Changing cellar procedures this harvest?

With the growing collection of wine makers, itb’s here, I figured it would be interesting to know if there are any forecasted changes in the works for harvest 2009. Different fruit sources, vinification methods, coopers, etc.



I’m delighted to report that we are updating our “sanitation” protocol. Out with the non-Cl-TSP and citric, in with the KOH and PAA. Hooray!

That’s a good idea, Matt. I had not realized the relationship between the TSP and algae in my ponds, which was pointed out to me recently. I will allow what I have to run its course and then switch to KOH-type products.

As far as procedures here:

  1. I have decimated the barrel program…breaking it down and building it back up, like boot camp with the Marines. This includes taking some real flyers on some random stuff. Should be interesting.

  2. I now have god’s own stainless, and will be really doing some lazy, luxuriously long cuvaisons at slightly colder temps. Going to try some cold-soak vs non experiments, some native Cabernet ferments, some extended macerations, and so on.

  3. Going to try some barrel ferments. Not the rolling kinds (yet) but popping the heads out of some old barrels headed to the scrap heap and doing hand/foot pigeage in them.

  4. Going to try some pretty cold (~50 - 52) tank ferments for a couple smallish lots of Chard. Trying to mix up the flavor profile for the final blend of barrel and tank ferments.

We will be using our new Lugana detemmer on telescopic legs and casters. Also, I have given up the lease on our Old Mill vineyard that I planted in 98’- alluvial soils, extreme vigor, asshole of a land owner- good ridens.
We will be purchasing fruit from a couple of vineyards that I consulted on years back, to suppliment our own two vineyards. This will allow me to spend more time making and marketing wine, and spending much needed time with my kids at the river this summer. [d_sunny.gif]

We are looking into utilizing some Potassium-based foam cleaners on our harvest equipment. Anyone have any experience with those?

Also, Nate as far as barrel maintenance program goes, what are some of the flyers if you don’t mind me asking? We are steaming our barrels once every two months and gassing them every month. This is doing a nice job of keeping them hydrated and clean.

Anyone NOT like steam? Why?

Ryan- By barrel program, I mean purchasing of new cooperage. I have diversified a lot and taken fliers on some unknown coopers, some just unknown to me, others I think unknown to the US (one particular cooper from Burgundy that I’m told has not been in the US prior to achieving representation this year).

I have no problem with steam other than it being steam. Very dangerous if used incorrectly. I would love to have a generator and may get one in the future.

Just got a steam generator a couple of months ago, and so far so good, except for the fact that our wimpy hoses can’t handle it, so we still have to sanitize them old style.
And as I have mentioned elsewhere, I’m going to try some simultaneous yeast/ML ferms this year.

Are you using the goodyear hot-water rated hoses? I get mine from GW Kent -
steamable hoses

You can’t steam kanaflex hose or the like, obviously, but I don’t have any issues steaming the goodyear vintner hoses. I steam everything in the winery that can be steamed, usually rinsed first with ozone - tanks, barrels, bulldogs, parts, bottling line, etc. I personally think that the combination of steam and ozone is the only way to effectively sanitize in a winery that doesn’t filter…

Very cool guys. Nate, the hand pigeage, etc sounds awesome! Have you heard of the cooperage/tonnellerie Grenier?" onclick=";return false;

Cheers guys,


John - did you get it from AWS? We just had them modify ours to improve the speed control on the drum/paddles. The “native” control isn’t very precise - and ours had actually failed last year. What they installed for us controls the power to the motor itself, causing it to run slower or faster. So now we have (suppossedly) a very precise way to control speed. If you have them do that for you, be sure to have the device in line before the switch you use to start and stop the unit. Since the speed control is electronic, it needs power to maintain its settings. So you want it fed with power even when you stop the motor. They weren’t going to install it that way, but my sister thought it through and stopped them before they did it the other way.

I have not. Is that you are looking at to build your vats?

The new cooperage I am buying is Tonn Cavin. Never heard of them before their rep got in touch with me this year. It is not the only cooper I am trying out this year, but certainly the one I know the least about. Should be interesting.

Thanks for the tip, Brian. I was a little concerned about this particular aspect of the stemmer. It makes much more sence to do the modification you described. I’ll have the guys at AWS do the same for mine. We also got the plastic basket with graduating hole size, though I’m getting the standard SS as well, just in case. Being way up here, you need all the back ups you can get. You never know when the hitsfan - just wanted to use that one.

Hey Nate, Rousseau built my vats. I am going to have a few 2 ton vats made up as well. I was originally thinking of going with Marc however. Also, I am doing roughly 80% of my barrels through Rousseau with a few Freres thrown in.

Ah, yes. That’s right. Baby brain, sorry. CRS disease.

I always thought that the reason to ferment reds in barrels was to get better oak integration - hence you’d always want to use new oak. And that maintaining a high enough ferment temp was difficult given the small mass, so it was best done in a heated room. Am I wrong?

The only producers I know of doing barrel ferments were a couple I talked to in Priorat who liked having the ability to pick tiny plots on the day of their choice and ferment them separately. Essentially using barrels because they were small. There certainly weren’t warming rooms in these wineries, though I didn’t think to ask any of them about that issue. Most were using a combo of barrel, wood, stainless/other neutral tanks and/or concrete, based more on having a variety of sizes available than anything else.

We’ve only done red ferms in new bbls, but we’ve never had any problem with temps- we had them in the barrel room last year. We mainly do them in 140 gal puncheons, but lkast year used some 59 gal bbls. The main problem was breaking through the cap to do punchdowns.
We did some barrel and bin ferms on the same lots, and the barrel ferms had better color early on, but that difference is not apparent at this point.

“Oak Integration” should be a whole new thread in itself.

Being a literal and, I like to think, pragmatic guy, I would probably say that if your oak is not integrated [in other words you think your wine is too highly influenced by cooperage] then you’re either buying the wrong barrels or too many of them (or both). Changing your fermentation regime to compensate for this is a solution, but I would think it’s a pretty big hassle to take apart and put back together the barrels. If you insist on changing your fermentation regime to fit your barrel purchases, why not first try pressing off a little sweeter and finishing a larger portion of the ferment in barrel (this of course has its own problems)? Personally, I would just break down and look at my barrel-buying habits.

With Sangiovese, I’m a little worried about overextracting some really harsh tannins while at the same time getting too little color. The barrel ferments will be nice because they will be really small ferments that will not have to run through the entire must pump setup and get chewed up, will stay relatively cool (if they hit the low-mid 70s, I think that will be just about right) due to size and we’ll be able to punch them down with our hands, hopefully not chewing anything up in the process. I can put them on pallets and move into the sun if needed, and any sort of pre or post ferm maceration should be pretty easy to accomplish. The smallest stainless cooperage I have is 5T, so this will also be a nice way to split up the picks and run a few trials. And, in talking to my Italian colleagues, it was something they recommended as successful in their experience.

Why barrels and not Tbins or Macrobins? 'Cause I have a budget. I got a great nepotistic deal on some old S. blanc barrels that will cost me about $15/ton as fermentation vessels, while the last time I bought a 0.75-ton Tbin, it was about $600? And the Vineyard Manager will kick my ass if I have all our Macrobins full of fermenting must when he needs them.

we’re going to be doing some red wine in concrete for the first time this year. Ironically, I’ve wanted to use concrete now for 20 years, but it’s only recently that the option has become possible for a small-scale winery.
(Disclaimer: I’m also selling concrete tanks for Vino Vessel in Paso. On the other hand, I’m happy to share what I know.)

What type(s) (lined / unlined, shape, covered / uncovered) and size(s) of tanks are you going to use Steve?