Search found 106 matches

by Steve Gower
July 2nd, 2019, 10:54 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Best Small Pinot Noir Winery Crusher/Destemmer & Press
Replies: 19
Views: 4311

Re: Best Small Pinot Noir Winery Crusher/Destemmer & Press

I love using a basket press for reds. Our neighbor presses our whites with their big pneumatic. Our press is similar to the Mori in size and design but old and I've never really figured out the manufacturer. For small operations and small lots sizes, baskets are great. We have two baskets, fill the ...
by Steve Gower
May 10th, 2019, 1:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons
Replies: 7
Views: 903

Re: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

I suspect that 4 fermentations on 2 tons of grapes is difficult because she is setup for larger lots. If you're setup for 1/2 ton lots then I don't see an issue. Personally, I believe complexity would be better gained by having blending partners rather than using the exact same fruit, four different...
by Steve Gower
April 11th, 2019, 1:30 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: DIY Coravin gas bottle adapter
Replies: 0
Views: 235

DIY Coravin gas bottle adapter

I know there is a whole lengthy string about Coravin capsules and an adapter that someone designed, patented, and is selling. This is a much simpler adapter, allows switching back to capsules for portability. This takes some basic fabrication skills and tools to build but in return costs less than $...
by Steve Gower
January 14th, 2019, 9:43 am
Forum: Wine Pimps
Topic: Say "GOODBYE' to coravin capsules
Replies: 37
Views: 9505

Re: Say "GOODBYE' to coravin capsules

Its not at all difficult to build your own Coravin adapter. I spent less than $20 on pieces not including bottle, regulator, and hose quick connect. The only fab work was drilling out the cartridge holder and tapping some threads in a stainless pipe nipple. I guess I should take some photos and post.
by Steve Gower
January 13th, 2019, 7:45 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Third Party Shipping - DTC fulfillment
Replies: 9
Views: 814

Re: Third Party Shipping - DTC fulfillment

Well somebody needs the state shipping license if you want it to be compliant. We use use VinoShipper which isn't a shipper but a third party that handles billing, taxes, and licensing. You still use UPS to ship. Not sure if that answers your question. We are fairly new to VinoShipper but pleased so...
by Steve Gower
October 8th, 2018, 11:33 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Hanna Wine Titrator
Replies: 11
Views: 1144

Re: Hanna Wine Titrator

I use a Vinmetrica for SO2, it works pretty well and is a painless procedure. I think a +/- 3ppm is probably reasonable to expect and good enough for most of us. I use it with a stand for the probe, burette, and magnetic stirrer I already had, I also use a Vinmetrica replacement pH probe with my pH ...
by Steve Gower
October 8th, 2018, 11:23 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Yield Per Vine
Replies: 9
Views: 1156

Re: Yield Per Vine

Great analogies. I agree that lbs./vines is a fairly useless figure and that is probably why most speak in tons/acre. I would also challenge the notion that less is always more in terms of quality. Obviously hanging to much fruit is a bad thing, but I believe too little has its disadvantages as well...
by Steve Gower
April 6th, 2018, 5:25 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Wild Yeasts, in terroir, being recast...interesting..
Replies: 4
Views: 572

Wild Yeasts, in terroir, being recast...interesting..

But is that really the important question? Maybe it doesn't matter that much. For those who have done both native and innoculated ferments, its obvious that the fermentation starts in a very different way but finishes pretty much the same. The native starts much slower since it has to build a popula...
by Steve Gower
April 3rd, 2018, 1:02 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Leverani Pumps
Replies: 2
Views: 367

Leverani Pumps

You might ask TCW in Santa Rosa. They aren't a dealer but do have a repair shop that works on most equipment.
by Steve Gower
March 21st, 2018, 3:06 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Syrah in Pinot Noir
Replies: 24
Views: 2874

