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Birth of a Vineyard!

Vines waiting to be planted

We have finally done it! Jay and I planted a real test block of grapes vines! At the end of April we headed over to Inland Dessert in Benton City WA to pick up our vines. 100 in total: 25 Malbec, 25 Cabernet Franc, 25 Pinot Noir and 25 Pinot Blanc. Then, the following week, in early May, we finally planted them, about

First vine planted!

one month late, but luckily the ground is still quite moist and plants are still dormant. I had no idea how long it would take to plant them, but we finished in just 6 hours! Now, I have an idea of what it will be like to plant the next planting. But what to plant next?

At our next visit, a month later, a fairly large percentage of the vines had started to break bud or just plain leafed out and started to “vine up”! The straglers of the bunch, oddly enough, were the Malbec. Strange, becuase of all the varities we planted, the Malbec had the largest, beefiest root systems.

The vineyard one month later.

Our next visit, which will be Fourth of July weekend, is greatly anticipated as the weather has heated up a bit, with a few days already reaching up into the low eighties!

In July, we are taking a much needed vacation in Canada, just over the border, up the Canadian side of the Okanagan Valley to check out their many wineries. I see lots of both Pinot Noir and Blanc listed, as well as some lesser know varities like Kerner, a German hybrid. Ice wines and late harvest are also on the list of wines to check out!

Hopefully, the next time I post, I will have even more growth to show off, provided I have set the irrigation to enough time and frequency. We shall see!

Cabernet Franc blooms!

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My first Wine: Part 5

Well, after having racked both carboys of wine several weeks ago, I thought it was about time I ran some labs on them.

So I took some samples to school and ran SO2‘s, pH and TA (titratable acidity) tests, as well as doing a chromatography test on them. This test tells me whether the wines have converted malic acid to latic acid. Malic is a harder/sharper acid; think sour apple. Lactic acid is much softer. As I suspected from tasting as well as watching pH and TA’s go up and down, it looks like the Petite Verdot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend have almost completely converted to latic acid. The Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon still have a way to go.

Chromatography Test

After going through all the trouble of running an SO2 test on my wines, I realized that I had used the wrong strength of NaOH, so I’m still not sure how much free SO2 is present. So I decided I will run them again once they are through with malic/latic conversion. I won’t want to add any now anyway, since that would stop the conversion process.

My First Wine!

This is my first attempt at making wine from grapes, rather than using a kit with juice. I hope I will have better results.

Day 1. Hung out with Brad Sherman of Gecko winery where I have been volunteering and got a bucket full of Sangiovese grapes.

Day 2: Added SO2 around 1pm.

Day 3. Added yeast nutrients and Red Star yeast-Pasteur Red apx. 1230p.m. Don’t have brix reading yet, I will have to take some berries to class tonight and use a refractometer. Staring to smell good! Tomorrow will have to get some wood chips and more carboys!

Will probably get some Cabernet Sauvignon this Saturday! I am thinking super Tuscan!

Stay tuned!

Dexter inspects the grapes!