April 19, 2010

Bottling my 2008 Zenith pinot in the garage

I spent most of Sunday bottling my last homemade wine, the 2008 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard. It was a great day, the culmination of nearly a decade of home winemaking, finishing as it began. Out in the garage, by myself, listening to the radio, working quietly. I love making wine commercially but I'll miss the simplicity of the garage.

Here's a shot of the barrel in the converted water closet out in the garage (apologies for the crummy iPhone photos...).

I bought the barrel from a local winery. It was new in 2005 but I paid a pittance for it after only 3 years of use. Yes, it's French oak (people always ask). The cooper is Sirugue. I love their brand.

To touch up the wine with a little sulfur at bottling, I rack into 5 gallon carboys with a tiny bit of SO2 solution. Then I use a barrel turned on end to fill the bottles. Here, I'm at the bottom of the barrel so I rack into a tub to maximize gravity flow, then gently pour into the carboy.

Here's a shot of many, many newly corked bottled with the floor corker on the right and mags slowly filling (giving me time to take the shot).

In the end, I got exactly 23 cases of 750ml bottles and two cases of 1.5L mags. There wasn't much sediment after a careful racking last summer. The last bottle I filled came from the minor sludge from the very bottom of the barrel, collected by rotating the barrel upside down with the tub directly beneath. We'll drink that once it settles.

Now all that's left is printing one final homemade label run, before we go with a redesign for the first commercial release later this year. Here's the proof.

How's the wine? I'll leave it up to you. Let me know if you want to try it. I will say I'm definitely the happiest with it of anything I've made...and I wish I had a whole lot more. I'm looking at doing one final garage tasting in May, date to be determined. You're all invited, but email me vincent.fritzsche[at]gmail[dot]com so I know you're interested.

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