Vintage Comparison Chart

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 MV Late Harvest Syrah, 2012 MV Syrah, 2013 MV Syrah on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 by admin


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, December 1st, 2012 by admin

We bottled the last of the ’10 Moveni Vineyard Syrah. The 30 gallon french oak barrel. We started around 9AM, and finished up just after noon.

One glass short of 13 cases. We are set for awhile.

The aromas were fantastic. We couldn’t stop tasting it as we bottled.

We rinsed and drained the 30 gallon barrel. After letting it dry for an hour, we lit off a sulphur pellet and bunged it up. That stuff is strong. Then finally moved the barrel back into it’s rack.

Sulphite test

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Monday, November 12th, 2012 by admin

Free SO2 measurement results:

Rose:   7 mg/L

10 Syrah: 13 mg/L 

11 Zin-60:   26 mg/L

11 Zin-30:  34 mg/L

11 Syrah:   25 mg/L 


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Friday, October 19th, 2012 by admin

We topped off and added 20 ppm sulphites to 2011 Syrah; 2011 Zin both barrels; 2010 Syrah.


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Monday, June 18th, 2012 by admin
  • Zinfandel 15 gallon barrel: 25 ppm; added 5 ppm (5 mL) to get 30 ppm
  • Zinfandel 60 gallon barrel: 21 ppm; added 9 ppm (36 mL) to get 30 ppm
  • 2010 Syrah (30 gallon barrel): 8 ppm; added 22 ppm (43 mL) to get 30 ppm
  • 2011 syrah (60 gallon barrel): 16 ppm; added 14 ppm (55 mL) to get 30 ppm

Additions performed June 20.

I also racked the rose into a 5 gallon and 3 gallon carboy. I wanted to get it off the  lees. There are still some bubbles being produced. I sulphited both carboys with 30 ppm. Hopefully that will stop it.

Topping, tasting, testing

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, June 17th, 2012 by admin

Stopped by the farm today and topped off the barrels. I also took samples for so2 testing.

2010 syrah tasted great with the same wonderful nose.

2011 syrah is good, with a more complex nose. Tastes fine; is not as intense color or taste.

2011 zin has an intense flavor. And a good nose. Very strong zin character, but not ultra fruity.

2011 rose may not make it to the bottle. It is a bit yeasty. I think I left it on the lees too long ( still on them, slowly fermenting still). It seems a bit like champagne with the breast yeasty result from autolysis.


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by admin

Erwin and I went to the farm over lunch.

We topped off the ’10 syrah and the ’11 syrah and the ’11 zin.

We also sulphited all with 20 ppm.

Finally we tasted all of them!

’10 syrah: killer nose, as always. Chocolate, fruit, slightly spicy. It is really smoothing out. The tannins are not nearly as grippy as they were a year ago. The wine is well balanced.

’11 syrah: nose is improving. The funk that I thought might still be h2s is gone. Maybe it was just leftovers from the mlf. It is lighter in color than the ’10, but a nice elegant wine.

’11 zin: turning out to be the surprise of the vintage! I did not have high hopes, but it is really coming along. For a 15% alc wine, it works well. It doesn’t seem hot to me. Has some tannins, nice zin fruit. This is going to be a good wine.


Posted in 2008 Riebli Valley Syrah, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, March 9th, 2012 by admin

I took the day off on Friday to work in the cellar.

  1. Bottled the pinot noir! I got about 2 1/2 cases of wine. Not a lot, but enough to enjoy.
  2. Erwin showed up, and we bottles the plastic carboy of 2008 syrah. Is is good, but not the best. We will use it to top off the 2010 and 2011. And to drink!
  3. We bottled the  15 gallon barrel of 2010 syrah, after adding 15 ppm sulphites to a target of 33 ppm. That resulted in about 6 cases of wine, which Erwin and I split. That should last us a while. And we still have a 30 gallon barrel to go, end of summer!
  4. We tasted the 2011 syrah. It is still a little reductive, so we tried a copper fining trial, at 0.0, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 ppm Cu. There was a clear difference between 0.3 and 0.6, and a subtle difference between 0.6 and 0.9. We ended up adding  0.75 ppm (70 mL of 1% soln).  We will need to rack in a week or so.

Lot’s of testing, maintenance

Posted in 2008 Riebli Valley Syrah, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by admin

I had many of the wines tested. Here are the results, and resulting actions:

  • 2011 Syrah 60 gallon barrel: 28 ppm free SO2. Target is 30 ppm, so didn’t do anything.
  • 2010 Syrah
    •  30 gallon barrel: 6 ppm free SO2. Target is 30 ppm, so added 24 ppm  (47 ml 10% SO2 solution).
    • 15 gallon barrel: 18 ppm free SO2. Target is 30 ppm, but we are going to bottle this one, maybe this Friday, so hold off until we bottle.
  • 2011 Zinfandel
    •  60 gallon barrel: 10 mg/100 mL = 100 ppm malic acid. Target less than 30, or 300 depending on who you trust! So MLF is complete.
      • Added 40 ppm SO2 (160 mL 10% soln).
      • Added 0.4 ppm 1% copper sulphate soln (36 ml)
    • 15 gallon barrel
      • Added 40 ppm  SO2 (40 ml 10% soln)
      • Added 0.4 ppm 1% copper sulphate soln  (9 ml)
    • 3 gallon carboy
      • Added 25 ppm SO2 (5 ml 10% soln). This is all I had left; Once I mix them all together it will be about 40 ppm.
      • Added 0.4 ppm 1% copper sulphate soln (1.8 ml)
  • 2010 Pinot Noir:
    • 5 gallon carboy: 23 ppm free SO2. Added 10 ppm SO2  (3.9 ml 10% soln).
    • 1 gallon jug: Added 10 ppm (1 ml 10% soln)
  • 2008 Syrah
    • 6 gallon plastic carboy: 25 ppm free SO2. Target is 35 ppm, so added 10 ppm SO2  ( 3.9 ml 10% soln)
    • 6 gallon glass carboy: Added 10 ppm SO2  ( 3.9 ml 10% soln)

More cellar work

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Saturday, February 25th, 2012 by admin

Topped off the ’11 and ’10 syrahs with 2 bottles and a little water, as I have no more of the 10 syrah bottled.

