877.812.1137

Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 28- What are the best ways to get maximum extraction from red wine grapes to create a dark red wine?

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

Red wine in wineglass

What are the best ways to get maximum extraction from red wine grapes to create a dark red wine? And does a large primary fermenter make a difference in extracting color etc. from red wine grapes as opposed to a small primary fermenter of, say, 5 gallons? 

There are many factors that can assist in the extraction of pigmentation and tannins from red wine grapes. A combination of some of these methods will ensure the best extraction of pigments in the red wine. The first method that will help ensure a deep bold color in red wines is a cold soak. After crushing the grapes into a fermenting tub, add 50ppm of potassium metabisulfite to prohibit microbial growth. After 6 hours, add pectic enzyme, specifically Color Pro, to help break down the grapes and assist with the color extraction. Now comes the more challenging part, the cold soak. The goal is to get the grape must to 40°F to extract the tannins but discourage bacterial growth; you may do this by bringing the fermentation tub into a cool area such as a walk in fridge (if you have that luxury) or a cold garage. If it is getting nice and cold at night, this may work fine for you. Otherwise you will have to chill down the must by adding frozen containers of water. You can fill up gallon jugs with water (that have been sanitized with potassium metabisulfite) and freeze them. Submerging quite a few of these in the must will chill it down significantly. However there is a risk of the jugs leaking. Another method would be to obtain 4inch PVC tubing and caps for the end. The PVC tubing will need to be as long as the height of your fermenting vessel. Place a secure cap on one end of the tube and seal it. (Always sanitize anything that will come in contact with your must with potassium metabisulfite first.) Fill the tube with ice and place standing upright (to the best of your ability) in the must. The solid skins and thickness of the must will help keep this upright. Then place another cap on the exposed end but do not seal it. You will have to replace the ice every 8 hours. If using 4 tubes per tub of must, this should keep the grape must around 40°F. If you can keep the must at 40°F, cold soaking it for 3 days will bring out deep pigments and provide dense color saturation. You will need to warm up the must to 65°F before setting yeast.

There are a few fermentation aids that will help with color securing. Opti-Red and FT Rouge are excellent products for this purpose. Opti-Red is a yeast derivative nutrient that helps to secure color and provide smoother tannin integration. FT Rouge is a blend of tannins that will also secure color pigments throughout fermentation. Using both of these compounds will greatly enhance the depth and richness of your red wine color.

Lastly, the shape of your fermentation vessel will mildly affect the color of your wine. If you have a tall cylindrical shaped fermentation bin, the cap will rise up and maintain less contact with the fermenting wine. Regular punch downs will be more critical. If you have a wider fermentation vessel, the surface area of the cap will increase, giving it more area to come in contact with the wine. These are subtle differences that won’t greatly affect the outcome of the wine and will not replace the incredibly important punch downs that should occur every 6-8 hours.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Clone 337 Cabernet

Good Morning from Madera! Our Clone 337 Cabernet is looking GORGEOUS and coming in at 21/22 Brix. We will work to harvest these around 24-25 Brix. According to the weather we will see a heat spike in the coming days. Central Valley harvest may be here before we know it! Seeing grapes as early as September 6th!

Clone 337 is best known as one of the premier French clones. It is similar to the Dijon clones and gives good yield, small intense berries, and very fruit forward flavors. These wines create a lush mouthfeel, have deep color, and intense dark fruit, chocolate, and intense tannins. Age in French or Hungarian Oak for an extra shot of intensity and depth.

crybaby_cab337g_22b_0828173 crybaby_cab337g_22b_0828171

 

Morning views of the 70 year old head trained Alicante Bouchet

Morning views of the 70 year old head trained Alicante Bouchet. Head pruned by hand and small bunches full of flavor and color. Old vine is an understatement…..