Syrah in Pinot Noir

Makes me feel bad for that poor, disrespected Syrah. neener
It seems weird to me too but I also feel that if it made a perceived better wine, then do it and own it. Not hide behind labeling laws.
by Steve Gower
March 21st, 2018, 2:55 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Winery pumps
Replies: 5
Views: 749

Winery pumps

What flow rates and what uses do you want this pump to do? Air drive diaphragms like the first one in the Carlsen video are great for the money. Mechanically very simple and run on compressed air so infinitely adjustable speeds and don't need 3 phase power. But of course do need compressed air.
by Steve Gower
December 14th, 2016, 11:44 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Press cycles on a basket press
Replies: 2
Views: 1189

Press cycles on a basket press

Our basket press doesn't have a PLC or automation just variable set points based on pressure. It is a smaller press, holds about 1.5 tons worth of fermented skins with a fairly high percentage of whole berries. The typical routine is 100 bar as the first set point and hold there until the flow start...
by Steve Gower
November 18th, 2016, 9:40 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Fresno area wine retail shop
Replies: 2
Views: 1199

Fresno area wine retail shop

Hello Everyone, I'm looking for a Fresno area wine retailer that is willing to buy wine direct from producers. Does anyone have any recommendations? Either from a winery perspective of a consumer one. If it matters, we produce primarily Rhone varietals in the Russian River AVA of Sonoma County. Than...
by Steve Gower
September 4th, 2015, 1:49 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: What do you personally consider "dry"?
Replies: 27
Views: 2939

What do you personally consider "dry"?

My lab just came back at 1.6 for an Amador zin. 1.6 what exactly? As a percent or g/L and is that glucose/fructose or all reducing sugars? It would make a big difference. To me, sterile filtering everything not .5 g/L or lower would be a bit conservative. Another factor is your alcohol level. If yo...
by Steve Gower
July 16th, 2015, 5:44 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: The future of vineyard management
Replies: 2
Views: 957

The future of vineyard management

Robots don't seem necessary. There are cars, even semi trucks that can drive themselves. Seems pretty easy to adapt that technology to tractors.
by Steve Gower
July 16th, 2015, 5:39 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Why do you use oak?
Replies: 13
Views: 1688

Why do you use oak?

I would rather use the food grade breathable plastics like flex tank personally. I have to say I hated flex tanks. The way the lids/tops are engineered it was somewhere between hard and impossible to keep it all the way topped up. The lid wasn't flat on the bottom. There was always a small airspace...
by Steve Gower
April 25th, 2015, 8:50 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Delta E1 Destemmer
Replies: 2
Views: 1020

Delta E1 Destemmer

If that's a problem, it's easy enough to use a phase converter to create 3 phase power from a single phase source.
by Steve Gower
April 18th, 2015, 1:17 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Stainless Tank Preferences & Suppliers
Replies: 12
Views: 2683

Stainless Tank Preferences & Suppliers

2.5 tons of most whites will yield around 350 gallons of juice so thats a lot of poly drums. Fine for fermentation but not really suited to long term storage.
by Steve Gower
April 16th, 2015, 2:33 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Stainless Tank Preferences & Suppliers
Replies: 12
Views: 2683

Stainless Tank Preferences & Suppliers

With yet another opinion, this thread may not end up helping the OP much. Preferences are no doubt affected by your wine types and processing setup. I don't like VC tanks very much for any kind of storage past a month. Its hard to get the lid set without any air under it and not pushing wine out as ...
by Steve Gower
February 24th, 2015, 2:35 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Topping protocols
Replies: 15
Views: 1960

Topping protocols

Interesting Joe, I have been noticing a wide variation in topping practice as well. I am on the longer, 6-8 week side of things but hear of those who only go 1 or 2 weeks. I usually need 1-1.5L per barrel topping wine. I have always assumed that a longer interval creates more O2 interaction due to a...
by Steve Gower
February 3rd, 2015, 9:05 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Yields, alcohol, hang time, and secondary characters..
Replies: 6
Views: 1307

Yields, alcohol, hang time, and secondary characters..

