Sunday, January 26, 2014

Experimenting with Acid Adjustment in Wine

We tested our 2013 Chambourcin and found that the pH level was a bit on the high side - high enough to consider adjusting the acid content just a bit to ensure the wine is balanced and remains stable once we bottle it.

We tried different amounts of acid, as well as different types of acid, including tartaric, citric and a commercially available "acid blend".   Jars with different tasting wine have been sitting around our kitchen all weekend, and we kept taste-testing and measuring the pH levels.  Nothing much changed in the readings after the first couple of hours.

No matter how often we taste-tested,  our  preference was always for the wine with the added tartaric acid  (which is one of the main acids in wine anyhow).  So that will be the added acid of choice.

We are hoping that this will give out wine more balance, without adding any sharpness.  Tina had some of the tartaric acid jar-wine with dinner and it was rather good!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project "Clean Fence-row" - Week Two

Made more progress this week with out fence-row project.  Zach cut down four more trees before heading back home to Ohio and this weekend, Jeff and Lars took turns running the chainsaw and cutting the trees into firewood, while Tina got to move the brush onto the ever growing brush-pile.  Once in a while, Jeff would take the tractor and push the pile together - so there would be more room to pile more brush.  Our new firewood stack is growing as well, except that we found no time for stacking, so currently it is just one huge pile as well.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chardonel Vines Ordered

We did just order more grape vines to plant this fall:  some Vidal Blanc vines to replace those that did not grow last year, and more importantly 200+ Chardonel grape vines.  

Chardonel is a cross between the  popular French American hybrid Seyval and the classic vinifera Chardonnay.  The initial cross was made in 1953 and the plant was first propagated in 1960 as NY 45010 by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University.   In 1992 Plant Patent 7860 was  issued and the variety was named - making it the fourth wine grape cultivar to be named by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

Chardonel is similar to Chardonnay, but the vines are much hardier - which is important considering we are located in southern Pennsylvania.  Chardonel grapes can produce a dry, full-bodied superior white wine with hints of melon and citrus. Wines can be fermented and aged in stainless steel to produce fruit forward wines, or they can be barrel fermented.  We shall see in 3 years or so how it turns out!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cleaning Fence-row for Future Implement Shed

The "polar vortex" moved on and temperatures went from sub-zero last week to a balmy 44 degrees this weekend - warm enough to run a chainsaw and start clearing out another fence row.  We looked for the most level spot to clean up - for a future implement shed.  Zach (who is visiting with his family this week) volunteered to run the chain saw, while Lars manned the log-splitter.  Toben and Jeff "supervised" and Tina cleaned away the brush and stacked the smaller pieces of firewood.  We got a lot done in one afternoon - and it felt so good to work outside:

Toben helped too
Zach & his chainsaw

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!

Happy New Year - and best wishes for a wonderful, exciting and healthy 2014.

We had a great first day and spent several hours in the vineyard this afternoon pruning vines and imagining the possibilities of our 2014 vintage :).  Temperatures were right around freezing and there was hardly any wind - we could not have asked for better winter pruning weather.  But...frigid temperature are in the forecast, dropping as much as 20 degrees by Thursday night.