Now that harvest of grapes is finished and the wines have been fermented, we begin to clarify and stabilize the wines. Clarification is done primarily by settling and racking (pumping cleared wine after it rests in a tank for approximately 3 to 4 weeks to an empty tank) and by filtration by pumping wine through filter pads at low pressure to remove particulate matter.
Stabilization for grape wines primarily involves removing “tartrates”, chemically known as potassium bitartrate. Wines which have not been cold stabilized may precipitate tartrates or “argols” in the bottle, harmless enough, but gritty. They are NOT sand, broken glass, or sugar. People consider them unsightly.
If you have visited the winery during the November Wine Trails, you may have seen our chiller tanks in operation during the process of cold stabilization with layers of ice on the tanks’ exteriors. The naturally occurring fruit acid in a grape is primarily composed of tartaric acid, the counterpart of malic acid in apples, pears & cherries; and the counterpart of citric acid in lemons, oranges, strawberries, blueberries & blackberries. While malic and citric acids are not cold sensitive, tartaric acid in grapes is cold sensitive: it forms crystals when chilled excessively. So, all of our grape wines are chilled in the winery to at least 30° Fahrenheit in our cold stabilization tanks to remove excess tartrates. As the ice forms on the tank exterior, the tartrates form a sandpaper-like layer on the tank interior. Tartrates, incidentally, are commonly known as cream of tartar, the same ingredient used in baking. Below 27°F, ice forms:
The recommended minimum “cold” service temperature for white wines, rosé wines, and blended red grape wines (Logan’s Blue, Blackberry Nights, Sangrias) is 38°F. If you chill wine much lower than this by say, putting a bottle of wine in a freezer, you risk not only freezing the wine out of the bottle, making a mess, and possibly breaking the bottle, but also precipitating more “wine diamonds” or tartrate crystals. So, no lower than 38°F, please.
So, keep it cool, but not too icy! Enjoy a glass of Logan’s View wine in good health.
Sometimes winemaking is as slow as government processes. Let me restate that: sometimes winemaking is two to three times faster than government processes.
Grape harvest has finally ended, as of November 10, the latest harvest I’ve ever seen since 1981. We were three weeks late in grape processing, with four weeks’ worth of work jammed into three weeks. (9 tons in one week when we usually process 3 tons per week).
Quality has been very good this year, with some old vines producing some extremely good quality fruit with lots of aromatic compounds and plenty of flavor. Quantity was down slightly, perhaps 10% to 20%, and sugars slightly less (21% as opposed to 22%), but the dry, clear, and consistent late ripening weather gave us some very good ripening days with flavor and aroma development in the grapes.
The final juice to reach the fermenter was Riesling, as of November 10, and it’s just now finishing its fermentation. The fruit wines are progressing very well in stainless steel tanks (yes, we will have Bing Cherry and Strawberry wines again), the reds have been pressed, assembled and are now in oak barrels, and whites and rosés are undergoing initial clarification.
In all 2017 appears to be a very nice vintage.
So, enjoy a glass of Logan’s View wine in good health!
This week we processed three tons of Chardonnay, and two tons each of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. While sugars are slightly lower than previous vintages, the fruit is ripe, good, the reds are giving good color and body and the Chardonnay will be done in a style reminiscent of French Chablis, with good acidity and crispness.
Incidentally, when I graduated in 1976 from Fresno, I had a job off from Jean Moreau at Maison Moreau in Chablis, Yonne, France, but had to decline the job offer due to the fact that my wife did not have a secured income (as required by the French Government), and I would not have been earning enough to support us both. We returned to Pennsylvania where I was hired by Pete Wood as Winemaster at Pequea Valley Vineyard and Winery in Lancaster County. I must admit: this is the only “woulda-coulda-shoulda” thing in my life that I wish we could have had the chance to pursue.
Enough about old times. The current time has us with a very challenging and late vintage, but the grapes’ ripeness looks good, and the wines in the fermenters are progressing well.
Enjoy a glass of Logan’s View wine in good health!
Welcome to Logan’s View Winery. I’m Steve Bahn and as the Winemaker & Partner here at Logan’s View, and I’ll be writing this column every month.
Harvest has started and we’ve finished fermenting Strawberries, Bing Cherries, and Montmorency Cherries, all from Brown’s Orchards. Those wines are currently aging in stainless steel tanks and undergoing preliminary clarification. While we presently are sold out of Strawberry wine and Bing Cherry wine due to 2016 crop failures, we will have those wines available again after the first of the year: a very good 2017 crop so far. Sorry about that, but sometimes nature can be pretty tough on us. The good news is the 2017 fruits are tasting very well at present.
Currently fermenting are Blueberry and Niagara. Blueberry will be bottled as both Blueberry wine and Logan’s Blue wines, and Niagara will be bottled as Sweet Caroline wine. Here are photographs of Niagara juice (after crushing, destemming, pressing, and settling) in the fermentation tanks holding 1,000 liters or about 1,300 bottles.
The dark juice has not yet had any yeast added to it, while the light yellow juice has its yeast and is beginning to slowly ferment.
These Blueberries are fermenting with the pulp and skins to extract aroma, flavor and color from the berries. After about a week, the berries will be pressed, the juice collected and pumped into stainless steel tanks to settle and clarify.
Next in coming will be the grapes: we’re looking for them to arrive in mid-October, and I’ll keep you posted with our progress.
Enjoy a glass of Logan’s View wine in good health!