2023 Vintage – Zinfandel

Sauvignon Blanc
September 10th, 2023
I had a convenient opportunity to do a side project of white wine this year. The Cal Wine Broker sent an email offering Sauvignon Blanc (a white I was interested in) on a weekend I wasn’t particularly busy on. Sign me up!

After meeting at 6:30am at a Brentwood gas station we went to Serendipity Cellars and I got to pick my own grapes almost exactly here. I picked for 1.5 hours filling some totes I brought. The clusters were really tight onto the vine and finding where to snip was difficult. Some of the clusters had vine rot which I skipped over. But all in all it looked pretty good. I didn’t really have a good sense of weight, but I left after about 1.5 hours and had 178 lbs and paid 80 cents for a total of $132. (A little less since I think he tared some of the weight away for the totes).

I took it home and through it through the crusher/destemmer. It was very easy! I made a DIY press drilling a ton of 1/8″ holes in an old bucket and using my cap puncher and my body weight to squeeze it out. I think I had to get most of it out, I was pleased with how much I extracted. I put them in buckets, but then later in carboys and it was two full carboys at the end of it. I added 50ppm SO2 immediately after the press, and pitched DYW56 ICV-D47 Dry Wine Yeast (8 g) of yeast at the 24 hour mark. The airlock went crazy for a few days! On September 18th, I added bentonite, 4tsp in 1c of hot water for each carboy. I might be too late for this as they say to do it during active fermentation as it’s really volatile. Doing it now the bentonite might just go to the bottom and be less effective, we’ll see. I should rack this to clean carboys in a week or so, then they just age.

September 24th, 2023
Ok, now for the main event. I went back to the same Lodi Zinfandel from last year. I was busy this year and didn’t have a ton of time to search around, and his price is great. I was told before the pick that the grapes might not be super ready, but I was ok with that since this was the only day my dad and brother could do it. I kinda didn’t have any other choice. I got there at 10am and he had picked 1000# already and went back out to pick 250# while we loaded. He never weighed anything, but I think it was in the ballpark. We loaded the 3 big fermentors and ~4 smaller totes full of grapes and had plenty of bed space in colin’s big truck. It took us 30 min to load. We went home and crushed/destemmed it all in about 40 minutes. We are really getting good at this! We were done (before cleaning) at 1pm. The cleaning was another story, I hosed everything down pretty good. But I really have to wipe all surfaces by hand. The sirup-y feel just doesn’t go away otherwise. I used my new “press” from above as a strainer and strained away 6 gal for rose, and then I have the three big fermentors full of must plus one bucket.

The brix was a little concerning. The three tubs are 22, 20 and 21. That is low! I put 50ppm SO2 on all of it. And I pitched yeast at the 24 hour mark and began to punch the cap twice a day.