David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 17
April 22, 2001 to April 28, 2001 

Wednesday April 25,  2001

This has been a tough day. Many things have gone wrong (I'll only mention a few). This week we are bottling our sauv blanc wine. Yesterday we bottled about 34 cases of half bottles of 2000 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. We have sold about 20 so we do have about 10 cases left for sale. That bottling went along relatively well. Today was another matter. 

Today we started at 6:30 AM and finished at 8 PM. I have to be organized and I was not today. I usually think a bottling of wine through more completely; this week I took this small bottling of just over 400 cases too lightly. As one of my friends said to me today in an e-mail "How come it is so involved?  Aren't you just doing SB?". You will find out tonight, how involved this day was. 

First of all yesterday we decided to bottle all the Late Harvest in half bottles. That involves over an hour to change the bottling line over to this smaller size. We decided to use the rest, of the left over 30 cases of half bottles, for our dry sauv blanc. When we switched back over to the full bottles, another hour was lost today. Since I don't believe in gases to preserve my wine over night (I don't think they work well enough and thus I believe fruit is lost), this whole day started with the transfer of wine from the 16 barrels to a holding tank. The usual practice at wineries is to transfer the wine into tank the day before or even days before and preserve the wine by layering (pumping in) a gas such as nitrogen. As I said since I don't believe of this practice we had to finish the whole process today. 

We couldn't just pump the wine into the tank. Each wine first had to be filtered. The Late Harvest had to be filtered because it has 18% residual sugar. The dry sauv blanc was not completely clear and also had not gone through malo/lactic. It is risky to not sterile filter such a wine (It may go through M/L in the bottle), but I hate filtering. Since we did not sterile filter the wine today and only rough filtered, the wine is not brilliantly clear, but even though, I feel it will have more character. I have made many amateur wines from these Estate grapes and have never had one of my dry SB's start refermenting because it had not gone through malo/lactic. If I had chose to also sterile filter, I believe it would have added another 3 hours to our day. Next year if we decide to filter I plan to do so way before bottling and then transfer back into barrels to wait for bottling. 

After the filtering was done by noon (a slow process) we were ready to fill the 30 cases of half bottles. It was after 2Pm when we were done resetting the bottling line for the remaining 375 cases of full bottles. There is always problems involved with bottling lines. Something unexpected always happens. After numerous small problems, the tank was empty about 6 Pm. But then a long period of cleanup is involved. Steve did his part, but Brendan and I decided to wait until tomorrow. 



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