After the pressing in October, there really isn’t much to do except wait. We filled the various kegs and other vessels, and are just waiting for them to get more awesome. Leah has worked fervently preventing me from “sampling” the wine too much; what can I say, it’s really good! One thing that we did recently was to rack the gross lees. Basically, we siphoned all but the bottom inch or so of everything into another container. That left the “lees” (sediment and dead yeast) at the bottom which we just poured out. We lost about 5 gallons of liquid from this, wow! You can check out the dumping of the lees here. We are now down to four 15.5 gallon kegs, one 5 gallon carboy, one half gallon beer growler, and four 1 liter bottles …. about 68 gallons left.
Another thing we’ve been doing is monitoring SO2 levels. We had some issues with this, having trouble using our ridiculously expensive machine. We got poor readings back in December, and, unfortunately, I put in waaaaaay too much sulfite into one of the kegs. I did another reading recently, which gave more reasonable results. I then topped off the sulfite levels accordingly to get to a target of 45ppm. Here are the readings:
Keg 1 22ppm – added 23ppm – did measurement afterwards to validate addition/measurement
Keg 3 20ppm – added ~20ppm
Keg 4 24ppm – added ~20ppm
Keg 5 120ppm – this was the one with really high levels, no sulfite was added, obviously, time should lower it, blending might be needed if it doesn’t come down enough
Carboy 20ppm – added ~20ppm
Additionally, we just bought some oak cubes (American and French, both Medium+ toast). We are going to do small sample tests for a month and see which one is better to apply to the entire batch.
Looking to the future, we’re tentatively planning another wine party mid to late March. We have some out of town folks, so I’m going to try to cater the date to their schedule. If Leah will allow it, we’ll be doing a tasting of the wine, so you know for yourself how it is turning out. Look for an email from us about that when the time gets closer.
Beyond that, we have bottling. When, exactly, is very unknown, it will be anywhere between May and September. Remember, you need to bring your own bottles, about 24 of them. So, depending on how long it takes for you to get 24 bottles, you might want to start collecting. I know some of you will get 24 bottles quicker than others 😉 You should rinse the bottles after you use them so they don’t get crusty inside, and I recommend taking the labels off.