Topped off the ’11 zin with water. The mlf is very close to done. I can barely hear any crackle, and the Accuvin test strips show done.

The ’11 rose is STILL fermenting. The nose is great. Lots of fruit, pineapple. Color is good, a salmon pink color. It is actually still too sweet, but I might let it stay a little sweet.

The ’10 Pinot started showing a ring on the surface in the carboy. I cleaned it, topped it off, and added 10ppm sulphites. It tasted fine. I need to get it bottled soon.

Cellar work

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by admin

2011 Syrah:

  • We decided to add 40 ppm sulphites. This came to 160 mL of 10% SO2 solution for the 61 gallon ReCoop barrel. This will drop quickly (our first addition), so we will check it in a week to see how it is doing.
  • Nose: slight funk going on; probably leftovers from the the MLF finishing.
  • Color is deep red, inky garnet. Lighter than the ’10.
  • Taste: Light tannins; much less than last year. Fruit.

2010 Syrah:

  • We added 10 ppm sulphites: 20 mL for the 30 gallon barrel;  10 mL for the 15 gallon barrel
  • We compared the bottled to the two barrels. The nose was pretty similar on all three, but the barrels were noticeably smoother tannins than what we have bottled. More time in barrel is really helping.

2011 Zin:

  • Still crackling; still reductive on the nose, but pretty good in the taste. I wish this would finish it’s MLF.


2011 Rose of zin:

  • I measured with a hydrometer. One carboy measured 1.5% (the one this is bubbling slowly), and the other carboy measured 3%! It still has a long way to go. Still trying to decide if I should dump in some yeast, but since it is going, I think I’ll just let it finish. I really want to drink this come summer! Hurry up!

Dinner at the farm again!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 by admin

This time my second favorite Iranian dish…khoresh fesenjun.

Back to the wine. Topping off of all the syrah took 2 bottles.

  • ’11 Syrah:
    • Stirred the wine.
    • Nose: good, still a little off, but settling down since last time.
    • Taste: mouth feel good. Less tannins than the ’10.
    • No sound coming from the barrel.
    • I did an Accuvin Malic acid test. Came out completely clear, implying that the MLF is done. I took a sample to drop off at Vinquiry tomorrow.
    • It took more than a bottle to top off.
  • ’10 Syrah
    • Nose was wonderful.
    • Tannins smoothing out. Definitely better mouth feel than the ’10 in bottles.
    • Between the 30 and 15 gallon barrels, topping off took almost another bottle of the ’10.
  • ’11 Zin:
    • Still hear a little crackling going on.
    • Accuvin malic tested clear, so the MLF must be close to done. But I will wait for the Vinquiry test until I don’t hear anything any more.
    • Nose is still off. Definitely need to copper fine.
    • Taste was still pretty good. Lot’s of fruit.
  • ’11 Rose
    • Bubbling away still.
    • Nose was citrus and fruit.
    • Color is gorgeous; salmon pink.
    • Taste was crisp. I am pretty sure less sugar in both carboys.
    • My sugar test tablets had gone bad. They were all black. I wonder if I spilled some liquid in them last time I used them. Need to get more in the next few days.
    • I tried the Accuvin on both carboys. Both tests maxed out showing lots of malic left. I would like to be sure that it is the sugar fermenting. Here is what the test strip looked like:IMG_0196.JPG

Topping off, tasting,

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Monday, January 9th, 2012 by admin

First visit to the cellar  in the new year!

2011 Syrah:

  • With my ear to the barrel, I could hear a very slight crackle, so almost done but not quite. We will need to have this tested soon.
  • The nose seemed fine from the barrel, but a bit off in the glass. Something not quite right. I attribute this to the MLF.
  • The taste was great. Good smooth tannins; nice mouth feel. Pure fruity syrah. Acids are there to keep it crisp. I think this will best the ’10 and the ’09.
  • The barrel required almost 2 bottles to top it off. We are done with the extra topping bottles of the ’11 syrah, and I am now using the ’10 Syrah for topping.


2011 Zinfandel:

  • MLF still going pretty strong. I could clearly hear the crackle in the barrel.
  • The nose is still problematic. There is a definite H2S problem. This will need to be copper fined soon, if not already too late.
  • The taste was pretty good. Very much a crisp cool climate zin. It seems like I am far more sensitive to the H2S in the nose that in the mouth. We had stopped in at Balletto Winery on Occidental Road on the way back from the coast on Sunday; they had a similar cool climate zin that I really liked. Very different from the big jammy zins from Northern Sonoma County, which I also like a lot.
  • Color is a clean medium garnet.
  • This required a bottle and a half; I have no topping bottles, so I am using the ’10 Syrah as topping. it is such a small amount, it won’t make much difference to the taste.


2011 Rose of zin:

  • It has fallen completely clear. If not for the sweetness, it would be ready to bottle.
  • Nose is great. Citrus, light and fruity.
  • Taste is crisp, but sweet. Both carboys are noticeably sweet. I need to make measurements again, and decide if I want a sweet white zin, or if I want to try and restart the ferment. It won’t be an easy decision, as I usually like my wines dry.
  • Color is wonderful. It has the light pink, salmon color which I really like. It is a little too light, so as I pull some out of the carboys to taste, I put back in the zin, which adds a little color.


2010 Syrah:

  • The 30 gallon barrel took a bottle of topping.
  • The taste of this wine was even better than what we have bottled. It is starting to smooth out a little more.


2010 Pinot Noir:

  • Tastes great. Need to get this in bottles. Time to start drinking. The sulphites should still be fine. It was at 16 ppm on 9/29/2011; I added 20 ppm 10/3/2011 to get to 36 ppm.

Barrel tasting, topping

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, November 27th, 2011 by admin

With many of my wife’s family in town,  I “hosted” a barrel tasting of what we have in the cellar.

The ’11 Syrah was very popular. It is now crisp and fruity, with slight tannins. There is no sign of the H2S issues that it had. It will be interesting to see how the tannins develop, compared to the ’10 syrah.

