In the Lab: testing for Sugar Levels and pH

While racking, I ran a sugar test and pH on the wine. Running the sugar test reminded me of high school chemistry class when we used pH paper to match a substance to a color chart with 14 indicators. The sugar test kit that many winemakers use is the Clinitest Reagent Tablets for […]

Winery Task: Racking Barrels

Winemakers do not often get a vacation. In the winery, there is always something to do. One of those tasks is racking the wine. Kathy and I helped winemaker, David Zuchero, at Tin Lizzie Wineworks rack the wine in seven barrels. It took the three of us about five hours, although I do […]

In the Carboy at Home

While the Cabs are aging in barrels I am experimenting with a carboy of Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon at home. For an oak alternative, I decided to experiment with oak infusion spirals. I bought French heavy toasted and French light toasted spirals. One heavy toasted oak spiral was added to the carboy. I’ll […]

Sometimes Jobs are Just Messy

The last two tasks at Vint Hill Craft Winery were pressing the must and racking to barrels. Both tasks were simple, however they were messy and cleanup probably took longer than the tasks. There was plenty of help to clean up after pressing the California Cab. Using a plastic knife, we had to […]

Racking to a Barrel at Vint Hill Craft Winery

After a few days in a tank we racked our wine into a French oak barrel. We also helped to rack other wines into other barrels. The easy job was to place a wand (a long tube attached to a pump) into the tank. It could rest on the side of the tank […]

Pressing the Must at Vint Hill Craft Winery

Pressing the must was a breeze using Vint Hill’s neumatic press. Cleaning up took longer than pressing. Using the forklift, DJ lifted a fermentation bin and dumped the must into the wooden slat press unit. This unit was then rolled under the neumatic press and the pressing began. At first the free run […]

When Does a Winemaker’s Creativity Begin?

An interesting question was asked yesterday. When does a winemaker’s creativity begin? Given the premise that wine is made in the vineyard, does a winemaker make a difference. Two wines made from the same rows of grapes from the same vineyard having the same data (brix, pH, TA), can end up totally different […]

I Wonder if I Can Make Jelly from Fermented Must

While at Tin Lizzie this past weekend pressing grape must, it occurred to me that it may be possible to make jelly from the must. My query received a few raised eyebrows. There is the obvious concern that the juice after fermentation is wine and has alcohol as well as potential yeast cells […]

Tin Lizzie Wineworks Pressing the Must

A week after crushing the grapes and adding yeast to the must, it was time to press the mixture. The liquid is now wine. In order to extract more wine from the must, rice hulls were added to the must and stirred. Buckets were used to transfer the must from the fermentation bin […]