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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wine Dogs Make Wine: Lesson 5 (Rack and Roll)

Three Fox Vineyards
Delaplane, VA


"OUR WINE SMELLS LIKE ROTTEN EGGS!"

In a frightening development, Munchkin made an interim trip to check on the wine and turned her sensitive little Yorkie nose up in disdain. John reassured her it was not uncommon for wine to develop hydrogen sulfide (H2S) notes while fermenting, and through the magic of chemicals (a 50 ppm dose of copper sulfate), corrected the problem.

Apparently the Wine Dogs were not alone. John reported to class that almost everyone's batch had been treated, and all wines were in good nose by the time class began.

This week's assignment was racking the wine... actually, double racking from carboy to bucket and back again. Why all this back and forth? Too get the wine away from the sediment, and, because it's red, expose it to a little air. The class had quite an assembly line going.

The Wine Dogs' plan had been to go from our 6 gallon carboy to the new 5 gallon jug, but Munchkin and Pomeroy had too much wine, even after the team enjoyed a healthy sample.

So Uncle Jeff got to B-Brite the 6 gallon one for retransfer. Again, the pack followed the Wine Dogs.
Back to the chemicals, all of us stabilized our wines with a little potassium metabisulfite, which also protects against the growth of film formers and organisms that can produce "volatile acidity"... known as VA in wine circles, but not to be confused with the great VA vintages produced in the Commonwealth.

Once the wine was settled down, Pomeroy tasted again and determined it required more time "in barrel." In homewinemaking, that means adding the rest of the French oak that came with the wine kit.

With all the tasting, everyone was feeling pretty good by the time class ended.

Munchkin and Pomeroy stopped at the top of the vineyard on the way back down to the winery to marvel at how lush and green everything had become.

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