David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 46 - 47
November 23, 2003 to December 6, 2003 

  Wednesday November 26, 2003

A lab test yesterday of our stuck 2003 Bernier's Zinfandel (see last week) revealed 0.412 residual sugar; unfortunately, this was the same reading obtained, before we used the new method of refermentation called ProRestart. I called the lab for guidance and received little help. They did give me the e-mail for Gordon, who works for the company who developed ProRestart. He had a few questions, one which was very interesting. The vague directions originally instructed us to distribute the the beads (containing the acclimated yeast) evenly throughout the nylon bags.  We tied off the bags at a few places to accomplish this result. BUT Gordon tells me now that the beads should not be clumped together tightly. I assume this is part of the reason the wine has not started refermentation. 

Now to explain what I intend to do today!! I have 16 barrels of wine with one bag of yeast beads. I have an empty barrel. I have a bin that will hold over two barrels of juice. I have a tub that will hold the presently installed bags containing the one week old beads. I will remove the bags and untie the straps to free up the beads. I will unclump them if necessary and tie them only once at the middle of the bag. 

In the mean time, in the bin, I will add 25 gal of the stuck wine, 10 gals of water and 10 lbs of sugar. This should give me a brix of 5%.  I will take out 3.5 gals of wine from each barrel to add to the empty last barrel.  I will also add 2.5 gal of water to each barrel. I am hoping this is enough water (along with the yeast water) to lower the ultimate alcohol to 14.6% (after the addition of sugar and finished fermentation). To the 5% solution, I will add 4 lbs of superfood, a nutrient. Then I will add 4 lbs of U43 yeast after rehydrating in 8 gals of water. 

After adding the yeast, I will monitor the brix and make sure the sugar goes down by 1%. And then I will add 1.5 gals of more wine. After another drop of one brix, I will add the one week old bags and the additional yeast solution to the 17 barrels. 

Saturday November 29, 2003

Last Wednesday at 10:00 Pm,  I finished adding the yeast solution to the 17 Bernier barrels. Finally today Brendan and I do hear a slow fermentation beginning. I am estimating the sugar left in the barrels is about 0.5% or so. The alcohol right now has been diluted down to 14.2% and should finish at about 14.6%. Hopefully the whole process of the sugar turning into alcohol will be completed in two weeks. 


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