I have not posted in a while, so I’ll give you a little update on how our 2013 Pinot Noir crop is shaping up.
Three weeks ago we finished veraison so the nets went up to prevent the birds from getting our crop. Only took 5.5 hours this year top put them up…better than 9 hours last year.
Sunday Joey and I took brix (sugar) readings throughout the vineyard. As expected the vines closest to the house averaged 20.4 and the ones furthest away were at 19.3. We expect to pick when the brix reach 23…so around September 16th!
Now the fun part…as you can see from the picture, we bought a small bladder press. The capacity is 42 gallons, or enough for 1/2 ton of fermented Pinot Noir, or around 400 pounds of Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, we bought 2 thirty gallon breathable tanks for aging, and some 5, 3 and 1 gallon glass containers. Next up is to get a destemmer and a few smaller items and we will be set to make wine this year!
What you see is our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc just after we have leafed it on Aug 2, 2013. I hope you can tell from the picture that we can see through all 4 of the rows. In order to remove some of the grassiness you need to remove most of the leaves. Should be a great crop this year!
But the real news…I took our 2012 Pinot Noir in for analysis to see what the alcohol content was and if I’m sulfuring correctly.
13% alcohol – 0.565 conversion from our 23% sugar content at harvest, about typical.
pH 3.88 – Very high, so just need a little extra sulfur
VA(volatile acidity) 0.65% – the lower the better, but below 0.7 is OK. You can taste the bad stuff above 0.6%
Molecular sulfur 0.42 mg/l – this should be 0.5 mg/l, so I have to add some this next week. This is what keeps the wine from spoiling.
Free sulfur 50 mg/l – this should be 60-70 mg/l to reach 0.5 mg/l molecular sulfur.
TA(titratable acidity) 5.5 g/l – perfect…this is acid content and between 5-7 is great.
All in all, I’m happy with the results and it tastes very good. In fact, I’ll probably serve it at my nephew’s wedding in a month straight out of the barrel!
As some of you may have heard Sonoma Valley is ahead of schedule this year for version and probably harvest by 1-3 weeks. Here at Turtle Vines I think we are 1 week ahead of last year given all the clouds/fog the last 2 weeks.
We are about 85% into version with some vines still having green grapes. I decided to test the sugar content of the grapes at different colors to understand how it correlates.
Green grape – 8%
Orange grape – 11%
Purple grape – 15%
Dark grape on the same vine where all the grapes have turned is 16.5%.
The rule of thumb is that the grapes shift by 1% per week in “normal” weather. If most of the grapes in the vineyard are around 16.5% and I want to pick at 24%, then I’m 7.5 weeks away, or 9/23…same as last year.