REBOL Technologies

Crushed, pressed, and in the barrel

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
15-Oct-2007 20:11 GMT

Article #0342
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It's done. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot 2007 vintages are now in barrels.

I would not want to be a professional vineyard farmer. Being dependent on nature and the weather is not fun. Now I know why my farmer friends have a difficult time smiling, and why around here so many people look relieved when the Pumpkin-fest (our local harvest celebration) finally arrives.

What kind of crazy year this was...

  1. We had three times greater yield than 2006, and I discovered that it is three times more work. Economies of scale don't seem to apply for the home wine-maker. All kinds of new problems pop up, like where do you ferment and store all that must (fermenting juice mixed with grapes)?
  2. We did a lot more pruning and vine maintenance this year. I've got more to say about pruning, a subject of some thought and best said in another blog.
  3. It took more than a month for the grapes to go from 23.4 to 24.5 brix (percent sugar). I thought we weren't going to make it. This year we went from normally being the first to harvest our reds (usually early Sept), to being among the last.
  4. The weather was really different. We had 60% normal rainfall, then a cool summer, with rain beginning in September, and a lot more rain now in October.

Of course, the wine being in the barrel does not mean that the work is over. The wine will soon need to be racked (removed from the lees that settle to the bottom), and I noticed one of our new barrels is leaking... just a bit, but that will become a problem that will need attention quite soon. (Isn't it odd that in 2007 the best wine quality still uses a technology from 400 or more years ago. It's been around so long that every part of barrel has it's own special name.)

So, how did the SassenRanch 2007 vintages turn out? I don't know yet. Tasting newly fermented wine is like... well... maybe like sipping perfume. It's the nose... so much volatile chemistry is still going on. After a few months in the barrel, it will calm down. Then, I'll have a much better idea about 2007, and where it's headed.


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