Evaluating my 2015 Winemaking Resolutions

Cloudy wine and skins at the top of the qvevri while racking to a carboy, a 2015 winemaking resolution fulfilled.

Sometimes making New Year’s resolutions is easy to do in January, but circumstances are fluid and may alter your hopes. That was certainly true with my 2015 winemaking resolutions. At best, I was one for three.

A year ago, my first resolution was to make grappa. This was based on travel for a family wedding. The wedding did not happen and I did not have an opportunity to make grappa. My second resolution for the year did not fare any better. I was suppose to bottle my second run wine. Call it being lazy or just not getting around to it, that wine is still in a carboy. Actually, that is the wine I’d like to turn into grappa.

I did accomplish my third resolution that dealt with qvevri winemaking. I did discover what my 2014 wine fermented and aged in a buried qvevri turned out like. There were a few surprises. The first is that the cap was still on the top and the wine under the cap was very cloudy. I racked the wine to a carboy and within a couple days it cleared. There was another racking and filtering before bottling the wine. I was worried about oxidation, but spending the winter in a vortex helped to deter oxidation with the dead yeast cells releasing carbon dioxide.

The second part of last year’s third resolution was to source Rkatsiteli grapes and make the wine in the qvevri. I also wanted to begin a month earlier than in 2014. I did accomplish this. I was able to get the grapes from a Virginia winery and had them going through primary fermentation a month earlier than the 2014 wine. Although I sealed the qvevri in November in 2014, in 2015 the qvevri was not sealed until the last day of the year. We had above average November and December temperatures, so I just let the temporary seal with an airlock in a lid suffice for the autumn months.

I’ll have to be a bit more realistic setting 2016 winemaking resolutions.


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