Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Wine in Barrel

Our Amber Ridge went "dry" (the yeast have finished their job and converted all the sugar into alcohol) so it was time to get the wine out of the fermenters and into barrel. We had a few different fermenters going for the Amber Ridge fruit. We had two 8-ton Rousseau wooden fermenters full of Amber Ridge clone 667, one with fruit from the upper block, one from the lower block. We had a 8-ton steel fermenter full of Amber Ridge clone 777 and a few 1.5-ton plastic fermenters with some Amber Ridge clone 115 and clone 667 where we used some different strains of yeasts.

At Kosta Browne, we like to keep all of the lots separate to keep our blending options open. So we barrel down each fermenter separately, rather than blend it all into one large tank, and then into barrel. We also like to use a variety of barrels that give the wine different characteristics as it matures, again to increase our blending options and hopefully the complexity of the finished wine. Here you can see me "barreling down" one of the 1.5-ton plastic fermenters into a Saury (a French cooper) barrel that was first filled with wine in 2003 so it will impart very little or no wood to the wine as it matures. You need to keep a damn close watch or wine will come flying out the top pretty quick and at $50 a bottle it not only gets you drenched, it gets expensive fast too!

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