The ’10 syrah is a bit too tannic  for some, although we probably drank half a case over this past week. We have only bottled a quarter of it. Maybe I can try some blending some of it with the un-bottled ’08, which has nice fruit, but too little tannins and acid. The stuff we have already bottled will most likely age very nicely.

The zin was good once it had some air. It still has some H2S. It is possible that I will have to use copper on it. I really like it’s taste and mouth feel once it opens up. It is a deeply colored, bright zin. Not super ripe and sweet.

I stirred everything (I will try and stir twice a week) to help along the malolactic fermentation.

We also tasted the ’10 syrah from the barrel. It was much better  than from our bottles. I am not sure why; maybe there really is such a thing as bottle shock! We have only been bottled for less than two weeks. The aromatics are so much better out of the barrel.

Something to actually drink!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, November 19th, 2011 by admin

We started at 6:30 AM…Erwin and I.

We racked the ’11 Syrah off of the copper into three white tubs, cleaned the barrel, and racked back, inoculating with a 2.5 g package of Enoferm Alpha on the way. That took until 9:30 AM. We ended up with 4 1/2 bottles for topping. We will need some of the ’10 for topping, as 4 1/2 won’t be enough.

The copper seems to have done the trick. No H2s on the nose that we could detect. We aerated the wine slightly when racking. It has less tannins than last year. Actually, maybe too few. It will pick up somewhat in barrel tough.


Then the fun part…FINALLY! We bottled the 13 gallon barrel of ’10 Moaveni Vineyard syrah:

  • We first racked the wine into a 20 gallon tub.
  • We added 10 ppm sulphites during the racking to get good mixing. This should put us near 30 ppm in the bottle.
  • We soaked the corks in water as best we could. It really helps in putting the corks in.
  • We then siphoned into the bottles.
  • We got 5 1/2 cases. We left half a case for topping the rest of the ’10.
  • It took us about 10 minutes per case to actually do the bottling.

The aromas in the cellar were amazing. Outside it was cold (near freezing) but sunny. Crisp fresh air. Stepping into the cellar, you would feel the warmer air, and then the  aromas would settle in. Just amazing. I think this wine may be the best we have made.

Finally, we sulphited the other two barrels to about 30 ppm as follows:

  • 30 gallon: We added 20 ppm, or ~40 mL of 10% SO2 solution.
  • 15 gallon: We added 10 ppm, or ~10 mL of 10% SO2 solution.
Clean up took another 45 minutes.

Results are in

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Monday, November 7th, 2011 by admin

Here is the Vinquiry report

Our analysis:

  • 30 gallon barrel: 13 ppm;  dropped 14 ppm  from 27 ppm 8 weeks ago, or about 1.8 ppm per week.
  • 15 gallon barrel: 23 ppm; dropped 11 ppm from 34 ppm 8 weeks ago, or about 1.4 ppm per week
  • 13 gallon barrel: 23 ppm; dropped 11 ppm from 34 ppm 8 weeks ago, or about 1.4 ppm per week
I was expecting the  smaller barrels to drop faster because of a higher surface area to volume ratio. I have always thought that it is the micro-oxygenation from the barrels is the cause for the free SO2 to drop. Something more to research!
In any case, we need to sulphite before bottling. We will:
  1. Rack the smaller barrels into a large white 30 gallon food grade bin, adding the sulphite early in the racking process which will mix it well. This way we avoid stirring the barrels and picking up any sediment. Sulphite the bottling wine to 40 ppm, or a 17 ppm addition.
  2. Bottle using a gravity feed out the of the 30 gallon bin.
  3. Rack the 30 gallon barrel into the smaller barrels, and add the sulphite to the smaller barrels at the same time. There will be 2 extra gallons, which we will bottle and use for topping the ’11 syrah, for which we have very little topping wine.
  4. Fill the 30 gallon barrel with water, citric acid, sulphite solution until we are ready to store it. We probably want to empty it long term, otherwise we will “use up” the oak on the storage solution.

Get some samples

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, November 6th, 2011 by admin

Decided we need some final tests on the SO2 on the 2010 Syrah before bottling. Shahrokh and I tasted it again, and once it again it was really good. The nose was clean and crisp and intoxicating; very much a syrah. I grabbed a sample from each barrel to drop off at Vinquiry. If we have to add sulphites, we can rack the barrels into a third container with the sulphites, and then directly bottle. We do not want to stir and have to let anything settle. We also topped off with half a bottle of the ’09 Syrah. The other half accompanied our pizza dinner that evening.

We also tasted the ’11 Zin: Slight whiff of H2S that blew off with a couple of swirls. When the sugar and MLF’s are complete, we’ll rack it with a little splashing. It also tastes great.  A little light on tannins, but that should pick up in the barrel.

The ’11 syrah needs to be aerated. It still has a solid H2S smell. As soon as the ferment is done, we’ll rack it and possibly use the copper on it.

Getting ready to bottle some wine

Posted in 2008 Riebli Valley Syrah, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Monday, September 12th, 2011 by admin

I decided to get all of the  wines still in barrels or glass tested for free SO2. Some of the wines are ready to bottle.

The results are summarized here…

 2010 BV Syrah  30 gallon barrel  27 ppm
 2010 BV Syrah  15 gallon barrel  34 ppm
 2010 BV Syrah  13 gallon barrel  34 ppm
 2010 Pinot  6 gallon carboy   2 ppm
 2008 Riebli Valley Syrah  7 gallon carboy   42 ppm
 2008 Riebli Valley Syrah  6 gallon carboy  40 ppm

All look great, except the pinot, which is near zero. As it is ready to bottle, I need to rack it into a new carboy and sulphite at the same time. The 2008 syrahs are also ready to bottle. 

I also tasted all the wines. The 2008 syrah is a little light, and would be better with a bit more acidity. The 2010 is crisp and intense, with stiff tannins: maybe a blend of the ’08 and ’10 would be interesting. Something to try with some of the wine.

