Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Zinfandel Wine

I made the Merlot last week, and this week I wanted to make white wine, but here were not any good grapes at the store, so I came home with Zinfandel. The grapes looked good. They were pretty juicy, but there a few dried clumps. Juicy grapes typically means a little higher yield, but with lower overall sugar content. My objective is to get the grapiest flavor that I can get. All else can be added later!


Here is the wine crate. Notice there
is some woman's photo on the box. Who is she?
I expect she is a modern day wine nymph, but
really she must be the owner's daughter.
108 lb Zinfandel grapes (Beauty of the Valley, California)
12 g yeast energizer
[no sodium bisulfide this time]
2.5 lb sugar (heated with juice until dissolved)
1 packet Red Star Pasteur Red

I made the juice, and measured the density and the refractive index. I looked them up in Techniques for Home Winemaking, and happily, magically they agreed with each other. The density was 1.094 g/ml and the refractive index was 22.4 degrees BRIX (a scale calibrated to sucrose content in water,) and these correspond to 24% sugar which will make 11.7% ethanol.   To get to 13% alcohol, in the 8.25 gallons of juice that I have, I added 2.5 pounds of sugar. 

I let the juice sit until it came to room temperature about ten hours, and then I sprinkled the yeast on top. I decided not to add the bisulfite because the grapes looked pretty free from rot, and I did not want to inhibit the regular fermentation.

The next evening the fermentation was going pretty fast.

7 Days Later
I pressed the juice and got 32 liters of wine. The wine continued to ferment pretty fast.

I took 8 liters of the Zinfandel and mixed with the overage on the Merlot to make a blend. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Merlot Wine

The 2011 Merlot grapes are small and grapy. I got three 36 pound cases at California Wine Grapes on Fort Street, and crushed them, pulling most of the stems out by hand.

The density is 1.107 g/ml which and a BRIX refractive index of 24.8 degrees. (One degree Brix is the refractive index for 1% (w/v) of sucrose/water.) This should be 13 to 13.5 alcohol, which is pretty good.

2011 Merlot Recipe

108 lb Merlot Grapes (DePalma; Ripon, CA)
6 g bisulfite (added after crushing to kill wild yeast)
5 g yeast energizer (added the next morning)
1 packet Red Star Montrachet (sprinkled on top, then stirred after ten minutes)

Right now the grape juice is very very sweet and very grape-y too.


The juice fermented quickly in the primary fermenter and I pressed it after six days. I got 29 liters of wine. The wine in the carboy is not emitting carbon dioxide fast at all. When I taste it, it seems pretty low sugar, but I tend to think the yeast died some how. I added extra yeast nutrient.  ( I intend to rack the wine, and then add some Champagne yeast to restart it.