Pinot Noir

Monday, September 29th, 2014

We were invited to collect grapes from a vineyard that hadn’t sold all of its rows this year. Sam, Wendy and Dawn headed out and spent the morning picking large bunches of dark purple Pinot Noir.


Soon they arrived back at the house with a truckload of grapes. I was originally expecting ugly seconds from a picked vineyard – instead, there was nearly 500lbs of perfect, plump, juicy wine grapes!


Over the next few hours, we washed, destemmed, and crushed he grapes. This was made a bit easier by running the bunches through the scratter (apple grinder) first – it  breaks the skins and pulls many of the grapes clean off. The resulting bucket could then be crushed and picked over by hand. By then end of the night, we had collected approximately 50 gallons of must.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 1.02.18 PM

It’s been a while since I made red wine. This video highlights the important steps involved: Also:

The plan

1. Pick grapes (done)

  • Thanks to everyone else!

2. Destem and crush (done)

  • 50 gallons of must collected in a variety of buckets.
  • Initial gravity was 1.094 (about 22.5 brix).
  • Potassium metabisulfite was added to sanitize (1/2t per 6 gal).
  • Yeast nutrient was added.

ByynJKjCYAMhxzl3. Add yeast (done)

  • After 24 hours, the must is just under 23 brix.
  • PH seems to be at 3.4 (but the test strips are old, so I should check again).
  • Lalvin RC-212 has been recommended for pinot noir. We rehydrated 10 packets and added the slurry to the must.
  • Right now, the basement is about 67-68°, which is at the low end of the range for the yeast.
  • Ferment until the brix bottoms out near 0. Make sure to punch the cap every day or so.

4. Press (done)

  • After several weeks the sugars reached about 1 brix.
  • Collected nearly 30 gallons of free run juice!
  • A light pressing resulted in another 7+ gallons from the remaining must.
  • I will let the juice sit for a few days to settle before racking into containers.
  • Thinking about collecting the “free runnings” and different pressings into separate carboys to blend later: That would be two 15 gallon kegs of free run + 1 carboy of pressed juice.

5. Mature

  • Added oak: Medium French oak cubes at 1 oz/gallon for 8 months. Meant to check after 4 months, but forgot.
  • We also added WLP675 to initiate a malolactic conversion at the same time as the oak.
  • Racked and filtered (1 micron) the wine on 2015-10-04:
    • Blended some of the 1st pressings. Dumped the 2nd pressings.
    • Flooded the containers with CO2 and removed airlocks.
    • Did not add sulfate at this time. Getting tastings done first. Will need to add it if it is going to sit for a while.
  • Tastes almost ready. Getting some opinion before bottling.

6. Blend and bottle

  • In about a year!








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