Topped off, sulphited…and just a single grape of color for ’11

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by admin

I mixed up a new batch of SO2, and sulphited the barrels to 20 ppm.

I also topped them off…took one bottle of the ’09.

The ’10 is definitely more tannic than the ’09. Hopefully not too much. The ’10 should age well. It has the tannins and the acid. This year we will do the cold soak again, but maybe press off sweet. That should keep the tannins down a little, and maybe make them a little smoother. The big decision is whether to bleed off some juice off the skins to get more color, mouth feel. 

I walked the vineyard. The pinot up top (115 clone) is definitely into veraison. Probably 75% turned. The pinot in the back was maybe at 10% color. I saw one grape with color on the syrah, and none on the zin. It is going to be a late harvest again. If I were a praying man, I would be praying for a dry fall.

Tasting, topping, sulfiting

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, July 22nd, 2011 by admin

Test writing post from iPad.

Erwin and I topped off the ’10 syrah. All barrels tasted fine. The smaller barrels were the most balanced. I think the time that they spent in the big barrel really balanced them out. This wine is better than the ’09, which was really strong on the fruit, but not as spicy tannic as the’10.

We had planned on sulphiting 20 ppm. We had to mix up a new batch of sulfite. We mixed it correctly, but it didn’t smell strong enough (usually you can’t breathe anywhere near the stuff). So we tossed it, and I will buy some new sulfite, and we will add it after my Europe trip.

Free SO2 test

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by admin

I went out to taste and top off on Sunday afternoon. All is well with the ’10 syrah. The wine in the 30 gallon is already a little smoother if that is possible. Better mouth feel, and a more complex nose. The fruit is not so strong.

The three barrels took 2 bottles of wine for topping! So there has been a lot of evaporation going on. I really need to get the humidity of the cellar up.

I took a sample into Vinquiry for a free SO2 test. We hit 31 mg/L (ppm) free SO2 which is just about where we want it. So everything is good for another couple of weeks to a month.

Put the barrels down for the summer

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, May 6th, 2011 by admin

We finally moved the wine to the cellar. The days are getting warm, and we don’t want to cook the wine.

The wine in the 30 gallon new oak has had enough oak. It is much better than the wine in the 3 & 4year old barrels, but it needs to come out of the oak. Plus the other wine needs the oak.

So this  is what we did:

  1. Pump the 13 and 15 gallon barrels into 2 14 gallon demijohns.
  2. Pump as much as we could of the 30 gallon barrel into the 13 and 15 gallon barrels.
  3. Move all barrels and demijohns to the cellar (we couldn’t have moved the full 30 gallon).
  4. Pump the  demijohns into the 30 gallon barrel.
  5. Top off slightly. We didn’t clean the barrels, so we didn’t lose much wine.
  6. We sulphited 20 ppm more, so now this wine has seen 50 ppm total since crush.

The plan is to wait a week, and then get the sulphites measured. Then just keep topping and sulphiting. We would like to bottle the 13 gallon by the end of the summer, so we have some wine, and leave the rest until next summer.

Done, maybe

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, April 7th, 2011 by admin

Another malic test

It showed 120 mg/L malic, slightly up from last time. So the MLF is now officialy stuck

We decided to take a sample from each barrel to Beverage People, and use their reflectoquant test.

  • 30 gallon:   14.2 mg/L
  • 15 gallon:   16.4 mg/L
  • 13 gallon:   20.3 mg/L

By these tests we are done…30 mg/L is the target. Vinquiry doesn’t quite match.

So we are either done, or close to done. We are going to call it done. What does “done” mean anyways?

So now add sulphites (30 ppm):

  • 30 gallon: 59 mL 10% SO2 solution
  • 15 gallon:  30 mL 10% SO2 solution
  • 13 galon: 26 mL 10% SO2 solution

Enough already

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Sunday, March 13th, 2011 by admin

It just won’t end. In fact, we are going backwards.

We did another malic test on the small 13 gallon barrel. Here is the Vinquiry result.

We went UP to 110 mg/L. How can that happen? It went from 70 to 110 mg/L.

  1. Maybe the bottles I am topping off with have lots of malic acid. That is probably not possible, since I have put less than 1 bottle in since we last measured the malic. At the starting malic of 1210 mg/L, one topping bottle could only have push edit to 87 mg/L. Also, ALL the wine was inoculated with MLB, so even the topping bottles should have started their MLF’s.
  2. Maybe Vinquiry is wrong. Probably not.
  3. Maybe there are spatial differences in the ML concentration in the barrel. I don’t know if that is possible, as one would think that there would be diffusion going on, but I have read since this event that barrels should be stirred periodically, so the the MLB don’t settle out.

So, what are we going to do? Stir the barrels twice week. I built a shelter around the barrels, and have a space heater inside. I will try and keep the temperature around 65 F. If we can do that for another 2 weeks, we’ll test again.

A never ending MLF!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 by admin

We are still not done with the MLF on the syrah. I had a sample of the slowest barrel tested…70 mg/L. We need to be less than 30 mg/L to be “done”. Here is the Vinquiry result.

We have tasted several times, and the wine is really coming together. The 30 gallon new barrel has the smoothest wine. Surprisingly, the new oak does not seem to be overwhelming the wine. It is really good! We want to sulphite it…but need to wait for the MLF to finish. When finished, we hope to combine it all into the 59 gallon barrel for another year of aging.

Still not done with MLF

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 by admin

Here are the Vinquiry resultsof for malic acid:

  • 30 gallon barrel:  90 mg/L    ( AccuVin test strip showed no color, indicating finished)
  • 13 gallon barrel: 240 mg/L  ( AccuVin test strip showed some color, indicating not finished)

To be complete, we should be under 30 mg/L. So we still have a ways to go.