Alicante is a variety that was cultivated in 1866. Its deep red color makes it great for blending with lighter red wines such as Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. A popular grape during prohibition, the old school Italian blend consists of 18 boxes of Zinfandel, 2 boxes of Alicante, and 1 box of Muscat or make it straight for a delicious light bodies red.

crybaby_alicanteg_70yrold_082817 crybaby_alicanteg2_70yrold_082817 crybaby_alicantev_70yrold_082817 crybaby_alicantev2_70yrold_082817

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 27- What are Brix?

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

brix in field

What are Brix?

Brix is the unit of measurement of the sugar content within fruit, and specifically to winemaking, grapes. One degree Brix is equal to 1 gram of sucrose within 100 grams (100ml) of liquid. The average Brix level for grapes is between 20-30.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Lanza-Musot Vineyards, Suisun Valley, CA Update: 8/23/17

Real time news from the field! Nick Lanza of Lanza Vineyards popped by the Cabernet 169 this morning to check on the grapes for us. Nick says.. “It’s looking like a good crop, weather has been great, really excited about this year’s vintage. A cool late summer so far, good temperature swings. Right now it’s a cold 57 degrees at 6:52AM PST in the vineyard. The temperature will get up in the high 80’s / low 90’s during the day. A good temp swing which will push things a long a little bit. Looking at warmer weather coming up pretty soon. Should start to push the whites along. Making boxes and getting ready to send these grapes back East!”

 

nick in field_0823`7lmv_169_082317  lmv_primitivo_082317 lmv_sagio_082317lmv_sagio_082317lmv_barbera g bunch_082317

Washington State Update: 8/22/17

Photos from Alléchant Vineyards in Washington State. The Pinot Noir is at 13.5 Brix and most of the grapes are still going through veraison. We have a few weeks at least before we start picking in the Rattle Snake Hills.

wa state_cab wa state_jeremey in vineyard wa state_jeremey in vineyard2 wa state_mer wa state_pinot grapes wa state_verasion wa state_vineyard view

Rose´ is Here to Stay

Rose´ has become an important part of the wine market. What originally started out as White Zinfandel has transformed into a large and growing wine category made from a lot of different wine grapes. One of the most important grapes used in the production of Rose´ is Grenache.

The Grenache grape is part of the original “Rhone Rangers” crew and one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world (over 500,000 acres planted so far..). It ripens late so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated. Grenache flourishes in the AVA’s such as Central Valley, Fresno County, Lodi, and other Mediterraneanstyle climates.

Usually a brilliant ruby pink hue with notes of ripe strawberry, orange, hibiscus and sometimes with a hint of ripe peach. You’ll find Rose´of Grenache wines to have moderately high acidity, but most have quite a bit of color and body. Perfect pairing with this wine would be a summer evening and takeout Greek Gyros with dill tzatziki.

If you’re interested in making a Rose´wine and need a little help, our Winemaker Maureen Macdonald has made many different styles of Rose´ and is a major fan of Rose´ herself. Tips ranging from how long to leave the grapes on the skins to the best wine yeast to bring out specific flavors….when it comes to Rose´ Maureen can help you make an award worthy pink wine. Dry, sweet, or off dry Maureen has the winemaking tips for you!

Below are some photos of our beautiful Grenache Noir from our newest vineyard- King’s River. They will be arriving in early September. Make sure to put in your pre-order for this Rose´worthy grape! 

crybaby_grenache noirg_0818173 crybaby_grenache noirg_0818172 crybaby_grenache noirg_081817

New Vineyard: King’s River

The King’s River Vineyard is located in Sanger, CA – Southeast of Fresno, on the way to Squaw Valley, Tahoe and the Sierra Foothills.
The vineyard is made up of 40 acres of white ash & sandy loam soil. The vineyard has been in existence since 1954 and the family has grown everything from grapes for wine and raisins to peaches, plums, and apricots on this little piece of paradise. However, they ultimately decided to focus on what they love most – boutique style wines. The vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 337), Petite Sirah, Alicante, Syrah, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Primitivo, Albariño, Muscat, and Chenin Blanc. Each block is meticulously managed. They thin leaves, drop fruit to secure intense flavors, and drip irrigate as to not over-water the vines. This family definitely produces grapes of distinction.