I grow and produce what I like to drink, too hard to understand fads and change quickly enough. However, my preference is wine with at least moderate alcohol and those secondary flavors. We have focused on site selection, growing Rhones in the Russian River Valley. We can ripen Grenache, Syrah, Peti...
by Steve Gower
December 10th, 2014, 3:24 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Oak rate of extraction
Replies: 21
Views: 1896

Oak rate of extraction

I have used new 30g barrels in the past and still have a few neutrals in use at the winery. They pump out oak quickly and it really easy to overdue. You said Pinot, is it a Burgundy half barrel? I ask because Burg 30's are rare and if its a Bdx barrel I would be even more careful. The flavors of the...
by Steve Gower
November 24th, 2014, 9:46 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Home Bonded Winery
Replies: 10
Views: 1525

Home Bonded Winery

Some cities do allow it. Here's a thread where it was discussed.
http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... =4&t=57900
by Steve Gower
November 24th, 2014, 5:33 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Home Bonded Winery
Replies: 10
Views: 1525

Home Bonded Winery

In addition to Joe's comments, I think the place to start is with the city office. You need a use permit from the city before you can get your ABC and TTB licenses to produce wine. Some cities allow small commercial wineries in homes, most probably won't.
by Steve Gower
September 8th, 2014, 11:38 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: My first rose: To MLF or not to MLF
Replies: 21
Views: 2507

My first rose: To MLF or not to MLF

Good points Andrew and I completely agree. You have to look at your own level of risk acceptance and proceed accordingly. I don't think I recommended my approach, just stated what it is. To me, a high pH rose' is not very good. So low pH and bumping SO2 levels works for me both from a taste and stab...
by Steve Gower
September 8th, 2014, 9:07 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: My first rose: To MLF or not to MLF
Replies: 21
Views: 2507

My first rose: To MLF or not to MLF

Like Andrew, I bottle a rose' without filtration. We do ours in stainless steel and take the SO2 up to 50-60 ppm after fermentation is done. We get it clear, fine it, and bottle as quickly as we can so we don't have to keep adding SO2. Our volume is low but no problems so far.
by Steve Gower
December 28th, 2013, 7:07 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Source of kegs to store wine in?
Replies: 21
Views: 2295

Source of kegs to store wine in?

this. if you are going commercial, do it right. Burgstahler isn't cheap - but they are good and will last. To me, the largest draw back of using kegs is that they suck to clean. If I was going to spend $150 on a keg, I would start with a used Sanke, weld on a TC big enough to get my arm in there, 3...
by Steve Gower
December 28th, 2013, 6:59 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Favorite breathable bung
Replies: 9
Views: 1104

Favorite breathable bung

Going away from the keg condoms as I think they can slip off without warning(you decide about the pun). Never once had the "keg condom" slip off. A keg that is [wow.gif] If the wine is still active, just leave the vent in up position. Been using them for 3 years without issues. I even use them on k...
by Steve Gower
November 18th, 2013, 5:28 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Rotten Egg Smell during fermentation
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Rotten Egg Smell during fermentation

I assume you watered the Grenache back quite a bit. And be prepared to add DAP, RC212 isn't very tolerant of low Nitrogen fruit which anything pretty much is at 30 Brix.
by Steve Gower
October 15th, 2013, 12:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Favorite breathable bung
Replies: 9
Views: 1104

Favorite breathable bung

I like old fashioned bubblers to see the end of fermentation then switch over to the Alasco's pictured at the top for any barrels taking their sweet time to go through MLF. If their slow, I don't leave headspace and haven't had any issues. For kegs, I use the Alasco Carboy Duall, intended for use on...
by Steve Gower
September 27th, 2013, 3:50 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Bottles
Replies: 5
Views: 619

Bottles

Encore! Glass in Benicia, CA has done a great job for us. Not sure about this particular style but the selection is very large.
by Steve Gower
September 9th, 2013, 10:28 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Source of kegs to store wine in?
Replies: 21
Views: 2295

Source of kegs to store wine in?