Gallons, liters, barrels!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 by admin

I took samples from the three barrels for a malic acid test. To top off the barrels, I had to rack the 3 gallon carboy into two 2 1gallon jugs, plus some bottles. Here is what we have now:

  Spec volume gallons liters
New French oak barrel 110 liters 29.0 110.0
3 yr French oak barrel  15 gal 15.0 56.7
4 year French oak barrel  50 liters 13.2 50.0
2  1 gallon jugs  1 gallon 2.0 7.5
3 bottles  750 mL 0.6 2.2
Totals   59.8 226.4

We have a used barrel from a well known cab winery in Napa…it is probably a 225 liter (59.4 gallons) barrel, so we just barely have enough to fill it. We would have to supplement with another syrah for topping off. Probably the ’08 that we made. But both of us only have 2 1/2 cases left. It will be painful to use it for topping!

Catching up…

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 by admin

My first post from my ipad…using a WordPress application. So far, I think the regular web interface of WordPress is much better than the ipad app. In fact, the ipad wordpress app sucks. Even just using safari on the ipad isn’t very good.

All the wine is resting quietly. On Christmas day, our visiting family did some barrel tasting of the syrah. The smaller barrels were still smoother, making me think that the MLF has progressed farther in the smaller barrels. I will do some measurements this week.

Next steps:

  1. test the syrah and pinot for mlf completion.
  2. Rack the Sauvignon blanc. It looks like it will need fining as it is still cloudy. Plus I still have a 2007 merlot and a 2008 syrah to get into bottles, this winter.

Erwin got a used full size barrel That we hope to rack the syrah into when the mlf is complete. We need to get it out of the new oak…or we’ll be drinking wood!

More data!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by admin

Erwin and I tasted the three barrels today. Everything tasted fine. No sign of H2S. The 15 gallon barrels tasted a bit smoother than the 30 gallon…possible the MLF in the 15’s is going faster?

We also tried the Accuvin Malic acid test strips. We got ~300 mg/L, with wine from a 15 gallon barrel noticeably lighter than the 30 gallons, which agrees with the above.

Erwin took a sample (50% from the 30 gallon barrel, 25% each from the 15 gallon barrels) to Vinquiry for analysis. Here is a table of the results, and a comparison to our juice panel before the ferment:

  Before ferment After ferment Comments
Brix 25.3 -  
Glucose + fructose - .11 g/L (.011%) <0.1% is considered dry
Alcohol - 14.2% Conversion rate = 14.2/25.3 = 0.56
pH 3.79 3.77  
TA 4.96 g/L 6.82 g/L Went up more than the 1 g/L we added
Free SO2 - 2 ppm  
Total SO2 - 11 ppm  
Malic acid 2.81 g/L  1.21 g/L dropping, but long ways to go
 Volatile acidity  - 0.2 g/L  .2 – .6 g/L sensory threshold; 1.4 g/L legal limit

Catching up…

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 by admin

I ‘ve been lazy on the blog, but not with the wine. Here is my catchup…

  1. We racked the 3 gallon container that had been Cu fined. We mixed the result with the other small containers so that the MLB would be in all containers. This is our current count:
    1 110 L barrel 30 gal
    2 55 L barrel 14.5 gal
    3 50 L barrel 13 gal
    4 11 L carboy 3 gal
    5 3 L jug 3/4 gal
    Totals 229 L 61 gal


  2. We also set up a space heater in the wine room, as it was getting too cold for the MLF to complete. We have set the room temperature at about 64 F.
  3. We have tasted several times. The new oak barrel is definitely having its effect on the wine. It seemed really strong after the first week, but somewhat less more recently. I am not sure why, or even if it was real!
  4. We innoculated for MLF Nov 12, so tomorrow it will have been 4 weeks. It should be moving along. I just can’t tell with the wine in the barrels.

I purchased an Accuvin malic acid test kit. I’ll try it out this weekend. It would be nice to know without doing chromatography or a lab test.

Off of the Cu

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, November 12th, 2010 by nielsj

We racked the syrah off of the copper fining sediment today. It went pretty well. The wine has great aromas, and tastes good. It has good acidity; some of that will come off during the MLF.

We ended up with all three oak barrels full, plus a 1 gallon jug, and a bottle for topping in the short term.

We inoculated everthing with malolactic bacteria. I mixed 2.5 g of the bacteria into 50 mL.

  • 110L barrel: 22 mL MLB solution
  • 50L barrel: 11 mL MLB solution
  • 55L barrel: 11 mL MLB solution
  • 1 gallon jug: 1 mL MLB
  • bottle: 1 mL MLB

After the last racking, we had taken all of the excess gross lees and wine and put it into one of the 14 gallon demijohns. We let it settle, and racked it also today, for three more gallons. We put in 4.5 mL 1% CuSO4 (1.0 ppm) to take the H2S out of it. In a week or so, we will rack it and use it for barrel topping for the next year.

First racking, Cu fining

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Monday, November 8th, 2010 by admin

We racked the wine off of the gross lees.

  • We racked each container into the bin we used for fermenting, so that the wine would be well mixed.
  • We ended up with ~240 liters of wine.
  • We did a Cu fining bench trial, using a control, 0.5 ppm, and 1.0 ppm as our samples.
    • We chose to go with the 1.0 ppm for the following reasons
      •  Slight improvement of the nose of the 1.0 over the 0.5 ppm.
      • We were worse off than last year, where we ended up doing a total addition of 0.9 ppm.
      • We decided that if it is not too expensive, we will also have  residual copper test done on this wine, after it has been racked again.
    • Addition calculation:
      • 240L of wine
      • 0.389 mL/L 1% CuSO4 solution = 1.0 ppm
      • 0.389 * 240 = 93.4 mL
    • We added 93 mL of 1% CuSO4 solution to the bin, and mixed well.
  • Finally, we pumped the wine back into the following, for a total of ~224 L. This means the measurement scale on the fermenting bin is off a little…
    • 110 L barrel (30 gallon)
    • 50 L barrel (13.2 gallon)
    • 57 L barrel (15 gallon)
    • 1 1 gallon jug (~3.5 L)
    • 1 3/4 gallon jug (~ 3 L)

The new barrel

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, November 6th, 2010 by nielsj

We are doing ~250L of syrah this year. We have a 3 year old 50L French Oak barrel, and a 2 year old 55L French Oak barrel. These are getting a bit old, and we won’t get all that much oak from them, plus that is nowhere near enough capacity.

