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Shiraz and Viognier happily bubbling away…

The 40 gallons of Shiraz and 6 gallons of Viognier is slowly bubbling away. I have been punching down the red Shiraz wine 3 times a day. Here you can see why. The yeast bubbles CO2 gas up to the top, which brings up the grape skins to the top as well. They get caked up there, and are no longer in contact with the bulk of the must. So, we punch it down, and keep the skins in contact with the juice as much as possible. This also has a benefit of letting the grape juice get more of the flavors and colors stored in the skins.

Right now the must is at 75 degrees F and at 20 Brix. So, it is slowly getting started. In the next day or two, it will really start to take off, and the Brix will start dropping rapidly. During this time it is very important to watch the temperature, and make sure that it says in the region that I want. Then about 2 days later, it will start to rapidly slow down. The bubbles will become fewer and fewer in between. It is at this time, that I will begin to add some argon gas to help keep out the oxygen when I am punching down the cap daily. This will continue, until the cap starts to settle down into the must, at which point, nearly all of the sugar is gone, the yeast is almost dead, and the wine is ready for its second fermentation. I will be racking it from the grape skins, and putting it into 15 gallon gas demijohns. I started to get a 30 gallon container this year, but I was not sure how much grape juice I would get. Definately, next year, I will have to have a different method of storing the wine to make room for the even bigger harvest to come.

But that is another day.

For now, bubble, bubble, bubble. . .

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