2011 Chilean Syrah: Pressing

June 1, 2011 by Jack

By Tuesday night the Syrah was ready to be pressed. I inoculated it on Saturday night with a blend of D254 and Syrah yeast. I don’t know if these yeasts could really co-exist, but I figured I’d give it a try. Maybe it’s dumb to experiment without a control to compare against, but that’s OK for now since I’m just starting out. I couldn’t choose between Syrah and D80, so I ordered both. The supplier was out of D80, so I switched to D254.

Anyway, after three days the wine was done fermenting and ready to press, at least according to my refractometer readings and the MoreWine! Refractometer Spreadsheet.

Ready to Press:


Done Pressing:

In the end I got a little over 10 gallons of wine from 13.66 gallons of must. My pH and TA had improved significantly, too, thanks to the adjustments I made prior to pitching the yeast.

pH before: 3.92
pH after: 3.48
TA before: 3.75 g/L
TA after: 7.0 g/L

When I added tartaric acid to raise the total acidity (and bring down the pH), I was aiming for 6.0 g/L, but I’m not upset about hitting 7.0. The pH is pretty good now, and the TA will drop some after putting the wine through malolactic fermentation.

The airlocks on the buckets I pressed into are still bubbling every few seconds. I don’t know if this means I pressed before fermentation was complete, or if it’s just taking that long to off-gas. If it’s the former, it means either my refractometer readings were wrong or that spreadsheet is inaccurate (which is unlikely). If it’s the latter, it just means that a whole lot of CO2 gets suspended in the wine during fermentation because it can’t escape due to the grape skin cap holding it in. I’m going with the latter. Either way, I will be racking the wine off the gross lees tomorrow night to prepare for the start of MLF. I think I need to get Jess’s Dubbel out of the fermentation chamber, where it’s been lagering at 47.5° F for the past few weeks. I need that space for this wine now!

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