access to that, frozen juice is good, you will never get more than an OK wine from concentrate.  

The other thing is if you make red wines, you really need to barrel age them.  Due to the exposure to oxygen and evaporation, small barrels aren't practical.  Fifty gallon barrels are ideal but that's a lot of wine and good barrels are expensive.  Oak chips will help but are not a substitute for a real barrel.  

I will put in a shameless plug for a place operated by some old friends of my family.   I have known them all of my life and I worked at the winery in 1982-83.  They are great people.  They have every conceivable piece of equipment you need to make wine at home or operate a small winery.  If you call them, the folks there are happy to help with any problems and answer any wine making questions.  The family has been growing grapes since the 1800s and the wine making supply business was started in 1964.  They are the real deal.

Presque Isle Wine Cellars

Quite right Ed. As I said the product is key but like myself I don' have the room to barrel age so I can't. So I get bronze and silver medals for my wine in competition. Never a gold for that reason. Nothing wrong with frozen product either (I've been told - I usually get fresh product as I can) but again, we have a relationship with these fine people:  http://www.3sisterswinery.com/ They let us know when the grapes are ready for picking by the brix numbers. Then it's a road trip to Naramata. 

But it's not that the fact I can medal for my wine but it tells me how I'm doing this right. My club has been around from the 60's so a lot of knowledge to impart.

BTW - Winemaker magazine I get free with my club membership and a great "how to" resource. 

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Good on you guys that do this as a hobby.  I love red wines, especially big reds.  I briefly thought about joining a club and doing this, but decided it was too much work.  And when something feels like work, it usually is no longer fun.  

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1 hour ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Quite right Ed. As I said the product is key but like myself I don' have the room to barrel age so I can't. So I get bronze and silver medals for my wine in competition. Never a gold for that reason. Nothing wrong with frozen product either (I've been told - I usually get fresh product as I can) but again, we have a relationship with these fine people:  http://www.3sisterswinery.com/ They let us know when the grapes are ready for picking by the brix numbers. Then it's a road trip to Naramata. 

But it's not that the fact I can medal for my wine but it tells me how I'm doing this right. My club has been around from the 60's so a lot of knowledge to impart.

BTW - Winemaker magazine I get free with my club membership and a great "how to" resource. 

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I'm glad you are enjoying your wine making Max.  Nice to see some recognition for your wines as well.   It's a fun hobby that can get expensive but for the most part, it's cheaper than sailing!  Some of the nicest people I have ever met are wine folks.  

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46 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Good on you guys that do this as a hobby.  I love red wines, especially big reds.  I briefly thought about joining a club and doing this, but decided it was too much work.  And when something feels like work, it usually is no longer fun.  

I don't know about that.  The year I worked at the winery was one of the best jobs I have ever had and I've had a lot.  It was very interesting if not sometimes tiring, physical work.  But you're making wine man!   And it's the only job that I ever had that drinking on the job was not only encouraged, but often necessary.  As I mentioned above, you also meet many wonderful people in the wine business.  Winos, you don't just find them in the gutter.

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1 hour ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Quite right Ed. As I said the product is key but like myself I don' have the room to barrel age so I can't. So I get bronze and silver medals for my wine in competition. Never a gold for that reason. Nothing wrong with frozen product either (I've been told - I usually get fresh product as I can) but again, we have a relationship with these fine people:  http://www.3sisterswinery.com/ They let us know when the grapes are ready for picking by the brix numbers. Then it's a road trip to Naramata. 

But it's not that the fact I can medal for my wine but it tells me how I'm doing this right. My club has been around from the 60's so a lot of knowledge to impart.

BTW - Winemaker magazine I get free with my club membership and a great "how to" resource. 

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Great work!  Man, you are up North!  If you ever make it down the the bay area, let me know and I'll hook you up with some places to taste.  Cheers!

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20 hours ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Depends where you are I suppose. Most of our club have a proper cellar and cold room. i don't so I put them outside for cold fermentation for whites as it's pretty stable right now with temps from 5c to 12c in Vancouver. Reds are more tolerant of temp so70 to 80F. There is a limit of course and I'm done by mid-June bulk aging and bottling at that time. Lighter reds, like a Pinot Noir (the break heart grape - had a batch explode!) I can't comment except I'm now consuming a few 2 year old Camenere that's lovely. 