Their Wine Awards Include…
• 2014 Reserve Petite Sirah- Silver Medal
• 2014 Syrah- Bronze Medal
• 2014 Alicante Bouchet- Bronze Medal
• 2015 Reserve Albarino- Bronze Medal

king's riverg_7_petite sirah king's riverg_16_muscat king's riverg_14_albarino king's riverg_3_cabsav king's riverg_5_alicante king's riverg_1_syrah king's riverg_12_chenin blanc king's riverg_11_tempranillo king's riverg_10_primitivo king's riverg_10_cabernet franc

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 26 – How do I test for Acid?

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

Wine being checked on component saturation in laboratory on winery factory

How do I test for Acid?

When testing for acidity in wine, you are looking for the Total Acidity value, or the amount of acids in grams per liter of wine. While this may sound complex, it will help you in achieving a proper balanced flavor in your end product. You will need a few basic lab supplies: a test tube, a small 10ml graduated syringe, phenalthalein, sodium hydroxide. Draw a 15ml sample of the wine to be tested into the test tube. Add three drops of the phenalthalein. Swirl the drops around in the wine to mix it in thoroughly. (Note: When using sodium hydroxide, be very careful. It is a strong base that can cause burns. We suggest wearing eye and skin protection.) Using the 10 ml graduated syringe, slowly drop in the sodium hydroxide by .5ml at a time. Every drop, swirl the test tube contents to mix and observe any color reactions. Upon adding the drop, you will see an immediate color change, that will then dissipate. For white wines, you will observe a pink color and for red wines you will observe a grey color. Keep repeating the process of adding a drop, swirling and observing until the color change is permanent. The amount of sodium hydroxide used, when the color change is permanent, will give you the Total Acidity. If 6ml of Sodium Hydroxide are used, then the wine contains .6% or 6g/L of TA.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

2017 Harvest Outlook for Suisun Valley, Lodi, and Central Valley

Suisun Valley Harvest Outlook

Everything is maturing along in Suisun Valley. We are seeing verasion come to end in varieties such as Merlot and Sangiovese. Petite Sirah, Cabernet 169, and later varieties are still going through the verasion process. Looking at the maturity level of the grapes harvest should start around September 4th in Suisun Valley – beginning with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The next varieties to pick will most likely be Merlot around September 10th and, Sangiovese, and Malbec around September 16th. The later varieties such as Petite Sirah and Cabernet 169 should harvest around late September/early October.

lanza_petite sirah_080717

Interested in the weather in Suisun Valley? Click here to see what our weather stations are picking up on a daily basis!

 

Lodi Harvest Outlook

Overall the Lodi crop looks great. The rain helped strengthen the deep roots this winter, which allowed the vines to grow a vigorous canopy. The big canopies from the record rain fall has protected the grapes from the summer heat. Therefore, it should be an average to slightly below average crop this year. Most varieties look normal, however Cabernet and Zinfandel look to be low slightly lighter than last year. The Lodi appellation is made up of mostly sandy loam soil and unlike the Central Valley they get constant cooler temps in the evenings. This area experiences 40 degree swings in temps that help with coloring the grapes and the skins are thicker which produce a dark juice high in tannins. This is why the region is famous for its delicious Zinfandels and Italian grape varieties!

delta_aglinanicov2_080817

 

Central Valley Harvest Outlook

With the extra rain fall Central Valley is looking to be a great harvest. The crop looks to be about the same as last year and we should be harvesting about 4-6 days later than last year. We anticipate some of the Central Valley fruit to start shipping to the East Coast around August 28th. Get your crushers ready!!

crybaby_barbera_080717

We should have an updated harvest report pertaining to Paso Robles, Napa/Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Washington State next week. Keep an eye out for our next email.

There is a lot going on at Musto Wine Grape Company and we are looking forward to seeing you on August 26th for Customer Appreciation Day.

Harvest Kick Off Party - 1pg (2)

Cheers to making your favorite wine!!