Corny kegs are fine if you can live with 5 gallon capacity. A Sanke beer keg is 15.5 gallons. The vast majority are stainless steel but occasionally there are aluminum. Don't get those, aluminum is not good for wine use. They usually have the material stamped on them. Aluminum one have more seem and...
by Steve Gower
September 9th, 2013, 7:53 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: question of stem inclusion for Syrah ferment
Replies: 7
Views: 964

question of stem inclusion for Syrah ferment

Its funny, I want to like Syrah with stem inclusion and always try wine by those who used them. And it fairly easy to taste it when they include stems and don't mention it. But I never really end up liking those wines, they always seem to taste like........stems. I have not tried using them in my ow...
by Steve Gower
September 9th, 2013, 7:35 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Source of kegs to store wine in?
Replies: 21
Views: 2295

Source of kegs to store wine in?

Search Craig's list if you are willing to deal with a little hassle of meeting up with someone and removing the valve. Not to mention cleaning out the nasty old beer. They usually go for $40-$60 each. Don't buy any except Sanke style. Also, TCW in Santa Rosa has them on sale occasionally for a good ...
by Steve Gower
August 28th, 2013, 11:27 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: If you are doing a wild/ambient yeast ferment...
Replies: 19
Views: 1312

If you are doing a wild/ambient yeast ferment...

Kloeckera is a wild yeast that smells like ethyl acetate. It dies off pretty fast in the presence of alcohol so doesn't go far into fermentation.
by Steve Gower
July 25th, 2013, 10:59 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Rhone Varietal Thinning Targets?
Replies: 2
Views: 625

Rhone Varietal Thinning Targets?

Sheldon, Working backwards with yield and pruning style, I think a 1 lb. cluster weight is way too high. With bi-lateral VSP trellising for 5 spurs per lateral, that's 10 spurs, 2 shoots per spur, 2 clusters per shoot. That's a theoretical 40 clusters per vine. In reality, its probably more like 35....
by Steve Gower
July 22nd, 2013, 9:17 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2013 West Coast Weather & Vintage Thread
Replies: 453
Views: 31745

2013 West Coast Weather & Vintage Thread

I'm at the north end of the RRV, northwest of Windsor. My neighbors growing Pinot have quite a bit of veraison, around 50%. I am just seeing the first few berries of Petite and Mourvedre turning although I suspect the first Petite berries are turning because they are being pinched off by the cluster...
by Steve Gower
May 1st, 2013, 10:54 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: High Temps (90's) During Spring?
Replies: 7
Views: 756

High Temps (90's) During Spring?

High 80's and low 90's aren't that unusual in Sonoma or Napa this time of year. I remember moving in 2001 when it was 97 on tax day, April 15th. Don't think I've seen that again since. I does seem like we have had more wind than usual which I guess helps keep mildew pressure down. But it could cause...
by Steve Gower
May 1st, 2013, 10:43 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: White fermentation temp control on a budget
Replies: 7
Views: 861

White fermentation temp control on a budget

I built a cold box for around $450 total that will fit two 55 gal stainless barrels on a rack and 4 kegs on a small pallet. I used 4, 4'x8' sheets of 4" rigid insulation for walls and top. So its 4' wide and tall x 8' long with no floor, sitting on a slab. For cooling, I use a 5000 btu AC unit that ...
by Steve Gower
April 30th, 2013, 10:38 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Equiping a winery, looking for good used gear
Replies: 5
Views: 751

Equiping a winery, looking for good used gear

I use a phase converter for a much smaller operation so I can use the variable speed drive on a 3 phase machine. Of course there are phase converter/variable speed drive combos but with a stand alone rotary phase converter like a Temco, you can power a variety of 3 phase equipment.
by Steve Gower
April 13th, 2013, 11:04 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Under row weed management
Replies: 35
Views: 7624