I do get imported Chilean must in late June but a friend has a cellar on the north side of a mountain in Lynn Valley that I can get away with. Cool enough at that time.   

     

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I’m good for storage, year round low 60s. Not ideal, but good enough. The problem is I ferment in the garage, and it can get up to 80 in there in Sept. 

the reds have been fine. 

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2 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

I'm glad you are enjoying your wine making Max.  Nice to see some recognition for your wines as well.   It's a fun hobby that can get expensive but for the most part, it's cheaper than sailing!  Some of the nicest people I have ever met are wine folks.  

Yup. Our meetings, group crush, competitions, Xmas dinners a summer bbq. Nothing to hate. Very social and always happy events. We are doing a summer picnic at our yacht club outstation up in Howe Sound. I'll try to remember to post pics of the place.

 

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2 hours ago, #13 said:

Great work!  Man, you are up North!  If you ever make it down the the bay area, let me know and I'll hook you up with some places to taste.  Cheers!

Sure, I travel for biz and usually to Dago and Long Beach but have been at St. Francis YC etc. as busman's holiday. Have friends on the bay and the delta too. So thanks for the invite.

The interior of BC, the Okanagan is wine country too. Semi-arid like some places in Cali. Just a shorter season That's all. More and more we see smaller wineries popping up and make a go of it. Even went out to the Fraser valley, an hour from home in West Van, they were having an annual half off sale for case lot of their wine. Bought 2 cases of there Dry Gertz. A beautiful wine and 8 bucks a bottle. Liked it so much I'm buying 6 cases next year.

If you want an adventure go to the Okanagan in the fall when the leaves are turning . Lots of small wineries all over the place. Gone of the days of all you got was Chateaux Porch Climber. 

 

 

 

 

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used to make mine at Incredibrew in NH.

https://incredibrew.com/

They have any type frozen grape you want.

Along with aanything else needed.

Stuff is decent.

 

I also used to have all our territorial program managers in for any major software project kickoff.

Used to do the de rigur group dinner one night during their stay, but I also set up a night to make wine.

They would fly home and I would finish making the wine, design labels, bottling etc.

As we deployed the code in a country/region, I would bring a couple bottles with me.

After management signoff that the new system was up and functioning, I would remind them of the evening making wine and then we would open one of the bottles for a toast.

The other was theirs as a keepsake.

They appreciated it better than yet another T-shirt, mouse pad etc.

During the 9 months, the stuff had a chance to mellow a smidgen.

Great way to involve people from all over the world on an evening of fun, and maybe ignite their interest in making wine.

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My father in law taught me to make "Dago Red" ( a mix of Alicanti and Muscat grapes).  I liked a drier red, and started buying grapes from Northern Va vineyards about 12 years ago.  Most of 'em turn out OK, I've had one batch that I thought was really good, and one that caused me to cut my oak barrel in half and turn it into planters in the driveway.   I've got a hand-cranked crusher, and a 100 yr old wine press to squeeze the last bit of juice out of the fermented grapes.  I crush into 2 55-gallon plastic barrels, and age in a 60 gallon oak barrel.  I haven't tried any whites yet, but plan to next year, so I'll need a new aging barrel.  Should I get another Oak barrel, or just put it directly into my 10 gallon carboys? 

 

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57 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

My father in law taught me to make "Dago Red" ( a mix of Alicanti and Muscat grapes).  I liked a drier red, and started buying grapes from Northern Va vineyards about 12 years ago.  Most of 'em turn out OK, I've had one batch that I thought was really good, and one that caused me to cut my oak barrel in half and turn it into planters in the driveway.   I've got a hand-cranked crusher, and a 100 yr old wine press to squeeze the last bit of juice out of the fermented grapes.  I crush into 2 55-gallon plastic barrels, and age in a 60 gallon oak barrel.  I haven't tried any whites yet, but plan to next year, so I'll need a new aging barrel.  Should I get another Oak barrel, or just put it directly into my 10 gallon carboys? 

