30 ppm or 300 ppm, that IS the question

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, Calculations on Monday, December 16th, 2013 by admin

Just found this old draft of a post…might as well post it! I did get an aswer from the lab..I’ll post that later.


The ’11 syrah barrel has been silent for some time now, indicating probable MLF completion.

I checked it with an Accuvin Malic test strip. They are really convenient, so I would really like to be able to use them. The strip showed no color, also indicating MLF completion.

I took a sample to Vinquiry, and had a malic acid test performed. The test results indicated 10 mg/100 mL, or 100 ppm, indicating NOT complete. The industry standard is a max of 30 ppm for completion.

This is exactly what happened to us last year. Vinquiry results never indicated complete, but both Accuvin and BevPeople Reflectoquant tests indicated complete. Last year we dropped the investigation, called it complete, and drank the wine! The winemaker in me says WTF! why am I wasting time on these trivialities? The engineer in me says something is fishy; gotta figure it out. Last year the winemaker wins, this year the engineer!

First I did a bunch of research, and checked with BevPeople to make sure the 30 ppm number is correct. I then put together the following email summary of the situation, and fired it off to Vinquiry:

I have an issue with the results of your malic acid tests. What follows is the sequence of events that is causing my confusion, and I am looking for help in clearing up my confusion! It has cost my colleague and I a lot of time and money, and I do not want to use Vinquiry again for malic acid tests until I understand what Vinquiry is doing.
Here goes, starting in the beginning of 2011:
  • Jan 19, 2011:
    • 30 gallon ’10 Syrah:
      • Vinquiry test: 9 mg/100mL = 90 mg/L = 90 ppm
      • Accuvin test strip showed no color, indicating MLF complete.
    • 13 gallon Syrah:
      • Vinquiry test: 24 mg/100mL = 240 mg/L = 240 ppm
      • Accuvin test strip showed some color, indicating not quite finished.
    • My understanding is that the threshold for being bottle stable is 30 ppm. Many sources state this number. I have attached one source from Cornell University, called MalolacticAcid3Ways.pdf. Based on the Vinquiry test results, and the belief that the Accuvin results are difficult to judge, I assumed that out MLF was not complete.
  • Feb 14, 2011:
    • 13 gallon ’10 syrah:
      • Vinquiry test: 7 mg/100 mL = 70 mg/L = 70 ppm
      • Again, based on the 30 ppm threshold, I decided MLF was not finished.
  • Mar 11, 2011:
    • 13 gallon ’10 syrah:
      • Vinquiry test: 11 mg/100 mL = 110 mg/L = 110 ppm
      • Again, not finished, but actually worse. At this point we decided that maybe we were not stirring it properly, or sampling properly. So we very carefully stirred the lees twice a week, and kept the temperature at 65F with a heater and thermostat.
  • Apr 6. 2011:
    • 13 gallon ’10 syrah:
      • Vinquiry test: 12 mg/100 mL = 120 mg/L = 120 ppm
      • We are now very frustrated, having spent a LOT of money on tests.
      • We took samples of our three barrels to Beverage People and measured malic acid with their reflectoquant system.
      • BevPeople reflectoquant test = 20.3 mg/L = 20.3 ppm, indicating MLF complete.
    • 30 gallon ’10 syrah:
      • BevPeople reflectoquant test = 14.2 mg/L = 14.2 ppm, indicating MLF complete
    • 15 gallon ’10 surah:
      • BevPeople reflectoquant test = 16.4 mg/L = 16.4 ppm, indicating MLF complete.

At this point we were very upset, didn’t know what to think, but because Accuvin and Reflectoquant tests indicated MLF complete, we decided to ignore the Vinquiry results, and call it complete! I should have called Vinquiry and worked this out, but I just didn’t want to deal with it.