Under row weed management

Hi Emilio, Last year, I flailed between rows, came back with a lawn mower to get closer to the vines, then weed wacked the 3" strip left behind. It still sucked but the lawn mower step was worth it to speed up the rest. I would be interested in a "co-op" weed badger machine if you think that would w...
by Steve Gower
April 13th, 2013, 10:36 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: best way to bottle a barrel
Replies: 5
Views: 1088

best way to bottle a barrel

I'll second what Ken says about fillers and volume. I have a 4 spout Marchisio exactly like the picture and have done 150 cases per day without too much stress. In fact the corker becomes the bottle neck not the filler. Don't mistake the gravity filler that fill from the bottom of the tank with siph...
by Steve Gower
April 6th, 2013, 12:37 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Becoming a bonded winery in California?
Replies: 38
Views: 7041

Becoming a bonded winery in California?

You might download a copy of ABC form 255 Zoning Affidavit. This is a form in the package you submit to the ABC for approval. On this form you have to state that this winery use is permitted by, in your case, the city planning department and that your zoning allows this intended use. If you can get ...
by Steve Gower
April 5th, 2013, 3:22 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Becoming a bonded winery in California?
Replies: 38
Views: 7041

Becoming a bonded winery in California?

Tim, Are you submitting ABC paperwork without a use permit issued by your county or city? I am not using a garage and I wouldn't be able to in Sonoma County. My ABC paperwork asked for my use permit number and county contact. If your location is within the city limits, I'm guessing the use permit co...
by Steve Gower
March 28th, 2013, 1:42 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Becoming a bonded winery in California?
Replies: 38
Views: 7041

Becoming a bonded winery in California?

It sounds like Petaluma is following Napa's (the town) lead on garage permits. I think they allowed it in Napa until a certain number of permits were issued then stopped. I think its a great idea to foster new labels. Even having 600g/250 cases from a previous vintage would be nice to sell once you ...
by Steve Gower
March 8th, 2013, 4:09 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Compliance Company
Replies: 13
Views: 1155

Re: Compliance Company

I found a great way to motivate ourselves to get it done, sign a couple grape contracts. Last year we started the Fed paperwork in May and submitted in June. We had Federal approval in August and ABC in September, just in time for harvest. I felt it was a lot like doing your taxes, the actual fillin...
by Steve Gower
January 24th, 2013, 2:15 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: question about malolactic bacteria
Replies: 22
Views: 2501

Re: question about malolactic bacteria

"monitor MLF by measuring TA." Eric, A more basic question (for me): Isn't lactic acid titratable? A switch from malic to lactic decreases TA or does it just decrease perceptible acidity? Best, Jim If you don't mind me jumping in - Yes, lactic is titratable. But MLF does decrease TA and raises pH b...
by Steve Gower
January 3rd, 2013, 11:30 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Harvest recap thread-2012
Replies: 17
Views: 2241

Re: Harvest recap thread-2012

Sidebar, why are producers so hush-hush about this sort of winemaking practice? EVERYONE's doing it, I saw the queue of producers there. I must be naive, but I'd rather make a killer wine out of grapes that were painstakingly grown all year and do a little de-alc rather than dilute amazing juice do...
by Steve Gower
November 15th, 2012, 1:31 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Request- Recommendations/advice for a winery truck
Replies: 34
Views: 3044

Re: Request- Recommendations/advice for a winery truck

I'm not discounting the safety concerns raised above at all. But for a small producer, a $50k truck is probably a ways down the list of things to spend money on. As far as stopping distances go, I know its conventional logic that bigger brakes have shorter stopping distances. But it actually doesn't...
by Steve Gower
November 12th, 2012, 9:16 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Request- Recommendations/advice for a winery truck
Replies: 34
Views: 3044

Re: Request- Recommendations/advice for a winery truck

I think you have to look at the distance you are hauling and decide if you really want to buy a huge 1 ton diesel for that tiny percentage of use. I have two arrangements for hauling. We have an old 80's era F-250 long bed regular cab. It hauls 2 picking bins, 1 ton total with ease. The tail gate cl...

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