Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bennington Suburban Vineyard Opus 2- Harvest and Crush

Yesterday we harvested the Cabernet Franc grapes off of our vines in order to start this year's batch on wine. At the end of the day we drank a little from last year's batch and it was super good. Finally good enough to take out of hiding a share a bit.

I put Tessa in charge of picture taking this year and she did a pretty good job.

It was a nice cool day for being outside, although the vines were covered with bees looking for that sweet grape juice.
Unfortunately we probably should have harvested two weeks ago but Jeremy was hoping for just the right amount of sugar in the grapes. He felt like last year he harvested too early before there was enough sugar. Maybe eventually we will figure out when the perfect date is to pluck....third year will be the charm?
Because of this we had about four less gallons of grape clusters collected than last year, which didn't seem like that big of a deal until we crushed and there ended up being about half the juice. We had a LOT of squishy or raisined grapes that didn't make the cut. Wah wah.

Look, Tessa took a picture of our tomatoes too! 

In all, 22 gallons of grape clusters were brought into the house. 

Washed and plucked off the vine. 

Then mashed in small piles with a handy potato masher. 

And this is the end result, crushed up juice with skin and seeds still in there. After primary fermentation we will remove and the solid stuff (known as the must).

After the juice and must sat over night, Jeremy made some chemistry adjustments this morning with citric acid and sugar, and added a burgundy wine yeast. And now we wait for the house to get super smelly with the odor of fermentation, and continue to 'punch the cap' of floating skins to make sure it aerates. And then wait until it's time to strain.

Last year we had 26 gallons of healthy clusters which ended up in the end being 6 gallons of wine. Since we brought in less clusters and had less quality fruit, we expect a pretty small batch this year. Which makes me feel a little forlorned about my back ache following 9 hours of non stop standing and crushing in the kitchen, but I suppose we're only doing this for the purpose of fun, creativity and learning....just like an other kitchen experiment.

Then I take a drink of last year's wine and feel pretty proud of how delicious it is. Yup, pretty much worth it.

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