October 10, 2009

Last fruit in today

What a satisfying day. Today saw the last pinot noir in at the winery, including a ton or so of Pommard clone from Zenith vineyard for my label. Gorgeous fruit, big clusters but not such large berries. Rather, lots of middle and sometimes tiny berries, more than I ever remember seeing on a cluster. Flavors were sweet and ripe with nicely tart acidity. For the second harvest in a row, Zenith fruit is the best I've seem. Nice job Tim Ramey and company.

One of my two bins of pinot noir from earlier this week smelled pretty strongly of acetone this morning. That's not uncommon during cold soak, and is something that will cause winemakers to "kick off" fermentation. The ethyl acetate that gives this nail polish remover smell comes from apiculata yeast that usually start wild fermentation. They operate well at cold temperatures, but don't tolerate alcohol and die off once fermentation gets going in earnest. The ethyl acetate they produce apparently gets metabolized during fermentation, or whatever happens, the smell goes away pretty quickly. After the bin was punched down it didn't smell anymore, nor several hours later in the day. I think there was just a little activity on the surface. We'll kick off fermentation tomorrow. No worries.

So now I have three fermenters of pinot noir safely in the winery. No more worrying about the weather, now it's all about vinifying the grape juice into wine. Lots can go wrong, sure, but this is good fruit and I'm confident all will go well. 2009 should produce delicious wine, and that's the right way to start a wine business.

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