So we decided to buy a new 110L French oak barrel. We bought it from Tonnellerie Radoux, a French cooperage with a US subsidiary based here in Santa Rosa. You can see it in the back of the other containers in this picture:


The cooperage is not what I expected…at least not up front.  They are way back in an airport business park. Looks like just another office building, except for the barrel outside the front door. Even inside, the customer space looks like an office, but with lots of barrel samples and posters and artwork. But you can hear the saws going behind one of the doors. And if you peek through the door, you see where they are made. Quite something, and would be a great tour.

Our barrel is French oak, with a tight grain, and a medium+ toast. The tight grain means that it is much slower to release it’s tannins and oak flavors into the wine. It really is meant for reds that will be aged for 12-24 months, which is what we are planning. If we get too much oak, we can swap out the wine that is in the older barrels.

The medium+ toast will give us “The apex of aromatic potential with a rich and complex sensorial contribution (pronounced vanilla, sweet chocolate, maple syrup, lactones and spice). Tannin potential is reduced but still present.”

There you have it in Radoux’s own marketing words…the apex of aromatic potential!

Pressed 76 gallons of wine

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 by nielsj

This is a first draft for this post. I will be amending it…

Pressed today into the following containers:


  1. 14 gallon demijohn
  2. 14 gallon demijohn
  3. 15 gallon 4 year old barrel
  4. 13 gallon 3 year old oak barrel
  5. 6.5 gallon glass craboy
  6. 6 gallon glass carboy
  7. 5 gallon glass carboy
  8. 3 gallon glass carboy

That adds up to 76.5 gallons of wine! That will drop a lot with racking, but it is still a lot. The goal is to end up in:

  1. 30 gallon new French oak barrel
  2. 15 gallon barrel
  3. 13 gallons barrel
  4. Some in glass for topping off the next to years.

That is 58 gallons. I think we easily have that. We are going to use some of the glass…

There was no apparent H2S smell either. It must have all blown off with the Co2 of the ferment. It is odd because we smelled it daily, although be the end of punching down it was usually gone.

Here is a record of the punching down..

Day# Date Day Time Punch Temp Brix Comments
0 10/20 Thu ? nj 50 - Crush
1 10/21 Fri 12PM nj 45 - Floated bowl of dry ice on must
2 10/22 Sat ? nj 45 26.5 Added last of dry ice.
3 10/23 Sun ? nj 55 26.5 Used CO2 tank for CO2 layer. Try to warm up room.
4 10/24 Mon ? ? ? ?
5 10/25 Tue ? ? ? ? Took sample to Vinquiry
6 10/26 Wed 55 25.3 Brix based on Vinquiry analysis
7 10/27 Thu 8AM x  60 25.5
12PM x  62  25.5 Added yeast at 12:50PM
5PM x - -
9PM x  66 - Nice cap; ferment going
8 10/28 Thu 8AM x - -
12PM x - -
5PM x - -
9PM x  76  21.5 Good smells; very active ferment
10:30PM x 80 -
9 10/29 Fri 5AM x  80  17
8AM x - -
12PM x  78  14
5PM x  -  -
9PM x  80 - H2S smell started
10 10/30 Sat 8AM x - 10
12PM x - -
5PM x - -
9PM x  76 -
11 10/31 Sun 8AM x 76 8 H2S smell; dissipated nicley withcap management
12PM x 74 -
5PM x 74 -
9PM x  74 6 H2S still; gone with punching
12 11/1 Mon 8AM x 76 -
12PM x 72 3-5 Very hard to measure Brix; toomuch sediment; pH 3.59
5PM x - -
13 11/2 Tue 8AM x - -
12PM x - -
5PM x - -
14 11/3 Wed 8AM  x 68 0-3 Brix hard to measure
15 11/4 Thu Pressed off wine into glass.
16 11/5 Fri
17 11/6 Sat
18 11/7 Sun
19 11/8 Mon Racked off gross lees, coppered, into barrels.
10 11/9 Tue

Go metric!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, Calculations on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 by admin

It has to be easier to do all this in metric, so here are some of our 2010 Syrah numbers, in english and metric:

  • Must total volume: 108 gallons = 408 liters ~= 4 hL
  • Must total weight: 108 gallons * 10.35 lbs/gallon = 1118 lbs = 507 kg
  • Must weight/volume = 507/408 = 1.24 kg/L  (water is 1 kG/L)…This is probably wrong. We started with a 25 brix juice by hydrometer, which corresponds to a specific gravity of 1.107.
  • Target wine: 68 gallons = 257 L = 342+ bottles = 28+ cases

Other interesting container equivalents :

  • Full barrel =  225 L = 59 gallons = 300 bottles = 25 cases
  • Half barrel = 110 L = 29.3 gallon = 146+ bottles = 12+ cases
  • 1/4 barrel = 50 L = 13.3 gallons = 66+ bottles = 5+ cases
  • 14 gallon demijohn = 53 liters = 70+ bottles = 5+ cases
  • 6.5 gallon carboy = 24.4 L = 32+ bottles = 2+ cases
  • 6.0 gallon carboy = 22.7 L = 30+ bottles = 2+ cases
  • 5.0 gallon carboy =  18.9 L = 25.2 bottles = 2+ cases
  • 1.0 gallon jug =  3.8 L = 5 bottles

How about other additions:

  • Yeast additon: 2.0 lb/1000 gallons ~= 1 g/gallon ~= 25 g/hL
  •  GoFerm addition: 2.5 lb/1000 gallons ~= 1.25 g/gallon ~= 30 g/hL
  • FermaidK addition: 25 g/hL total in two seperate additions
  • Enoferm Alpha MLB: 1 g/hL

Hot hot hot

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by nielsj

On Erwin’s advice, I looked up the max temp on our yeast…82 F. We’ll hit that easily. I headed back out to the farm to check the temp. We were at 80F, with a little H2S on the nose. I did a very vigorous punch down; the H2S was gone.