We are happily drinking the ’10 at this point!
On to 2012:
  • This year I attempted to monitor the progress of the MLF by listening to the crackle of the bubbles in the barrel. I knew we were sugar dry based on a post fermentation Vinquiry panel, so there was no sugar ferment going on.
  • Nov 19, 2011: Inoculated for MLF with Enoferm Alpha. No crackle sounds from the barrel.
  • I stirred twice a week, and held the cellar temp at 65 F. I could clearly clear the crackle of the MLF by Dec 5.
  • Jan 9: Slight crackle coming from barrel.
  • Jan 22: No sound coming from barrel.
    • Accuvin test showed no color indicating MLF finished.
  • Jan 23: Vinquiry test: 10 mg/100 mL = 100 mg/L = 100 ppm, indicating NOT complete.
  • Here we go again! At this point I called Vinquiry. I spoke with someone who told me that the Vinquiry threshold for MLF being complete was 30 mg/100mL = 300 mg/L = 300 ppm, so our test indicated complete by this threshold. But this is a factor of 10 larger that what seems to be generally accepted in the industry.
  • I downloaded the Vinquiry procedure off of the Vinquiry website. It clearly states the 30 mg/100 mL threshold, a factor of 10 off of the industry standard.
I did some research on the web and found this link describing the enzymatic procedure:
The equation in there is very similar, but does not have the extra 10 in the denominator. If I plug in the volumes from your procedure into their equation, I get a result of:
c = deltaA * 2.6775  g/L = deltaA * 267.75 mg/L
This result is off by a factor of 10 from your equation in your procedure.
Bottom line: I think that although your tests claim to report in units of mg/100 mL, I think you are really reporting in units of mg/L. If this were true, then the results I was getting indicate that the MLF is finished, and that your result showing 10 is actually 10 mg/L = 10 ppm, which meets the accepted threshold of 30 ppm.
I would really like to understand the discrepancy. I consider tests that I have done via Vinquiry to be closest to the “truth”, but if the numbers don’t match up with the literature, then something is wrong.
Any thoughts? The reality is that I don’t understand the details behind the procedures, and my analysis could easily be wrong, but still, the standard for Bottle Stable from Vinquiry is 10x larger than the standard usually quoted (see attached paper from Cornell). How can that be?
I have attached the above quoted test results from Vinquiry.
Niels Jensen
Poppyseed Cellars


Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Friday, December 6th, 2013 by admin

We started at 8 AM. Cleaned for an hour, and we were bottling by 9AM.

We first bottled the 30 gallon 2011 Syrah, then the 60 gallon 2011 Zin.

We finished bottling at 3:30, and cleanup took until 5PM.

Long day!


Some learnings:

  • The bottles should be a lighter color so that we can see the wine level as we are filling.
  • Buy a better quality cork than BevPeople is selling. We had some recorking to do because the corks would break down.
  • When corking, pull down the handle partway twice, pre-compressing the cork. Then cork it in the third pull

Test result and sulphiting

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 by admin

Vinquiry sulphite test:  2013-12-02-006:

  • 30 gallon barrel
    • 26 ppm:   added +9 ppm (18 mL 10% SO2) more to reach 35 ppm for bottling Friday

Tasting Notes

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Monday, October 21st, 2013 by admin

Here are the tasting notes from the Harvest Fair.

Because all three judges awarded a gold, we got double golds!

Topped and sulphited

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 MV Fortified Syrah, 2012 MV Late Harvest Syrah, 2012 MV Syrah on Friday, October 18th, 2013 by admin

Topped and sulphited the following wines:

  • 2012 MV Syrah: +20 ppm sulphite
  • 2012 MV Late harvest syrah, both barrels: +20 ppm sulphite
  • 2012 MV Fortified syrah: +15 ppm
  • 2011 MV Syrah: +20 ppm sulphite
  • 2011 MV Zinfandel: +20 ppm sulphite

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

Surprising Harvest fair winners!

