The first step in making wine is getting it fermented. We have several fermentations going all at once right now and are monitoring them regularly. With red wines, we want to keep the skins in contact with the juice as much as possible so this weekend, we will be coming in regularly to punch down the cap (grape skins that float to the top and become a hard, crusty mass on the surface of the fermenting juice). A punch-down breaks up the cap so that it drops down into the fermenting juice. The cap will gradually rise to the top and have to be punched down once or twice per day. We taste the wine every time we punch it down to see how the fermentation is going.
In the case of our Finalé, we will end the fermentation when the sugar level reaches 13% by adding grape spirits. We hope to end up with a nice dessert wine.
The Brianna fermentation is finished and we will rack it off this week. This means that the wine will be moved from the tank it was fermented in to another tank and the remaining solids (grape pulp and dead yeast cells) will be flushed out into the trench drains in the floor.
We kept the LaCrosse and St. Pepin we harvested last week very cold so that neither of these juices would spontaneously ferment. We started these fermentations on Monday.
We tested the Sabrevois and Steuben and hope to be able to harvest these grapes this week. The 2018 harvest will be finished with these grapes.
Each of our white wines take about two weeks to ferment. This means that most of our fermentations will be complete by mid-October.