It’s really surprising to see the winery in it’s current state. It’s quiet now, grapes are nowhere to be seen unless peeking into a cuve. The sound of forklifts are gone, and I am just a touch sad to see it end so quickly.
I know, not the best thing to mention publicly. But to be reminded how quick and fleeting the moments you have with actual grapes are is rather disappointing.
Thankfully I can finish up this portion of the harvest knowing that I was well hands on from the word go. I literally spent nights in this winery l, leaving when most people were waking up.
Now the grapes are happily working to ferment. I am using one wooden tank that I keep blabbing about (I still think wooden tanks are well interesting) along with two Speidel stainless steel tanks with adjustable lids. These tanks allow me to customize head space (the space above the juice and below the lid) which is quite important while controlling your fermentation and when your wine is done fermenting, the oxidation or lack thereof.
I can see the benefit of always having atleast two different types of fermentation vessels, be it stainless steel, wood or even cement which I will have next year. When you have different types of vessels you have the option of using whatever would be of benefit to your wines. You also can experiment, which is where I am at. I believe somewhere down the line that my preferences will fall with 2/3 of those I mentioned above.
I am allowing the grapes to ferment with the yeasts that are already a part of the grapes, this is known as native yeasts. There are said to be benefits and issues alike that can be linked to both native yeast and innoculation which is using a selected yeast other than what the grapes already have. My fermentations haven’t suffered from any stuck fermentations, excessively fast or hot fermentations. In other words, I got lucky with my risky choice. When you innocuoate, things are much more controlled, and you even have the choice of starting native and ending with cultured or selected yeasts. Going native seems to just have the potential benefit of knowing that most of the yeasts that were involved with the fermentation were specific to your grapes. I am anxious to see the results!
As for pigeage, the plan is to start once the fermentation is underway with one time a day at most. Quite radical but I know of a few domaines doing something quite similar with excellent results. Above all I will make sure that the cap stays moist to protect the must (juice before completing fermentation) and I will avoid punching down for the sake of punching down. I am not out to produce ink colored wines with high levels of extraction afterall…not that others shouldn’t do this for their own wines. ; )