October 15, 2009


The two fermenters of pinot noir are humming along. One's down to 10.2 brix (percent sugar, essentially) as of this morning. The other's at 12.6. And what about those temps. Cap temperatures are at or slightly above 100F, which is pretty hot and called for pump overs to aerate and cool the juice. Cap temps refer to the temperatures in the raised up mass of grape skins. They can be deceptively hot. It's not like everything in a fermenter is that temperature. Sure enough, underneath the cap the juice itself was a good bit cooler. One bin was 86F and the other 90F, again pretty warm but this is the peak of fermentation and I'll be happy to preserve what heat I can to keep the yeast active to finish the ferment well. Sometimes I get a little nervous about the ferment getting too hot, but soon enough it's back to worrying that things aren't staying warm enough to finish. It's always something.

Meanwhile the third fermenter, from the Zenith vineyard, is warming up with the help of two aquarium heaters. The idea is to let it go until it takes off (begins to ferment) on its own. We'll see how long it takes. Happily, there's nothing else to worry about after this one. And I'm in that nice position of not running this winery, meaning I don't have all these bins of fermenting grapes to worry about. Maybe some day, but for now it's not so tough being a small fry.

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