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Thursday, September 12th, 2013 by admin

Wow! Our 2011’s did well in the 2013 Sonoma County harvest Fair Wine Contest.

Erwin and I both entered the 2011 MV Syrah into the fair. Erwin got a double gold, and I got a double gold, plus Best of Class!

We also both entered the 2011 MV Zinfandel into the fair. Erwin got a silver, and I got a gold, plus Best of Class!

Can’t ask for much better results than that. Except maybe win the sweepstakes award!

Here are the results:  2013AmateurWineWinners

Bottled the 15 gallon 2011 Syrah

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 by admin

Started at 9 AM, finished up around 1PM.

The enolmatic worked fine. No foaming issues…I kept the speed slow.

I flushed the bottles with N2 before filling. Used up about half a 20 ft^3 tank. I will need a larger tank for the big barrels.

The actual bottling took less than an hour. Prep and cleanup took the rest of the time.

I sanitized with Starsan. It foamed of course, but rinsed out nicely. Afterward, I ran Proxycarb through it, and let it sit for a few minutes, then Starsan again, and finally fresh water.

We put a citric/SO2 solution into the empty barrel.

Getting ready to bottle

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, July 26th, 2013 by admin

Sampled the 15 and 30 gallon barrels for SO2 testing.

Results here:

  • 15 Gallon: 32 ppm; added 3ppm to 35 ppm
  • 30 gallon: 34 ppm; added 1 ppm to 35 ppm


Plan is to use new Enolmatic bottler + N2 bottle flushing to bottle the 15 gallon barrel first. We will see how that goes before moving onto the 30 gallon barrel!

Topped and sulphited

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, June 8th, 2013 by admin
  • Topped
  • sulphited +10 ppm

Test Result

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, April 26th, 2013 by admin

Had the sulphites checked 2013-04-26-011:

  • 30 gallon barrel: 32 ppm
  • 15 gallon barrel: 29 ppm

Just right.

Everybody topped off

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 MV Fortified Syrah, 2012 MV Late Harvest Syrah, 2012 MV Syrah on Monday, April 15th, 2013 by admin

Topped off all wines!

And tasted, with spitting. Very enjoyable morning!


Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Friday, April 5th, 2013 by admin

Erwin and I bottled today…

  • Re-hydrated the empty 30 gallon barrel (overnight).
  • Bottled the 15 gallon barrel of ’11 zinfandel.
    • Struggled big time with the bottle wand on our new zin bottles. The punt on the bottles prevents the wand from opening. The want must be held precisely on the top of the punt and held there while filling. I am done with the wand after today! next time we do something much better.
    • We got about 6 cases of wine. 3 for Shahrokh, 1 1/2 each for Erwin and myself.
    • Cleaned the 15 gallon barrel
  • 2011 Syrah 60 gallon barrel
    • Bottled 4 cases of ’11 syrah (from 60 gallon barrel). This went fast, as the syrah bottles that we used caused no problems with the bottle wand.
    • Pumped into 15 gallon barrel.
    • Pumped into 30 gallon barrel.
    • Bottled 2 more cases of ’11 syrah (from 60 gallon barrel). This went slow, as the siphon could not be started with the siphon pump. We ended up using my electric pump to start the siphon, and then bottled using the wand. It was also slow because we were at the bottom of the barrel, so there was not much height difference.
    • Got ~6 cases of the ’11 syrah, 3 for Erwin, 3 for me.