 

Most white wines don't need oak.  If you chose to barrel age whites, get a used barrel that is neutral in flavor, unless you like the oak flavor in your white wine..  But given the hassles of barrel aging and the fact that most white wines are made to be drank young, I would just go with carboys.

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1 hour ago, Ed Lada said:

Most white wines don't need oak.  If you chose to barrel age whites, get a used barrel that is neutral in flavor, unless you like the oak flavor in your white wine..  But given the hassles of barrel aging and the fact that most white wines are made to be drank young, I would just go with carboys.

I'm doing an unoaked Chardonnay from grapes of 3 Sisters winery. So, of course, no oak involved but is being processed with MLF which is rare for a white. Our winemakers mucky-mucks suggested this. I'm very fond of Fume' Blanc so that is basically Sauvignon Blanc that is oaked. I prefer it than regular Sauv. Has more character IMHO. 

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21 minutes ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

I'm doing an unoaked Chardonnay from grapes of 3 Sisters winery. So, of course, no oak involved but is being processed with MLF which is rare for a white. Our winemakers mucky-mucks suggested this. I'm very fond of Fume' Blanc so that is basically Sauvignon Blanc that is oaked. I prefer it than regular Sauv. Has more character IMHO. 

California Chardonnays undergo MLF quite often. It’s the “buttery Chardonnay” thing. I’m not a big fan as I like my whites more “crisp”. Before I knew what mlf even was, I decided I didn’t like Chardonnay, until I had a French that was crisp. It’s a taste choice. More people seem to like MLF-white wine than the alternative.

i seem to recall almost all reds go through MLF

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24 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

California Chardonnays undergo MLF quite often. It’s the “buttery Chardonnay” thing. I’m not a big fan as I like my whites more “crisp”. Before I knew what mlf even was, I decided I didn’t like Chardonnay, until I had a French that was crisp. It’s a taste choice. More people seem to like MLF-white wine than the alternative.

i seem to recall almost all reds go through MLF

I think that to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings we should clarify that MLF is an abbreviation for Malo-Lactic Fermentation.  This means that malic acid, a common acid found in most wine grapes is converted to lactic acid, producing a creamy mouth feel to the wine, while limiting some of the acidic 'bite' in said wine.  MLF is in no way to be confused with the abbreviation MILF.  No connection, no similarities, nothing to do with women whatsoever.  Not even close.  Period.

Got that Woody (and others)?

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6 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

I think that to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings we should clarify that MLF is an abbreviation for Malo-Lactic Fermentation.  This means that malic acid, a common acid found in most wine grapes is converted to lactic acid, producing a creamy mouth feel to the wine, while limiting some of the acidic 'bite' in said wine.  MLF is in no way to be confused with the abbreviation MILF.  No connection, no similarities, nothing to do with women whatsoever.  Not even close.  Period.

Got that Woody (and others)?

MiLFs can be buttery...

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On 1/12/2019 at 2:48 PM, Maxx Baqustae said:

Yup. Our meetings, group crush, competitions, Xmas dinners a summer bbq. Nothing to hate. Very social and always happy events. We are doing a summer picnic at our yacht club outstation up in Howe Sound. I'll try to remember to post pics of the place.

 

Our outstation up Howe Sound when our Vinovan winemakers club will take place. No roads to speak of and no electricity except an old generator for emergencies. Cell coverage is a little iffy. 40 acres with an old orchard. BBQ's, lots of crabs to catch, walking trails etc. Perfect for a Sunday wine tasting and food!  

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18 minutes ago, Thistle3868 said:

with a creamy mouthfeel.

Well, that took a nasty turn! lol.

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My experience is that home made wine = pisse du chat 

 

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8 hours ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Well, that took a nasty turn! lol.

That's what she said.

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8 hours ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Our outstation up Howe Sound when our Vinovan winemakers club will take place. No roads to speak of and no electricity except an old generator for emergencies. Cell coverage is a little iffy. 40 acres with an old orchard. BBQ's, lots of crabs to catch, walking trails etc. Perfect for a Sunday wine tasting and food!  

