Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Racking and Winepod F/A

I am sad to report that the temperature sensor on the Winepod stopped working last Thursday. When I checked on the Winepod over the Wine Coach Software, the cooler was on and the temperature read 133F. Since it was clear that the juice was not actually 133F in the Winepod, I turned off the automatic temperature control. The temperature sensor shortly thereafter raised to 150F. It is stuck at 150F. On Sunday, the brix read just under 1.0, so I decided to rack and not take any more chances with the Wine Pod temp control. The actual temperature of the juice was 60F.

After email and phone correspondence with Greg Snell and Fred Hekking of ProVina, it seems most likely that the thermistor has failed. Fred will send out a temporary test thermistor which I will wire into the system to confirm that diagnosis. Considering the cost to ship the WinePod to and from San Jose easily approaches $1000, Fred will probably make the repair in person on his next trip to the east coast. Hopefully the thermistor failure is not a common problem with the Winepod, as a rash of failures could easily burn through ProVina's venture capital. I am fortunate in that primary fermentation was near completion at the time of the failure. When the thermistor improperly registers a high temperature, the automatic temperature controller will keep the cooler on full blast without a break. For the folks making red wine with yeast that is sensitive to low temperatures, this could add the extra cost of grape replacement to ProVina's repair costs.

Alicia and I racked the wine for the first time. The process involves siphoning the new wine down a plastic tube into the three 5 gallon carboys. It looks like murky meta-mucil, but tastes surprisingly good. Alicia and I had a sample glass.

After the wine was transferred to the carboys, I rinsed out the Winepod.

Now the wine sits in the carboys for the next month or two until fermentation stops and the wine clears. I plan to add a few oak chips to one of the carboys for the last week or so before the next racking. I will label the oaked Riesling as premium Riesling and use a different colored bottle top.

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