Transfering the 2012 Brianna which just got out of cold stabilization. We try to combine processes when possible so we are also filtering it down a bit to clean it up. It is looking and Tasting GREAT!! Should be bottling in a few months.
We spent the day yesterday (10.09) transferring the 2012 Frontenac, Marquette, and Chambourcin from the stainless steel tanks into our oak barrels where the wines will age for 6-8 months- affecting the tannins, texture and adding complexity to the wines flavors and aromas. Aging in oak can add flavor notes of caramel, cream, smoke, spice, vanilla, black pepper and deliciousness...
Labeling the remaining 2011 Frontenac today! Aged in American oak for 8 months, our Frontenac has a bright acidity on the palate and embodies pepper and oak aromas with a lingering, delicous berry finish... It is a dry red in that it does not have any remaining sugar, to it but doesn't have too much of a "dry mouth-feel" to it because tannin levels are very low. When we released the 2011 vintage we started with 180 cases. The grapes grown for this yummy dry red were harvested from Beyer's Vineyards in Mitchell, IA- Zaniela's outside of Matlock, IA- and Sticks 'n Stones Vineyards in Milford, IA.
The long awaited Blueberry and Raspberry are almost done!! There have been a lot of sad customers since we sold out in early October but another few weeks and they should be bottled and ready to go home with you. The video above shows how much CO2 is produced as yeast turn the sugar in juice into alcohol. It's a pretty cool process!
Bottling delicious citrus...
The first bottling of 2011 has come!!!! Our La Crescent has rich citrus, peach, and apricot aromas with a nice crisp acidity. If you liked the 2010 La Crescent they you'll love the 2011. Our friends at Train Wreck Winery in Algona, IA decided to come and lend a hand which was extremely helpful! We were able to bottle 100 cases in about three hours. The wine went from the tank through our plate and frame filter (filtered down to .5micron) show in the first pic below, then on to our membrane filter which gets the wine down to .45 micron and on to the bottle filler.
A little peak at the bottling line.... One variety down, just eleven more to go!
After the wines have finished with fermentation we go through a few different steps to get them ready for bottling. One of the first steps is to cold stabalize the wines. This involves using our glycol chiller and jacketed tanks. The chiller cools a water-glycol solution down to about 15F and that solution is then pumped around the jacket of the tank whenever the temperature controller on the tank asks for coolant. This step forces some of the salts in the wine to crystallize and fall to the bottom of the tank making the wine more stable.
NEW BARRELS!! I love it! This year each of the dry reds ( Marquette, Chambourcin, and Frontenac ) will be in half 1 year old oak and half new oak barrels. This should make the aging periods slightly longer and also have different flavor effects on the wine. The second row of barrels has really changed the feel of the barrel room and makes it very elegant.
It's harvest time for the vineyards we have the opportunity to work with! This means some late nights in the winery production room---of which we are so grateful to have! The concrete, drains, crusher/de-stemmer, and press all make life easier... Last weekend we were working on La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, and Brianna---all currently in their tanks and fermentation has begun! Yesterday (9.4.11) Will headed out bright and early to Michelle, IA to the Beyer's vineyard once again where he worked with a wonderful crew of pickers to harvest 3 bins (800 lbs each) of Marquette. We also had a bin full of beautiful Marquette delivered from Milford, IA---with more to come within the next week... We hope to get our first half-crop in our own vineyard next year... La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, and Brianna should be ready to bottle in 3-4 months --- and our reds ready possibly in 6 months or longer. We are very excited for our 2011 wines!!
Watch as we de-stem and crush our 2011 Marquette grapes. Typically we use our forklift throughout the crush to transfer the fresh grapes into the hopper and through the crusher/destemmer, but as went, the fork lift ran out of gas and the backup had a faulty valve
2011 La Crescent -- Frontenac Gris -- and Brianna harvest and crush