 

 

Very nice meeting place Maxx.  Terroir is very important!

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23 hours ago, Raz'r said:

California Chardonnays undergo MLF quite often. It’s the “buttery Chardonnay” thing. I’m not a big fan as I like my whites more “crisp”. Before I knew what mlf even was, I decided I didn’t like Chardonnay, until I had a French that was crisp. It’s a taste choice. More people seem to like MLF-white wine than the alternative.

i seem to recall almost all reds go through MLF

MLF??  (never mind - thanks Ed) 

Edited to add - I haven't ever had a Chardonnay that wasn't "buttery" - and don't generally like that taste, I prefer a crisp, dry white. 

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9 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

MLF??  (never mind - thanks Ed) 

Edited to add - I haven't ever had a Chardonnay that wasn't "buttery" - and don't generally like that taste, I prefer a crisp, dry white. 

if i HAVE to take a white, i stay with a sauvignon blanc.

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53 minutes ago, Trovão said:

if i HAVE to take a white, i stay with a sauvignon blanc.

French Chars can be really good

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14 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Very nice meeting place Maxx.  Terroir is very important!

It's a magical place. One hour and 25 minutes from our mooring at the club in West Van and when you get there you are basically in the toolies. Some cruise up there all year long. Some do Thanksgiving, Xmas day and a party on New Year's Eve. now talk about quiet on the offseason! cruising for me is from early May (up there after sailpast for a couple of days) through Canadain Thanksgiving - and I'm done. No heat on the boat. And October is when our grapes come in so I'm winemaking all the time. As you know you can't just walk away for primary and secondary fermentation. My reds are bulk aged now and ready to bottle in March. I have found that whites aren't as fussy about that.

We do have another outstation in the gulf islands we bought an island in the '70's for 75k. Also, a magical place.

 

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BTW - I have a locker on the boat for my reds but with the whites, I bottle age them for an appropriate time then put them in a plastic "cow bags" which we buy on the roll at a winemaking shop. I put the bags beside the water tanks to keep them cold/cool and decanter the wine for use that day in the fridge. Not having to worry about glass bottles as much.

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10 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

French Chars can be really good

I like the variety of different whites. From Grigio to Viognier to dry Gertz etc. I'm just to rack off some French Colombard that is ready for a second fermentation. The temperature has been co-operating right now. Film at 11.     

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Racked the 3 Sisters Chardonnay last night. The MLF inoculation ended up about right. Do have some protein haze in one of the carboys. But I'll let it sit for a week or two or hit it with a little sparkalloid if it needs it to full clearing. I don't prefer not using finings it I can avoid it.

The second shot is my French Colombard juice/must from the Sonoma region. I was doing a cold soak but brought it inside as the temp is up and down too much. But percolating just fine it seems. Might miss a little aroma but this is my filler wine. Still, not bad I think. 1606724499_20190117_155126(2).thumb.jpg.b74005a04da2ced4de1ab827921eff44.jpg20190117_155220.thumb.jpg.b10b6af1790506495250e3413cdcec0c.jpg

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Those carboys look good Maxx.  I can just smell the fermented juice and the yeast! 

When I worked at the winery, I loved going into the cellar while the wines fermenting and hearing the muted roar of all the airlocks bubbling in the 30 or 40 barrels.

Have you ever used bentonite for fining?  I like it because it is pretty innocuous and easy to use.  I have to say that filtering with a very tight filter prior to bottling makes the whites sparkle like a fine diamond.  But then you need a pump, the filter housing, and the tighter the filter cartridge, the more expensive they get and they clog quickly.  Sure does make the wine pretty though.

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10 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Those carboys look good Maxx.  I can just smell the fermented juice and the yeast! 

When I worked at the winery, I loved going into the cellar while the wines fermenting and hearing the muted roar of all the airlocks bubbling in the 30 or 40 barrels.