Time to slow it down. I took the bin cover off; I opened the front and back windows; I put two 1 gallon ices on the must. I bet tomorrow we still hit 85 F. I will go out early…

New cellar rats!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by nielsj

The ferment is going strong:

  • Brix: 21.5; it has dropped 5 brix since yesterday
  • Must temp: 77 F; it has warmed up considerably. I shut off the heat lamps. It will be in the 80’s by tomorrow, and I don’t want it to go any higher than 90F.
  • The nose was perfect. Occasional whiff of ethyl acetate, but that is normal, and probably good as a very small amount adds fruitiness to the wine.
  • Taste was great. Still very sweet. Even my kids liked it!

Here are the new cellar rats, punching down the cap:


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 by admin

The ferment has started on its own! There was a slight cap on the edges of the bin where the heat lamps were. It is time to add our own yeast.

  1. First we finished with the tartaric addition, by adding 92 grams more tartaric.
  2. Second, we mixed up a yeast starter as follows:
    1. GoFerm at 2.5 lb/1000 gallons. In our case, we assumed 100 gallons of must , and needed 0.25 lb, or 4 ounces of GoFerm. We only had 2.2 ounces of GoFerm left (from a 3 oz bag), so that is what we used. Note that this is my first year using ANY yeast rehydration nutrient.
    2. Added 20x the weight of the GoFerm 5.5 cups H2o at 110F.
    3. Mixed it up, and let it sit until it dropped to 104 F.
    4. Slowly added 150g ES488 yeast. The additon rate is anywhere from .75 to 1.5 g/gallon. We used the  1.5 because we already had a bit of a wild ferment going, and we want our yeast to be the main yeast.
    5. We let the yeast slurry sit for 20 minutes and at lunch!
    6. Then we slowly diluted the slurry with must, to bring the temperature slowly down close to the must temp of 62 F.
    7. Poured it in and mixed it up!
  3. We are leaving the heat lamps on the must container to try and move it along.

Our numbers are in…start the ferment

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 by admin

Here are the results of our Vinquiry Core Juice panel: 2010SyrahCoreJuicePanel 

Our analysis of those numbers:

  • Brix: 25.3…no more sugar need…this will result in 12.7-15.2% alcohol, probably around 14%.
  • pH: 3.79. This is quite a bit higher than we would like. Our acid addition (see below) will lower it somewhat, but it will also rise during pressing. The  plan is to monitor the pH during pressing.
  • TA: 4.96 g/L. We want to be at 6 g/L. So we need to add 1 g/L tartaric, using our target wine amount: 
    • 60 gallons target wine-> 214 g tartaric acid…I only have 122 g tartaric… need 92 g more.
    • Added 122 g tartaric
  • Nitrogen
    • Ammonia: 31 mg/L
    • Assimilable amino nitrogen: 221 mg/L
    • YAN = 31 + 221 = 252 mg/L.This is considered a high level of YAN, so that will minimize our nutrient additions.
  • malic acid: 2.81 g/L: This will get converted to lactic acid during the MLF, so our TA will drop. 

Just for fun, we measured what 1/2 gallon of must weighs… 5 lbs, 1.8 oz

  • 10.23 lbs must/gallon
  • 108 gallons * 10.23 lbs must/gallon = 1100 lbs grapes!
  • Typical wine yield = 16 lbs grapes/ gallon. If you assume all the weight is in the must (pretty accurate, as we only throw away the stems), then we should end up with 1100/16 = 68.8 gallons.
  • Let’s go metric! What would that look like? I’ll write it up in a separate post!

The must temperature was still at 55 F, too cold for the yeast addition, which requires >59 F. So we will wait one more day.


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 by nielsj

I got some testing numbers for a wine must made up of 25% zin from the Moaveni vineyard, plus 75% Syrah 470 from the same vineyard. Our syrah is made up of maybe 30% syrah Alban and 70% syrah 470 from the same vineyards. So our number may look very similar when we get them tested Monday. But here are the syrah/zin blend numbers:

  1. Acidity: The TA is low. Typically winemakers add  tartaric acid to get it up to 6 g/L. This wine will need an addition. One might think that the TA should be a sum of the acids in the wine, but it actually comes out lower than expected. I have no idea why!
    1. TA (titratable acidity) 4.8 g/L
    2. pH 3.74
    3. L-malic acid 1.92 g/L
    4. tartaric acid 4.38 g/L
  2. Sugars: These numbers are fine. But here is an interesting quote from a testing lab: “It might seem surprising that glucose + fructose numbers often appear higher than the corresponding °Brix. The reason for this apparent anomaly is that °Brix is measured as a percentage by weight measurement so °Brix values are influenced by the density of the juice. Glucose + fructose is measured as weight by volume and is independent of juice density.”
    1. brix 25.5 degrees
    2. glucose + fructose 273 g/L
  3. Nitrogen 
    1. ammonia 73 mg/L
    2. alpha-amino compounds 141 mg/L
    3. yeast assimilable nitrogen 201 mg/L (as N): This is commonly referred to as YAN. This number is a midrange number, and probably means some extra N will be necessary. If the yeasts don’t get enough N, they get cranky and produce the H2S stink.
  4. potassium 2100 mg/L

More numbers

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 by nielsj

Mixed up the cold soak again. No more dry ice, so I used the CO2 tank to put down a layer of CO2.

  • Sugars: 26.5 by hydrometer
  • pH: 3.75
  • Temp 50F; starting to warm up.

I took  down the blanket window coverings (trying to keep the room cool). I put up black weed cloth over the windows. This should keep out the light, but warm up in the sun, to try and warm up the must.


Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by nielsj

“Punched down” the cold soaking grapes. Starting to get some color. Added the last of the dry ice.

  • Sugars: 26.5 by hydrometer, 24.7 by refractometer
  • pH: 3.7 
  • Temp: 45 F

We goofed with the SO2

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 by nielsj

So BevPeople do the SO2 calcs with the final juice volume in mind. That is what we did. We wanted 50 ppm SO2 at crush, and we targeted the 60 gallons of wine we hope to have someday.

MoreWine says target the must volume, and they underline the comment! So we should have used 108 gallons for the calculation.

I went back out this noon and added 150 ml of 10% sulphite solution. Now we are at 50 ppm in our must.