Taste, sulphited and topped

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Friday, March 29th, 2013 by admin

2011 MV Syrah:

  • Tasted: the oak is getting quite noticeable. Not sure why. this wine is in one of the 2010 Bevan Cellars barrels that we got. Shouldn’t be this strong, as it has been used at least one year, or so we believe.
  • We decided we have to get it out of this barrel soon. Maybe next Friday, in the morning. Tentative plan:
    • Bottle the 15 gallon barrel of ’11 Zin
    • Transfer 30 gallons of ’11 syrah to unused 30 gallon barrel (also a 2010 barrel, but held the 2010 syrah for two years).
    • Transfer 15 gallons of ’11 syrah to just emptied Zin barrel 
    • Bottle 15 gallons of the ’11 Syrah (whatever is left after filling barrels)
    • Bottle the rest of the 2011 syrah (45 gallons) at end of summer.
    • Bottle the rest of the 2011 zin (60 gallons) at end of summer.
  • Need 60 gallons * 5 = 300 bottles = 25 + 1 extra = 26 cases burgundy bottles for 2011 MV Syrah
  • Need 60+15 = 75 gallons *5 = 375 bottles = 31.25 + 1 extra = 33 cases bordeaux bottles for 2011 MV Zin
  • Sulphited +25 ppm
    • 60 gallon barrel: 100 mL 10% kmeta solution
  • Topped off the barrel


Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 MV Fortified Syrah, 2012 MV Late Harvest Syrah, 2012 MV Syrah on Saturday, February 9th, 2013 by admin

Tasted and topped everything…

2011 zin: both barrels good. Still slight difference, 15 gallon better, richer, but don’t know why.

2011 Syrah: very night; deep dark fruit; light tannins; great color

2012 Syrah: still something funky; I don’t think just a young wine, but maybe; cu did not help

2012 LH Syrah: definitely off nose; cu helped; need to rack, and see if cu still needed

2012 port: very nice; alc a bit harsh; needs a lot more time

2011 MV Syrah sulphited

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Friday, January 18th, 2013 by admin

We haven’t sulphited since November, when we brought it up to 30 ppm.

20 ppm addition

  • 60 gallon barrel: 80 mL 10% SO2 solution

Tasting Notes

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 MV Fortified Syrah, 2012 MV Late Harvest Syrah, 2012 MV Syrah on Friday, January 11th, 2013 by admin

Paul, Erwin and I went out to taste everything in barrels. Based on some tastings over Christmas with the family, I am worried we are over oaking the 2011’s.

  • 2011 Zinfandel: Started with a side by side tasting of the zin barrels:
    • 15 gallon barrel: Clean clear fruit. Light tannins.
    • 60 gallon barrel: Similar to the 15, but something else also. I wondered if it was brett, or maybe the beginnings of two much oak. We had lots of discussions, but could not positively ID the extras in the 60 gallon barrel. Decided a good future plan is to leave the 15 gallon barrel alone until summer. Transfer 30 gallons of the 60 gallon barrel to an older 30 gallon barrel, and bottle the other 30 gallons.
  • 2011 Syrah: Generally happy with this one. Tannins much lighter than the 2010. Aromatics very nice; clearly syrah.
  • 2012 Syrah: Something funky going on. Nose was off putting. Cu didn’t seem to help it. Hopefully just stuff from the MLF. Plan is to sulphite (if MLF done), let it sit for a month, and rack.
  • 2012 Late Harvest Syrah: Much better nose than the earlier 2012 syrah. Not sure why. But still not clean. Same plan as for the early syrah.
  • 2012 Syrah Port: Coming along nicely. Need to get the numbers to see what we have.

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.

Lots of racking

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

We did a lot today. Started around 7AM, finished up at 12:0PM. Lomg day.