Have you ever used bentonite for fining?  I like it because it is pretty innocuous and easy to use.  I have to say that filtering with a very tight filter prior to bottling makes the whites sparkle like a fine diamond.  But then you need a pump, the filter housing, and the tighter the filter cartridge, the more expensive they get and they clog quickly.  Sure does make the wine pretty though.

I use to use bentonite and other finings like Super Kleen (Kieselsol and Chitosan) with some success and that top of this thread is done with it as I had some extra. I only used filtering once. A messy process and I prefer my product pretty naked. If I'm going to use a fining I use sparkolloid as it is a "negative" fining that doesn't strip the wine: For superior clarification of wine Hot Mix Sparkolloid ® NF is specially formulated to clarify wine without impacting aroma, body or flavor. It can be used after bentonite or carbon fining to help compact lees. Hot Mix Sparkolloid NF can be helpful in removing haze left by other fining agents. 

 

It's a little harder to do (a bit) but it's worth it. I used it on the 3 Sisters Chardonnay and it's already clearing by itself by the hour. Look up our Vinovan winemakers club on FB ( I don't know why FB thinks it is commercial as it's not but?) but I also I've known to frequent here too on FB: Winemaker's Academy and Wine Makers Club etc, etc. A great learning experience and sharing info.

 

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5 minutes ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

I use to use bentonite and other finings like Super Kleen (Kieselsol and Chitosan) with some success and that top of this thread is done with it as I had some extra. I only used filtering once. A messy process and I prefer my product pretty naked. If I'm going to use a fining I use sparkolloid as it is a "negative" fining that doesn't strip the wine: For superior clarification of wine Hot Mix Sparkolloid ® NF is specially formulated to clarify wine without impacting aroma, body or flavor. It can be used after bentonite or carbon fining to help compact lees. Hot Mix Sparkolloid NF can be helpful in removing haze left by other fining agents. 

 

It's a little harder to do (a bit) but it's worth it. I used it on the 3 Sisters Chardonnay and it's already clearing by itself by the hour. Look up our Vinovan winemakers club on FB ( I don't know why FB thinks it is commercial as it's not but?) but I also I've known to frequent here too on FB: Winemaker's Academy and Wine Makers Club etc, etc. A great learning experience and sharing info.

 

Thanks for the info.  I've been away from wine making for some time, I only drink it now!  I know Sparkaloid but I hadn't heard about the Hot Mix variety. 

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3 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

Thanks for the info.  I've been away from wine making for some time, I only drink it now!  I know Sparkaloid but I hadn't heard about the Hot Mix variety. 

Ya, it's a little fussier but better quality fining. I have my 3 Sisters Shirah from grapes and about to rack it again as it's coming up to 5 months soon. I usually bulk age for a minimum of 6 months before bottling. I did a second run wine using Petite Shirah juice from California and leftover frozen Zin skins from last years crush. I got a silver medal for this last year and hardly being aged properly yet. A wonderful wine and will be cellared for another 2 years.

I love the craft of doing this. And doing this right. I hate the moniker of "homemade". It's a craft.  

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3 Sisters Chardonnay. Just bottled last night. Waiting to be labelled, capped and cellared. It's going to be an excellent wine. If tasting that young you know that. Be ready for summer. Good clarity too.

Had our winemaking club meeting last night. Of course, we are tasting each other's wines and a cross tasting from a commercial winery that go for 20 bucks a bottle or so. Frankly, we all agreed our wine was better.

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That's really cool. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I'll crack a bottle of my fine Menage a Trois tonight. Yeah, it's cheap but not a bad dinner wine!

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Nice looking Chard Maxx.  Keep us up to date with the tasting notes.

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12 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Nice looking Chard Maxx.  Keep us up to date with the tasting notes.

 

12 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Nice looking Chard Maxx.  Keep us up to date with the tasting notes.

Will do. I found that this very "young" wine is up in the acidic/tart area. Some of that ageing (I usually go out to 6 months in whites) so we'll see. I have two carboys of the 3 Sisters so I'm considering to give it a wine conditioner treatment to tone that down a bit. But the craft of doing that sort of thing is part of the fun; if you are being stupid about it. I brought a 2015 Carmenere from Chilean juice I had made in, well, 2015. It was a hit with some of the longtime winemakers in the club. That's saying something IMHO.

