Wine Openers | All Blogs


Taking the step, or stomp

By Dave Buchanan
I've never been foolish enough to suggest winemaking is an easy task. I've hung out with enough winemakers and wanna-be winemakers and even ex-winemakers to realize that winemaking, like farming, takes up too much time and energy to considered "fun," in the diversion sense of the word. It's not actually a burden, because if anything you do becomes a burden, it's time to no longer do that. But winemaking as fun, well, it's seems something awfully akin to raising children in that it takes a long time to see if what you do actually makes a difference and if you're entirely happy with the end product. That's a long preface to my introduction to winemaking, albeit on a very limited basis. Earlier this summer, when my friend and home winemaker Sal Sassano ventured he had a line on some syrah grapes and would I be interested in making a couple carboys of wine, I jumped at the chance. We, which means Sal, myself and farrier Dwight Marney, picked up 850 pounds of syrah from Pat Brennan, a local vineyard owner who seemed somewhat relieved to see us drive away after watching the mini-comedy of us hoisting and dumping lugs of ripe grapes into plastic bins in the back of Sal's pickup. We crushed the grapes using Sal's small but effective rotary crusher and put them into large plastic barrels to macerate and ferment for two weeks. Last weekend, after that first big surge of fermentation was over, we pressed the grapes and pumped the fermenting juice into carboys, those 5-gallon glass jars that one time were common in Italy for holding the family's weekly wine allocation. carboys in italy.jpgCarboys waiting to be filled at a winery near Piave, Italy. That's part of how they were used, anyway. There still are many Italian families using carboys, although buying wine by the bottle seems to be more common today. This winemaking with Sal is pretty low-key. No fancy gauges, immense stainless steel tanks, or fancy new oak barrels, just the small carboys and a single 12-gallon American oak barrel we'll use to age about half the wine at a time. The wine will stay in the carboys until next spring, enough time for fermentation to run its course. We want to make sure there's no secondary fermentation to surprise us after the wine gets bottled. That happened once to Sal, and once is enough. "I heard this sound like an explosion and I came downstairs and there was wine everywhere," he now can laugh at the memory. The bottle didn't explode, but the pressure from the tiny amount of fermentation was enough to blow off the cork and spray wine around the room. There's still a long time to go before we know how the wine is turning out, and I'll keep a few posts as the young juice turns to wine. At least, I hope it turns to wine. Twenty-five cases of red vinegar seems like a lot of salad dressing.

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.




Recent Posts
Something’s still alive in the garden in December
By Penny Stine
Friday, December 19, 2014

The Top 10 Top 10 Albums Lists
By David Goe
Thursday, December 18, 2014

APPLE-PICKING IN DECEMBER
By Nic.Korte
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Don’t throw out the inserts: Finding coupons you can use
By Julie Norman
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry whatever you want this season to be
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, December 16, 2014


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Sign in to your account
Information

© 2014 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy