Tag Archive for: #SaladoTx

Racking The Wine

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Racking good wine out of carboy and topping off barrel below. The sediment in the carboy will be left out of the wine and discarded.

So what’s next for wine making at Salado Winery Company?  We’ve fermented the 2014 harvest, pressed the wine out of it and now we’re doing the first racking.  What’s racking?  Essentially we are siphoning the wine OFF of the gunk.  Lots of bits and pieces were missed by the first rough filtration that we did as the wine came out of the press.  Also sediment is formed from the proteins in the grapes, that and other molecules join together and fall out of suspension.  If you look closely at my picture, you can see in the glass carboy the sediment that has fallen to the bottom.

The biggest contributor to the junk on the bottom is dying yeast cells.  As fermentation ends, all the sugar has been consumed and the yeast dies.  The last remaining yeast release enzymes to break down anything left to eat–basically the dead yeast cells on the bottom.  Well the biologists call this “autolysis” and for us wine drinkers, that can mean that the broken down yeast produces off flavors, or in other ways, breaks down our wine and we don’t want that!  Finally, racking helps to clarify the wine, or in other words, it helps the wine look more clear.

After we remove the yucky part, then there is space left in the container.  That means we have to “top off” all the containers and that is exactly what is happening in this picture.  This is a gravity siphon and the good wine in the upper part of the carboy is being removed from the gunk in the lower part.  The wine is being used to fill up the barrel below.

The concept is simple, but this process has been quite time-consuming this year due to the large harvest.  I am not complaining though, it is far better to have too much blessing than too little!

Time to Press the “3 Texan” Cabernet Sauvignon

ready to press?

ready to press? (Click on picture to view closer)

The hardest decision for me as a winemaker is trying to decide when to press the red wine.  On one hand, an extended time with the skins could mean more maceration, or in other words, better tannin extraction, richer color and improved flavor, but the risk of spoilage and too much of a good thing weigh heavily on my mind.  I generally press the red wine when all, or nearly all (as seen in the hydrometer picture) of the sugar has been consumed.

Wikipedia.org has a good entry explaining what I am talking about…

“The timing of pressing and the methods used will have an impact on other decisions in the winemaking process. In white wine making, pressing usually happens immediately after harvest and crushing. Here, the biggest decision will be how much pressure to apply and how much pressed juice the winemakers wants in addition to the free-run juice. Some grape varieties, such as Sémillon and Aurore have very “liquidy” pulps that releases juice easily without needing much pressure that could risk tearing the skins. Other varieties, such as Catawba, have much tougher pulps that will require more pressing.[7]

In red wine production the timing of when to press is one of the most important decisions in the wine making process since that will be the moment that maceration and phenolic extraction ceases. Some winemakers use the decreasing sugar level (such as brix measurement) scale and press once the wine has reached complete dryness. Often winemakers will use taste to determine if the wine has extracted enough tannins to produce a balanced wine and may press before complete dryness (such as at 3-8 brix). Though removing the skins by pressing often removes some solids that the wine yeast need to complete fermentation and the benefits of pressing early is often balanced by the risk of potential stuck fermentation.[4]

The quality of the vintage year and the overall ripeness of the harvested grapes may also play a role since in cool years when the grapes are often harvested under-ripe, the tannins in the grape are often very “green” and harsh. In these years winemakers might press early (such as at 15 brix), a process that the Australians call “short vatting”. In warmer years, the tannins may be full ripe or “sweet” and the winemaker may decide to do a period of extended maceration and not press the grapes for as long as a month after fermentation has completed.[4]”

This was found at at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressing_(wine)#When_to_press_and_other_winemaking_decisions:

 

Rootin’ Tootin’ Bottlin’

bottling 2013 Rootin' Tootin'

bottling 2013 Rootin’ Tootin’

On Tuesday, August 26, we bottled 466 bottles of 2013 Rootin’ Tootin!  This wine was made from 100% grapes from our Salado vineyard.  It is mostly 2013 Sangiovese, but there is a little bit of cabernet sauvignon and merlot and it is all from our vineyard.

Stay tuned for the release of this sweet and fruity wine!

Sangiovese Harvest Saturday

premium grapesSangiovese Harvest is this Saturday, August 23rd at 7 AM in our vineyard at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX. Vineyard is very close to I-35, exit 279. Everyone is welcome to join us!

We recommend sunscreen, bug spray and a big hat. If you have a favorite pair of pruners then bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you. Dress for heat, but be prepared for anything. I recommend shoes and socks because sometimes there is pigweed or nettle that stings or a hidden ant mound and I prefer a little protection for my toesies, but you can wear sandals if you like. Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves, that might help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns, so gloves not required.

Families are welcome, the work isn’t hard, just the heat can be a bit discouraging. We will pick until all grapes are harvested, usually around 11.

If you’re coming, or maybe you slept a little late and want to see if we’re still picking, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813, and I will let you know if the plan changes. Otherwise, see you there!

——->>Oh yeah! Even if you don’t come out to the vineyard, this is the best time to stop by the winery and see the wine making in action! Hear the noise of the crusher and destemmer and see the yeast do their thing.  We might even make you help punch down the cap.  3 Texans Vineyard will be bringing their cabernet sauvignon this weekend as well so lots of winemaking to do.

Halfway–more harvesting this Saturday August 23!

free run--the best!

free run–the best!

This is a picture of free run wine coming out of the press from yesterday.  I thought it would take one long day to press all the wine, but instead it TOOK 3 DAYS.  Yikes!  We start all over again pickin’, fermentin’ and pressin’ so come by and smell the brewing’ and wine makin’!

Sangiovese harvest is Saturday morning, August 23 at 7 am!  These are the most photogenic grapes, so come on out and join us and pose for lots of pretty grapevine-lovin’ pictures.

Almost Halfway through Harvest Season

malbec enters the destemmer

malbec enters the destemmer

Chardonnay is nearly done fermenting, closely followed by Tempranillo, Merlot and Malbec.  On Saturday, August 16 in the afternoon, we’ll be processing grapes from Bravo Texan’s vineyard.  Throughout the weekend, I expect we’ll be pressing the tempranillo, merlot and malbec.  Should be a busy time for us!

Did you get your chance to pick grapes yet?  Looks like harvest will continue Saturday, August 23 and Saturday, August 30.  Keep your eye on this website for the details.

In the meantime, stop by and smell the yeast fermentation!

Chardonnay Harvest on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

picking grapes is easy

picking grapes is easy

 Harvest begins at our vineyard on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:00 am and we welcome you to join us! The vineyard is at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX, 76571.

Wear sunscreen, bug spray and a big hat.  If you have a favorite pair of pruners then bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you.  Dress for heat, but be prepared for anything.  I recommend shoes and socks because sometimes there is pigweed that stings or a hidden ant mound and I prefer a little protection for my toesies, but you can wear sandals if you like.  Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves, that might help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns, so gloves not required.

Families are welcome, the work isn’t hard, just the heat can be a bit discouraging.  We will pick until all grapes are harvested, usually around 11 or 12 noon.

If you’re coming, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813, and I will let you know if the plan changes.  Otherwise, see you there!

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Beginning of Veraison

Go,go, merlot!

Go,go, merlot!

Boy was it windy this morning!  Gusts of 36 mph and I am trying to get ready for netting the vines this week.  The very first grapes are starting to hit veraison!  Now comes the hard part–battle with Mother Nature to get these grapes to the end without losing them to birds, deer, raccoon and rats!

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