We are doing a meet & greet for possible new winemakers In March. We'll have some of the silver and gold medal wines there for tasting. If there are any local lurkers are interested let me know.    

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On 1/25/2019 at 3:58 PM, Maxx Baqustae said:

 

Will do. I found that this very "young" wine is up in the acidic/tart area. Some of that ageing (I usually go out to 6 months in whites) so we'll see. I have two carboys of the 3 Sisters so I'm considering to give it a wine conditioner treatment to tone that down a bit. But the craft of doing that sort of thing is part of the fun; if you are being stupid about it. I brought a 2015 Carmenere from Chilean juice I had made in, well, 2015. It was a hit with some of the longtime winemakers in the club. That's saying something IMHO.

We are doing a meet & greet for possible new winemakers In March. We'll have some of the silver and gold medal wines there for tasting. If there are any local lurkers are interested let me know.    

Not sure I understand this - would you mind explaining? 

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30 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

Not sure I understand this - would you mind explaining? 

it's challenging. Here's how I think of acid, which may not be 100% right, but probably directionally correct.  

Wine needs a low'ish PH for taste, and aging reasons. Not enough acid, it will not taste crisp, and can actually let bad things grow. Too much acid, and it'll pucker your lips. So there needs to be a balance in PH. But it's not JUST PH, there is also something called Total Acid (TA)

Think of it this way. You've got hydrocloric acid. You can buffer it with baking soda and get it to a neutral PH, but the base atoms are still there, they are just bound up with the soda.  So it's PH neutral, but the Total Acid is still high. It's not like you now have pure water, you've got all kinds of chemicals still floating around.

So - you can add a high PH buffer, or you can try to remove the acid molecules alltogether. There are various fining materials you can add to the wine that will bind to the acid and then precipitate out of the solution. Basically, you remove the acid molecules alltogether.  The danger there is you take out other flavor particles as well.

Target for whites is PH in the low 3s, reds in the mid 3s.

It's always best to start with grapes that have the right acid, but it seems rare that you don't have to mess with it a bit.

 

there's lots more online. Wine geeks put sailing geeks to shame

 

Edited by Raz'r

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2 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

it's challenging. Here's how I think of acid, which may not be 100% right, but probably directionally correct.  

Wine needs a low'ish PH for taste, and aging reasons. Not enough acid, it will not taste crisp, and can actually let bad things grow. Too much acid, and it'll pucker your lips. So there needs to be a balance in PH. But it's not JUST PH, there is also something called Total Acid (TA)

Think of it this way. You've got hydrocloric acid. You can buffer it with baking soda and get it to a neutral PH, but the base atoms are still there, they are just bound up with the soda.  So it's PH neutral, but the Total Acid is still high. It's not like you now have pure water, you've got all kinds of chemicals still floating around.

So - you can add a high PH buffer, or you can try to remove the acid molecules alltogether. There are various fining materials you can add to the wine that will bind to the acid and then precipitate out of the solution. Basically, you remove the acid molecules alltogether.  The danger there is you take out other flavor particles as well.

Target for whites is PH in the low 3s, reds in the mid 3s.

It's always best to start with grapes that have the right acid, but it seems rare that you don't have to mess with it a bit.

 

there's lots more online. Wine geeks put sailing geeks to shame

 

Thanks - I wasn't thinking about the fining process, and to be honest, my personal winemaking pursuits haven't been refined enough that I got to the point of investigating that.  Sanitary conditions, PH checks and some "claying" for clarity are about as far as I've gotten so far. 

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6 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

Thanks - I wasn't thinking about the fining process, and to be honest, my personal winemaking pursuits haven't been refined enough that I got to the point of investigating that.  Sanitary conditions, PH checks and some "claying" for clarity are about as far as I've gotten so far. 

I only once had to reduce TA, that was with a California Cabernet Franc grape. wow. I'de have to go look at my notes but it was damn tart. I had no idea what to do, until I thought, well, that shitty high-ph syrah from the prior year, maybe I can blend it with that?