  • Measured some of the ferments. From <1 to <3 in the various tubs.
  • Emptied the new 2 year old barrel, rinsed it carefully, and  moved it to the cellar to let it drain.
  • Racked the 2011 syrah from our 1 year old ReCoop barrel to a 2 year old barrel:
    •  The nose was fantastic. Some chocolate and cherries.
    • The mouth feel was a little light. We could use a little more structure, some tannins. Hopefully more time in the barrel will help.
    • We had extra wine since we were going from a ReCoop to a non ReCoop. We needed up with almost 2 cases of bottles which we will use to top.
    • We added 20 ppm sulphites.
  • We cleaned and rinsed the 1 year old ReCoop that held the 2011 syrah, and set it up to take the 2012.
  • We started by racking the press run into the barrel, but the pump clogged quickly. Still too much activity in the press run keeping the sediment in the juice. We cleaned and unclogged the pump (took 1/2 hour).
  • We carefully racked the free run tubs into the barrel. We poured some of the wine that we didn’t rack back into the press run tub.
  • Then we racked some of the press run from demijohn into barrel, and stopped a couple of inches from the top.
  • Finally we poured the rest of the press run from the demijohn  and the press run from the 30 gallon tub into a single 20 gallon tub. We will let this continue to ferment until it settles, and then rack it.
  • Put an airlock on the barrel; it started bubbling right away.
  • Covered the press run tub with its lid and a blanket.
  • Cleaned and sanitized everything!


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.

Sulphited the rose

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, April 1st, 2012 by admin

I stopped by to see if the rose had stopped bubbling…it hadn’t! Esteban had reconnected the space heater that I had disconnected when we racked the  zin and syrah. So it was still at 70F instead of in the 50’s.

So I moved the rose next to the barrels. I added 40 ppm sulphites. Hopefully the colder temperature plus the sulphite will put an end to the ferment. I wanted to leave a little sugar, and it is under 1% at this point.

I will rack it in a few weeks, and put in some stuff to ensure that the yeast cannot reproduce. I don’t have the equipment to sterile filter, which is the best method to make sure it doesn’t continue to ferment.

Also topped the 11 syrah and the 11 zin. The zin is tasting pretty good. The syrah still has something odd on the nose. Not sure what is going on.


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.

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!

Malic test results

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by admin

Here is the Vinquiry report: 2012-01-23-038_11syrah_malic

We are a 100 mg/L, less than the 300 that Vinquiry recommends for completion. Yay!

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.

’11 Taste check

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Monday, December 5th, 2011 by admin

I tasted both the ’11 zin and ’11 syrah:

  • Zin: most of the H2S was gone, although I think there was still a little. Something blew off in the first few seconds, and then everything smelled great. The taste was bright and zin fruit. I will need to keep checking this. I could hear the crackle of either the ferment finishing or the MLG going or both.
  • Syrah: smelled and tasted good. Much less tannic than last year, although you can feel it. We’ll see what the barrel adds. I could easily hear the crackle of the MLF. This one was totally dry, so it has to be the MLF.

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.

The post fermentation numbers…

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Monday, November 14th, 2011 by admin

Here are the Vinquiry post fermentation panels.

Long day at Poppyseed

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Friday, November 11th, 2011 by admin

I took the day off from my regular job…

I racked the  ’11 zin Rose into two 5 gallon carboys. Still a strong citrus taste. If this goes like the sauv blanc goes, that citrus will fade. It is still very cloudy. I measured the sugars after racking, and the Clinitest says 1% !  It seems high, but maybe. It should finish the ferment in the next month or so.

I racked the ’11 Zin from barrels into the white tubs, giving it some aeration. Then racked back, and inoculated with ML bacteria, 1 package of Enoferm Alpha. Zin smells and tastes good. Very much like zin; but it won’t be a “big” or sweet zin. It is going to be more crisp and fruity, like a syrah. At least I hope so. I forgot to measure the sugar.

Finally, we racked the ’11 Syrah into the same white tubs, with heavy splashing to try and get rid of the H2S. It wasn’t enough, so we did a copper fining trial with 0, 0.5, 1.0 ppm of copper sulphate. Just like last year, we decided to with the 1.0 ppm. 1.0 ppm = 1.5 mL 1% solution/gallon = 93 mL 1% copper sulphate solution into the barrel. We also put copper into our topping containers, a 1 gallon,  3/4 gallon jugs.

I started at 10AM, and we finished about 4:30 PM, no lunch. I am tired!

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.


Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Rose of Zin, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by admin

I checked the sugars on all the ferments:

  • Rose of zin:
    • Free run: 0.4%;  taste of citrus, fruit, some bitterness; great fruity nose.
    • Press run: 0.6%
  • Zin (60 gallon barrel): 0.6 -1.0 %  (somewhere in between…); slight whiff of H2S dissipated with swirling; may need aeration racking to clean it up; some tannins, nice fruit, great color
  • Syrah (60 gallon barrel): 0.2 – 0.4%; still strong H2S. It took a lot of aerating to get it good. Will need to copper.
I have a space heater on a thermostat set for 65 F in the cellar. I put the glass carboys up on boxes to raise them off of the floor, which is colder. I also brought the thermostat  down to the level of the barrels and carboys. I think the carboys will move along a little quicker now. The rose has been fermenting a long time!

Barreled the syrah!

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Saturday, October 29th, 2011 by admin

After settling for 48 hours, we racked off to a barrel on Saturday morning. Attendees: Esteban, Shahrokh, Erwin, and myself.

  • We racked into 14 gallon demijohns to transport the wine to the cellar, then pumped into a 59 gallon ReCoop barrel. I once calculated inside surface area of a 59 gallon barrel: 3178 sq in. Recoop removes 1/4 inch, so that is 3178/4 = 794 cu in = 3.4 gallons of extra capacity, 62.4 gallon barrel
  • We had a 3 gallon carboy of leftovers: 65.4 gallons total, so we lost about 10 gallons in gross lees.
  • We will need to use some 2010 as topping wine.
  • We had definite H2S going on. Sometimes it would blow off, but then come back in the settling tubs while fermenting. We will probably have to use copper again this year.

Pressed the syrah!

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by admin

Wednesday eve…decided we needed to press off the syrah. We wanted to press sweet, and Wednesday night it was a 6 brix. Thursday morning it would be around 3…no choice but to press. We wanted to press a little sweet, as last years syrah was maybe a tad tannic, although we sure didn’t think so at a recent barrel tasting.

It was Esteban, Shahrokh and myself as cellar rats. Here are some stats:

  • 8Am – 11:30 Am: 3.5 hour for 108 gallons must
  • 108 gallons must pressed to ~75 gallons juice and gross lees.
  • We separated the juice into three gatgories: free run, moderate press, and hard press. They all tasted good; we plan on just combining them.
  • 3 press runs, plus a 4th re-pressing of all the pressed grapes. We got 5 more gallons, and it tasted pretty good.
  • We started around 8AM, and finished by 11:30 AM, so 3 1/2 hours for 108 gallons must.

Syrah fermentation notes

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by admin

I finally put together a table to keep the ferment notes in. Here it is for the syrah:

Day# Date Day Time Punch Temp Brix Comments
0 10/18 Tue - - - - Crush day
1 10/19 Wed - - - - Cold soak; dry ice
2 10/20 Thu - - - - Cold soak
3 10/21 Fri - - -  Warming up
4 10/22 Sat - NJ 55 - Warming up; mild cap already; wild ferment started.
5 10/23 Sun 8AM - -  -
12PM nj 59  - Added yeast  – see notes; moderate cap
5PM - -  -
9PM nj 62 -
6 10/24 Mon 8AM  nj  64  -
12PM  x  64 -
5PM  x 66 -
9PM  nj 67 23 Smells good.
7 10/25  Tue  8AM - - -
 12PM x 72 -
 5PM x 74 -
9PM nj 77 16 slight H2S; gone with punchdown
8  10/26  Wed  8AM NJ  78  11.5

Definite H2S again. Vigorous punch down helped a lot, but did not eliminate. Decided to add a round of nutrients, in case that is what is causing the H2S. Added 50 g Fermaid K (0.5 g/gallon standard addition). This is going so fast that we will not be ready to press it off sweet. It will probably go dry before we can press. We still need a barrel plan!

