Crush Day: 2011 Suisun Valley CA Old Vine Zinfandel

November 1, 2011 by Jack

We picked up 144 lbs of Old Vine Zinfandel grapes from the produce wholesaler at midnight on Thursday, October 19th. I put them in the fridge to keep for a few days until I could crush them. On Sunday the 23rd I finally had a chance to crush them.

The grapes were in great shape. If you have the opportunity to work with Lanza grapes, I recommend it. The fruit had no mold, no split berries, no material other than grapes (MOG), and was perfectly ripe with a good sugar level and nice brown pips. All of this is amazing considering the abysmal growing conditions Northern California faced this year.

The white in these pictures isn’t mold; it’s bloom. The flash on the camera made it really stand out more than it did in person.

The numbers were very nice: 21.5° Brix and a pH of 3.63. I didn’t test TA because I didn’t have any distilled water and the pH number was perfect, so I figured I could let it wait until after fermentation & pressing.

I had to crush & destem in the basement because the weather outside wasn’t great that morning. It was in the 40s and drizzing, so I chose to do it in the dungeon.

Here they are crushed but not destemmed:

To destem them, I cut some of the slats out of one of the boxes the fruit came in and rubbed the grapes over the holes. The grapes fell through leaving the stems in the basket.

Here they are crushed & destemmed:

The stems:

Finally, here is the must two days later – 24 hours after pitching the yeast – at the onset of fermentation:

This was a little over a week ago, and the wine is still fermenting. It probably should have been done by now, but I let it stay a little cooler than I probably should have. Fermenatation temperatures have been in the mid-70s. Mid-80s likely would have been better to bring out the spicy quality of the wine, but we’ll see how this goes. The wine will probably be on the fruity, jammy side, which might be a good thing.

I’ll be pressing the wine this week and will have a post up about that soon.

One Response to “Crush Day: 2011 Suisun Valley CA Old Vine Zinfandel”

  1. you got some very hairy arms

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