The must temp was at 45 F, so it dropped 5 F. That is perfect.

I floated a small bowl of dry ice on the top of the must. This will produce a nice blanket of CO2 on the must, to keep the it from browning in the air.

2010 Syrah Crush!

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 by nielsj

Here are the stats…

  • 1/3 Alban, 2/3 470 clone of Syrah
  • 26.0 Brix by hydrometer
  • 24.5 Brix by refractometer
  • 1.11 specific gravity
  • 3.5 pH
  • 50 F
  • Must volume: 30 * 18.5 * 45 = 24975 cu in = 108 gallons
  • Grape weight = 108 * 8.35 = 902 lbs
  • Estimated wine = 900/16 = 56 gallons wine ~ 60 gallons wine
  • Sulphite addition: 50 ppm = 197 mL of 10% stock meta

We will cold soak for 4 days. On monday I’ll take a sample to Vinquiry for analysis, and maybe start the Femrne t Monday night or Tuesday!

Praying to the wine gods!

Crush crew:

Getting close to harvest again

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 by nielsj

I racked the SB into a single 6.5 gallon carboy, and 3/4 gallon jug. Smells good. Tastes good…grapefruit, crisp. Now let it sit for a month and settle  out. I added 30 ppm SO2.

Also measured the sugars in the zin and syrah…

  1. Syrah: 23 Brix; 3.3 pH; Some crunchy   seeds; some still green. Flavors are really good.
  2. Zin: 23 Brix; 3.4 pH; Good flavor. The crunchy seeds actually taste pretty good. Skins slightly tannic, but not as much as one might think they should be.

Some photos of the Block 3 syrah

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by admin


Syrah, zin numbers

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Sunday, October 10th, 2010 by nielsj

I sampled the grapes this morning and took down some numbers:

  • Zinfandel: 21.5 Brix; 3.3 pH. Some of the seeds were brown and crunchy, some still green. Lots of cluster problems (turkeys, raisins, green berries). There won’t be much zin this year.
  • Block 3 syrah: 22 Brix; 3.3 pH. Clusters look really good here. Again, some crunchy brown seeds, some still green. We need another week on this. It is going to be  a very warm week…in the 80’s. That should be good for the grapes.

Syrah numbers

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 by nielsj

After pressing the Pinot yesterday, I took a sampling of grapes in the Block 3 syrah:

  • 21 Brix
  • 3.2 pH

Those numbers look good. We just need a few more weeks of ripening! And the weather forcast looks pretty good right now.

Vineyard Walkthru

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 by admin

We did our vineyard walk through today. The three winemakers who are going to make the Syrah decided how they will divide up the harvest. There was lots of concern over not getting ripe enough. The Syrah is at about 15 brix sugar. It needs to be at least 22. That’s 7 to go, and it usually takes about 1 week per 1 Brix. So we are out 7 weeks, assuming good weather, which is shaky at this point.

They talked about foliar sprays that boost sugar; they decided not to. The wines these guys sell are >$50/bottle. They need the flavors to be right. If the sugars and resultant alcohol are a little low, but the flavor is right, thay are happy. No one knew what would happen to flavors using these foliar sprays.

They were unhappy with the few green berries that are left. The problem is that the green berries will turn purple, but will never ripen. And when the berries are on the sorting table (yes, these guys sort individual berries before crushing), you can’t find the unripe ones and into the wine they go. So they would rather have a crew go through the vineyard and remove the green berries while they can see them. That is a slow process, and will cost the grower some bucks.

We are looking at the end of October at this point for the Syrah. The Pinot however will probably be ready in 2 weeks.

Crush planning

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by admin

This is going to be a very crazy crush season. The weather sucks! We are far colder this summer than most. So the grapes are not ripening fast enough. And we may have rain this weekend. As long as it is not too much, and it warms up and dries off, we’ll be OK. Otherwise there will be unfriendly organisms growing on the grapes.

I walked the vineyard Tuesday morning, measuring the sugars and picking out the rows I want. This Saturday, the real winemakers are walking the vineyard to divvy up the grapes. My quantities are mice nuts compared to what they are making, which is mice nuts to well known wineries. 

  • Syrah: 2 different vineyard blocks: 13 -18 Brix. Almost completely turned. Anything that hadn’t been more  that 50% through veraison last week was dropped. So there was a lot of fruit on the ground. What is left looks pretty good.
  • Pinot: 20-22 Brix. Getting close! Everything is well through veraison. Lots of bird damage however. The vineyard has wild turkeys…maybe not for long. Early Thanksgiving anyone? The grapes tasted good. It is amazing how much more tannic the syrah skins are compared to the pinot. The seeds are partly turning brown, which is supposed to be an indicator for ripeness.
  • Sauv Blanc: 15-18 Brix. The grapes have a noticeable “cat pee” taste. This somewhat common in SB. It does seem to be dissipating, as I have been tasting for a month or so.
  • Zinfandel…I didn’t get up there. I’ll do that this weekend. These grapes are not sold, so I’ll have more than I can handle.

Here is my 2010 Crush Plan. Since I am making 4 wines, planning the containers and equipment is more important. I have no idea how a real winery manages all this stuff. I am glad my living is not on the line!

Looking forward to the 2010 crush

Posted in 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 by admin

Planning for the upcoming crush…I am going to make four wines this year, all from the Moaveni Vineyard in Bennett Valley:

  1. Sauvignon Blanc: 150 lbs grapes ~= 7.5 gallons wine  ~= 3 cases
  2. Syrah: 500 lbs grapes ~= 30 gallons ~= 12.5 cases  ( this one with Erwin )
  3. Zinfandel: 150 lbs grapes ~= 9 gallons wine ~= 4 cases
  4. Rose of Zin: 150 lbs grapes ~= 7.5 gallons wine ~= 3 cases 

I am going to be busy. This is more than I have ever tried. The good news is I have sunk my entire allowance for toys for several years into a crusher/destemmer and a bladder press, so no more renting and driving around the equipment. I’ll have it when I need it.

I do need to plan out the glass and barrels that I’ll need. I’ll start putting together a table of the required items.