Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fermentation

Alicia and I made a trip to the Finger Lakes on Friday to pick up the Riesling juice. We spent the night at a B&B called the Trimmer House in Penn Yan, New York.

http://www.trimmerhouse.com/

Our room was comfortable, decorated with faux-antique items and little bowls of chocolates. We were welcomed by our host, Yang, who was courteous and provided us with a list of local restaurants. We choose a place named Sarrasins on Keuka Lake. The food was decent and the drink menu featured local Finger Lakes wine. We had the Riesling, of course.

On Saturday we drove to Fall Bright. The staff at Fall Bright were friendly and helpful. They walked us through the supplies and loaded 16 gallons of Riesling juice into three 5 gallon botter bottle carboys and a gallon jug. After loading the juice into the car and configuring the GPS, we made our way back to the Shier in about 5 hours.

The temperature of the juice rose to 46-48 degrees by the time we arrived at our destination. We sanitized the Winepod by making a solution of sodium metabisulfite and giving it a spritz with a spray bottle.

We loaded the juice into the Winepod. Roughly 15.7 gallons. The remaining 0.3 gallons of juice were divided into a pair of wine glasses and a water bottle. I placed the water bottle in the freezer. This frozen sample will be mailed to Cornell University's wine lab for analysis ($35). Alicia and I drank the juice in the wine glasses. That was some sweeeeet juice.

I set the temperature set points on the Winepod at 62/63 F. This brought the temperature of the wine gradually up to 62 over the next hour and a half. We mixed three packets of D47 Lalvin yeast with warm distilled water in a graduated container. We measured the specific gravity of the wine with our hydrometer. 1087. We added 4 pounds of dextrose sugar. This brought the specific gravity to 1090, a Brix of 21.6. After 15 minutes, I gave the yeast bottle a good shake and dumped it into the Winepod.

The brix meter on the Winepod still read 37. I adjusted the calibration setting to 21.6. I suspect that the pumice may need to be oriented in a certain direction for the brix meter to work. This is troubling consider I turned the basket continuosly before adding the juice as I was worried that it may need to lock into position. It did not lock in any position. Over the next several days, I will be able to tell if the brix meter is functioning.

I tested the specific gravity 24 hours after loading the yeast. No change at 1090/Brix of 21.6.

I am heading back to NYC and the next check I will make in person will be six days from now, 7 days from loading the juice and yeast into the Winepod. I have tested the software and it accurately displays the temperature. If the brix meter is working I should be able to monitor fermentation throughout the week. If nothing happens by Wednesday, I might make an emergency trip to add some yeast energizer.

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