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Crush 2011 – Part 1 – Viognier and Vignoles

We harvested our white grapes.

It is that time of year again, albeit earlier than last year. I must admit that I just love doing the Crush every year. I look forward to it all year long. Why? Because it means that wine will surely follow! Last year we only harvested 50 lbs of our white grapes – Viognier. This year (the 4th leaf) they getting close to their capacity. We only have 25 of these vines planted, but they still put out a whopping 100 lbs. I expect that next year we might get 150 lbs, but that would be probably the limit of the vines due to the sprawling vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis they are currently on.

To help in this year’s harvest, my dad and mom came over to help. Since there were not many vines to pick, it did not take all that long, but it was HOT. Of course, it would have been better doing it in the wee hours of the morning, but I had not planned on picking them that day. When I went to do my numbers check (Brix, TA, pH), however, they numbers said don’t wait, grabb’em now! So we did!

Of course, some of us had better jobs than the rest. Dad always loves to “volunteer” to do the heavy lifting.

What was really nice about this year’s harvest, is our Vignoles decided to put on some grapes for the first time (also 4th leaf this year). We only got 20 lbs of them, but they taste WONDERFUL. Since there were only a few of them, we just mixed them in with the Viognier, and will have a blended wine this year. 80% Viognier 20% Vignoles. The Vignoles grapes are much sweeter than the Viognier. The Viognier grapes harvested at 20 Brix, and the Vignoles at 23. Together, the made the juice have a initial Brix of 20.8. Which is right where I wanted it to be for a nice light fruit forward wine.

Now that we have our 125 lbs of grapes…

Its time to CRUSH!!!

We run them threw the Crusher/Destemmer. This little machine makes the task of crushing easy. Just press a button and watch them get spit out the bottom with no stems, and every berry slight crushed to break the skins.

This process only takes just a few minutes. The machine is capable of doing 3000 lbs in an hour, so the 100 lbs is REALLY FAST.

I let the must/juice soak on the grape skins for 24 hours. I like to do this every year to bring out some of the terrior of the Central Texas Region of Texas. The skins are a great way to do this. It also helps make the wine a little more complex.

Finally, we are ready to pitch in the yeast. I tend to favor the Lalvin K1-V1116 for my white wines. It seems to help preserve the fruitness of the grapes while having no trouble fermenting to dryness, and I have never had a stuck fermentation.

So right now, it is bubbling away. Today was at 20 Brix, and holding steady at 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

On wed, we will be harvesting 1000 lbs of the Cabernet Sauvignon, so stay tuned for more pix!!!!

 

 

 

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