The red grapes have finished their fermentation. They are pressed and let to rest in vats. The white wine is almost there. The grapes are turning into wine, although the fermentation has taken longer than usual this year.
It took time, but finally the mostimeter, also known as hydrometer, has gone down to zero brix, measuring the sugar density in the grape must.
I have received daily updates and controlled the winemaking-process from Norway these last days, as I had to return from our vineyard in Acquapendente in Italy, while the grapes were still fermenting. I have given the responsibility of overlooking that our grapes are turning into wine, to my parents-in-law and our Italian friend, Pierluigi.
Patience is a virtue in seeing grapes turning into wine
A mostimeter is not completely accurate, especially at the end of fermentation. I really want to make sure that all the sugar in the must is consumed by the grapes. If not, I may get a sweet wine and a wine that can start to referment in the spring. I have therefore asked my friend and family, who is now taking care of the grapes, to have patience and to wait for a couple of days, even if the mostimeter shows zero, before the put the red wine in a tank.
A grape – a must – a wine
Today, the wine has been pressed and placed in a steel tank with a little dose of sulfur, before the lid was placed on top. Now, it is set to mature.
It’s almost three weeks since we harvested the grapes. It means that the red wine has received a long maceration (contact with the skins), giving the red wine 2017 more concentration of color and tannins.
The white grapes use more time to finish fermentation. This wine has like most white wines, not fermented on the skins. Still, it is now pumped over on steel tanks (vats) and should soon be fermented to dryness.
A long process of grapes turning into wine
The fermentation, the process of grapes turning into wine, has taken longer time than normal this year. Perhaps it is due to the high sugar content in the grapes at harvest, after an unusual hot and dry summer. There have been so many things that has affected the vines this year. In the spring we experienced the first spring frost that destroyed the little buds which were meant to be red wine grapes. We also had wild boar who ate an entire field of grapes, right before harvest.
All these factors resulted in a new record, less grapes than ever before at harvest. Despite a major decrease of grapes to harvest, the work to be done before grapes are turning into wine is the same.
Sediments in the new wine
When I return to my vineyard, I will do the next step, pump-over the wine to other tanks without the sediments. Some wine producers want the wine to rest on the sediments, also called lees, in order to add aroma and a different character to a wine. But I don’t want that because it may also add off-flavors. Neither do I want the sediments to end in the finished wine. Therefore, I pump-over the wine a few times during winter.
So, the grapes are turning into wine. First they were crushed and made into a must (juice), then fermentation started and ended. But if less grapes at harvest actually mean making a better wine, as a lot of wine enthusiasts say, I will not know until the spring.