Spring Update 2015

Spring Party
Thanks to everybody who attended the Spring Wine Club Party. I have posted some pics below from Brittany. Here are the results of the blind taste test:

American Oak Single – 2
American Oak Double – 3.8
French Oak Single – 4.2
French Oak Double – 5
No Oaking – 3
Charles Shaw – 3.8

Heavier French Oak seems to be the favorite, and, apparently 2 Buck Chuck is better than our currently un-oaked wine :-/

Based on your expensive taste for Double French Oak above, Leah and I picked up some French Oak and added it to all the kegs accordingly. We didn’t opt for a double batch; we’ll leave it like this and reevaluate in a couple months or so.

Leah and I recently racked all of the wine around with the hopes of removing fine lees at the bottom of the vessels. There was surprisingly little lees at the bottom of the kegs to remove. There was, however, a caked on film at the bottom which was removed with boiling water.

We also subsequently did a sulfite test to see how much SO2 had been consumed since the last measurement 3 months ago. The answer, not a lot! Here are the currently SO2 levels:

Keg 2 (old Keg 1) 32 ppm – added 10 ppm
Keg 4 (old Keg 3) 32 ppm – added 10 ppm
Keg 6 (old Keg 4) 28 ppm – added 10 ppm
Keg 1 (old Keg 5) 120 ppm – added nothing, too high already
carboy – 42ppm

Learnings / Personal Notes / Future Work
The minimal loss of SO2 over ~3 months is surprising. I thought that there would be substantially lower SO2 levels, and accordingly more SO2 to add. The kegs are very air tight, and the amount of head space per 15 gallon keg is probably a few fluid ounces. It is really a good setup for safety.

This does pose a problem with Keg 1 and it’s 120 ppm. I was hoping that that number would go down to ~40 by the time of bottling. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m going to have to blend that keg with others to get all of them to around 50-60ppm and then let them dissipate in the coming months before bottling. We hope to do that in a month or two.

I feel that the racking we did Sunday was a big failure. We had to lift the kegs up in order to siphon the wine around. In lifting them, we really disturbed the lees at the bottom so that when we got to the bottom, there was almost nothing visible there. It’s a lot of work to fully rack all of the wine, and we didn’t get much of a benefit. So, all future rackings will incorporate the following:
(1) The kegs will be lifted and left for over a day to let the lees settle. Siphoning off that keg will be done without moving the keg at all. This will hopefully help keep the good wine around, and get rid of the lees and sediment.
(2) Previously, the “bottoms” of the kegs (residual liquid at the bottom after the racking), were poured down the drain. From now on, we will keep the “bottoms” and put all of them into a carboy. That carboy will then contain all lees removed from that racking. After a day, the lees should settle and I can rack off the top of that again. This will decrease the amount of good wine lost.

Your Future Work – Bottle Collection
Leah and I are tentatively planning a bottling day in August or September on a weekend. This is the most important day of the year and we really need your attendance. There will be about 340 total bottles of wine to bottle, which we really can’t do for you. We will give ample time, and have individual talks with the group to best fit the group.

You will be responsible for bringing 24 empty bottles of wine. You *can* buy new ones; they aren’t expensive, but Leah and I will secretly judge you. As you save them, you should rinse them to prevent sediment from drying onto the bottom. You should also get something to carry them in; two cardboard wine cases would be perfect. My recommendation, buy a case of wine and use that, all the bottles will be a perfect height and fit nicely.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for info on being a part of the 2015 vintage of the LS Wine Club …..

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