4 cases of that stuff was consumed at the 2018 I14 worlds, and some of the aussies smuggled the last few bottles back to Oz.

Some famous world blends are actually multi-year wines. 

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:58 AM, Raz'r said:

it's challenging. Here's how I think of acid, which may not be 100% right, but probably directionally correct.  

Wine needs a low'ish PH for taste, and aging reasons. Not enough acid, it will not taste crisp, and can actually let bad things grow. Too much acid, and it'll pucker your lips. So there needs to be a balance in PH. But it's not JUST PH, there is also something called Total Acid (TA)

Think of it this way. You've got hydrocloric acid. You can buffer it with baking soda and get it to a neutral PH, but the base atoms are still there, they are just bound up with the soda.  So it's PH neutral, but the Total Acid is still high. It's not like you now have pure water, you've got all kinds of chemicals still floating around.

So - you can add a high PH buffer, or you can try to remove the acid molecules alltogether. There are various fining materials you can add to the wine that will bind to the acid and then precipitate out of the solution. Basically, you remove the acid molecules alltogether.  The danger there is you take out other flavor particles as well.

Target for whites is PH in the low 3s, reds in the mid 3s.

It's always best to start with grapes that have the right acid, but it seems rare that you don't have to mess with it a bit.

 

there's lots more online. Wine geeks put sailing geeks to shame

 

Yup - you can do that. I'm sure some of our winemakers from our club crush in October found the PH and the tartness/acid a little too high (our winemaking club - Vinovan - from the 60's with wine writers, published wine critics etc) and there were several ways to go forward with that (again, it isn't "bad" wine but not up to our standards). Me? I just bottled one carboy as it is and let it age. The second carboy is just being clarified a bit more with a shot of Sparkalloid (I've used "clay" or bentonite and 2 part over the years but Sparky is my go-to finning if need to; I try to leave my wine as naked as I can). I'll taste it again after racking then if need be, I'll use wine conditioner in small doses until I'm happy with it. Wine conditioner, which I have used before, is basically a glucose-based additive with maybe some sorbate or something to back sweeten the wine. Pretty common in most good winemaking shops our online. I'm certain it will level down the PH and I'm not looking for a science project as I'm a bit of a TLAR guy. Put some in, add a little more if you want to. Just don't use the whole bottle at once. I've had some success that way.      

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On 1/28/2019 at 11:12 AM, Raz'r said:

I only once had to reduce TA, that was with a California Cabernet Franc grape. wow. I'de have to go look at my notes but it was damn tart. I had no idea what to do, until I thought, well, that shitty high-ph syrah from the prior year, maybe I can blend it with that?

4 cases of that stuff was consumed at the 2018 I14 worlds, and some of the aussies smuggled the last few bottles back to Oz.

Some famous world blends are actually multi-year wines. 

Blending works well sometimes too. I don't have space for a full-on blending regime. You need a lot of carboys/barrels to make that happen. I don't. I did a second run Zin skins from our last year's club crush with a Petite Shirah juice. I got a silver medal for it in the regional competition and it hardly aged properly yet. and I'm not out for medals anyway but it's just nice that other, judges etc, that my crafting working out nicely.      

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3One of our winemaking club members "gave" me 3 premium kits as he was sorting out his cellar (yes, membership has its privileges!).Two kits of New Zealand  Sauvignon Blanc and an Ice Wine. Just inoculated the CY3079 yeast rather than package it came with the kit. Some yeast energizer. I'll get going inside then cold soak outside as it will have 9 deg. C as high for a week. I was surprised by the colour. Darker colour then I expected but I'm hardly going to bitch for "free". The kit was stale dated but not for years & years and in his cellar but we'll see how this pans out.   

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Second batch of the 3 Sisters unoaked Chardonnay. It was hard to clear but came out okay. Did the do the conditioner and made a difference for the taste and acid. 

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And it was National drink wine day was yesterday. So got into a 3 Sisters Reisling ( I made from 3 Sisters grapes). Topped off with a nightcap of an excellent Port! 

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