12PM 78 -
 5PM  80 -
 9PM  NJ 82 6.5
9  10/27  Thu  8AM  NJ 81  3.5 Pressed in the AM; finished by noon; 3.5 hours
12PM  - - -
5PM  - - -
9PM -  - -
10 10/28 Fri 8AM - - - Still fermenting
12PM - - -
5PM - - -
9PM - - 0.6 Measured sugar in 30 gallon free run container by Clinitest. All containers still fermenting.
11 10/29 Sat 8AM  -
12PM Racked off the gross lees into barrels

Punch down

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 by admin

I just went out to check on the fermenting wine. In  the room I got a slight whiff of H2S. I punched down both the zin and syrah. The H2S smell dissipated.

  • Zin temp ~ 70 F
  • Zin sugar ~ 20 brix
  • Syrah temp ~77 F
  • Syrah sugar ~ 16 brix!  Wow that is going fast. It dropped 7 brix in 1 day. It will be down to 8 brix by tomorrow night if it keeps going.
  • I have enough FermaidK for the zin and the syrah if need be. I will definitely add it to the zin when it gets to about 17 brix (1/3 done)
  • The syrah is already past 1/3. I’ll check it in the morning, and if the H2S is stronger, then I may add a dose to the syrah.

Yeast Additions

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 by admin

Zin calcs:

  • 121 g yeast = 121 gallons * 1 g/gallon
  • 152 g GoFerm = 121 g yeast * 1.25
  • 3 L H2O = 152 g GoFerm * 20 = 3040 g H2O
Bev People sells the yeast in 4oz packets = 4 * 28.3495 = 113 g per packet, so we need about 1 packet. The syrah was a simlar amount, and we planned on using the same Rockpile yeast on both the syrah and zin. So we decided to mix two 4 oz packets of yeast.
  • 8 oz yeast: 227 g
  • 10 oz GoFerm: 283 g
  • 200 oz H2o: 1.56 gallons H2O
We mixed the yeast and GoFerm and water per the Lallemand yeast rehydration protocol, and added the result to both macro bins, with a little more going to the zin. We mixed it in well.

Syrah crush

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 by admin

The syrah was picked and crushed on Tuesday, Oct 18. It was sorted on a sorting table, then crushed into 20 gallon buckets, then transferred to a macro bin.

After completion, the height of the must in the bin was 12″. Inside dimension of macro bin = 44″ x 44″.

  •  100.5 gallons must = 12in * 44in * 44in *0.00432900433  gallon/in^3
  •  1029 lbs grapes = 100.5 gallons * 10.23 lbs/gallon ( based on last years must weight measurements)
  • 332 mL 10% SO2 solution = 50ppm = 3.3.mL/gallon * 100.5 gallons

Here is the Vinquiry report on the syrah must.

  • Sugars: 23.7 brix; a little low, will produce a 13% alcohol, which is fine.
  • pH: 3.55; slightly high, but it is OK. Again, it will come up with ferment and MLF.
  • TA: 5.45 g/L. This should be  a little higher, like maybe 6 g/L. This might warrant an addition, but we will let the taste of the wine tell us what to do.
  • YANC: 230 mg/L. This falls into the high end of the scale, minimizing the need for any nutrients to be added. We will just use GoFerm for the yeast hydration process.

Where to begin…

Posted in 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Moaveni Vineyard Zinfandel on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 by admin

This is the craziest fall ever…

I was away in MN for almost two weeks on family emergency. My Mom passed away after complications from falling. I will miss her terribly. She was 85, and has had a long great life. 2011 will go down as a tough year for our family.

Maybe it can be a good year for wine…

While I was gone, my partners in crime, Erwin and Shahrokh picked a half ton of the zin, and a half ton or so of the Alban syrah. They crushed it, sulphited it and it has been cold soaking.

I will be adding lots of notes, getting caught up with all the details.