|Ice wine grapes Thanksgiving 2013|
|Cold calm day at Sampson Valley Vineyard|
Since I was harvesting for myself, and not a commercial winery, I processed them too. I was not entirely sure of the whole process, but was somewhat limited by the equipment that I had. Since the temperatures were not in the single digits, the grapes were more of a snow cone/milk shake consistency, not hard marbles, like many ice wine makers deal with. This was probably a good thing, since my crusher-destemmer and wood basket press would probably not have worked.
I easily picked 125 lbs in about an hour (3 lugs full). I probably could have picked a lot more, but had to get back for Thanksgiving dinner at 3:00.
|St Pepin grapes|
A very friendly black and white cat came out to help.... it hung out the entire time I was picking. It even climbed a trellis pole to get a better view. Maybe he was guarding the grapes for the last couple of months? I probably didn't need the net!
|St Pepin grapes with their guardian cat|
|Ready to pounce?|
|Thick ice wine slurry/must|
|Must before pressing. Just a bit of juice after crushing.|
I added a bit of potassium metabisulfite, and let the juice sit until Saturday morning. I inoculated the juice with KV-1116 yeast. Fermentation started slowly, but is now humming along well. I plan to pull about 1/2 gallon of wine out early before fermentation is complete, and bottle it in small sparkling wine bottles, and try to make a sparkling ice wine. The rest will be a more traditional ice wine.
There are another 400-500 lbs still in the field, and if I don't sell them, hopefully I will be able to pick them while they are still prime.
This will definitely become an annual tradition!