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Wine Related http://www.winerelated.com.au Wine from the Ground Up Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:17:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.10 Commercial Winemaking at Home – V14 Pinot Noir – The Process http://www.winerelated.com.au/commercial-winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir-winemakng-process/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=commercial-winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir-winemakng-process http://www.winerelated.com.au/commercial-winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir-winemakng-process/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 04:48:40 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=526 Making Pinot Noir 2014 from Orange NSW

Although I only have limited space, I have everything needed to make super premium wine. Making it on this scale allows one to experiment a little, but it certainly has the disadvantage of not being able to make mistakes. If I lose a barrel to spoilage or overdo something then it could be disastrous. There are only 6 small fermenters.

The winemaking process for 2014 Pinot Noir from Orange NSW.

The wines are nearly ready for pressing so I will run through what I have done over the last few weeks.

Fermenters -

1. 100% destemmed

Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

2. 100% destemmed

Foot stomped gently 4 times. Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

3. 50% destemmed 

Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

4. 50% destemmed

Foot stomped gently 4 times. Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

5. 0% destemmed (100% whole bunch)

Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

6. 0% destemmed (100% whole bunch)

Foot stomped gently 4 times. Plunged twice a day, fermenter sides and top cleaned with SO2/citric solution

I'll be looking to press this weekend as the sugars are getting closer to zero. As you can see from the images, I was trying to keep the fruit cool in Sydney's warm March weather.

The ferment temperatures have been kept low, nothing above 28 degrees. They kicked off pretty quickly and have been going 3 weeks. The colour is amazing, the structure and spicy tannin makes my heart race. This going to be one serious age-worthy wine.

Pinot Noir Orange NSW Vintage 2014 - Keeping the Fermenters CoolPinot Noir Orange NSW Vintage 2014 - Cleaning the FermentersPinot Noir Orange NSW Vintage 2014 - DestemmingPinot Noir Orange NSW Vintage 2014 - Still Destemming

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Commercial Winemaking at Home – V14 Pinot Noir http://www.winerelated.com.au/winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir http://www.winerelated.com.au/winemaking-home-v14-pinot-noir/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 04:35:15 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=482 Making Pinot Noir 2014 from Orange NSW

Inspired by the success of my 2013 Merlot, I have upped the ante and making a Pinot Noir. It is from the same vineyard on Mt Canobolas, as last years Merlot. Despite the title of the article this will be a serious wine and the one I plan to launch my label with. A super premium, ultra low volume natural Pinot Noir from a region that is still up and coming.

Picking and "processing" the fruit

In mid-March all the Pinot Noir was handpicked from a vineyard in Orange NSW. It is a mix of MV6, 777 and 114. The only processing done was to put it into drums, absolutely no sulphur or destemming. This years wine is minimalist to the max.

I want to make sure that the work done in the vineyard shines through in the glass. The vigneron that owns this vineyard is meticulous and producing some of the best wines in the region. His philosophy is the same as mine, work hard in the vineyard and don't f#ck it up in the winery.

The plan is to have 6 fermenters with varying degrees of stem. Allow some carbonic maceration with a few, a bit of foot stomping and plunge twice a day. My fermenters are 120L drums.

The fruit is now back in Sydney, and has just started to ferment.

Tipping Whole Bunches of Pinot Noir into Fermenters

Tipping Whole Bunches of Pinot Noir into Fermenters

Tipping Whole Bunches of Pinot Noir into Fermenters

Tipping Whole Bunches of Pinot Noir into Fermenters

Watching the Pinot Noir being uploaded

Watching the Pinot Noir being uploaded

Whole Bunch Pinot Noir from Orange NSW

Whole Bunch Pinot Noir from Orange NSW

Pinot Noir Loaded Up

Pinot Noir Loaded Up


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Make Wine at Home – Winemaking Equipment http://www.winerelated.com.au/make-wine-at-home-winemaking-equipment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=make-wine-at-home-winemaking-equipment http://www.winerelated.com.au/make-wine-at-home-winemaking-equipment/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 07:05:21 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=423 Home wine making process is easy with the right equipment. I have had many people ask me about the winemaking equipment I have and how to get started.

Basic winemaking equipment -

  • Open top food-grade plastic drums with lids that can be sealed
    • This allows for open top fermentation with the lids sitting on top to keep anything out.
    • Once the grapes have been pressed and MLF has finished, the drums can be sealed for wine storage.
  • Citric Acid
    • For cleaning/sanitation.
  • PMS (potassium metabisulphite)
    • Cleaning/sanitation and of course protecting the wine.
  • Basket Press
    • I bought this from an Italian family, a fantastic piece of history. Homemade wine basket press and a great size for making wine at home. I would say it has 300L capacity and easily pressed my 500kg in one go.
  • Wine titrators
    • Sulphur Dioxide
    • Acid/PH
  • CO2
    • I hired a cylinder of CO2 ongoing, this helps protect the wine while being stored or transferred.
  • Octaves or 100L topping barrels
    • I bought these to match the size of my plastic drums and means I can keep each batch separate.
  • Demi-johns 
    • These are used for managing ullage of your barrels and storage vessels.
  • Electric blanket
    • for keeping the ferments warm and keeping MLF going during the cold winter nights.

As you can see the list is pretty basic, you really don't need much.

Basket Press

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Home Winemaking – Making Great Wine at Home http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-starting-to-making-great-wine-at-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garage-winemaking-starting-to-making-great-wine-at-home http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-starting-to-making-great-wine-at-home/#comments Thu, 01 Aug 2013 07:22:34 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=401 Making Great Wine at Home

The winemaking process for Orange, NSW Merlot 2013.


Week 1 -

After getting all six drums into the courtyard I left them for about a week, completely sealed.

The weather was still reasonably warm in Sydney, getting above 20 during the day. This meant after a week the grapes had started to slowly ferment. A combination of carbonic maceration and yeast fermentation was happening. After picking out a little mould off the top (eeck!) of one of the barrels, I lightly foot stomped the destemmed fruit. I did this to try and kick off the aerobic ferment a little more. By squeeshing the grapes to release more juice and give the yeast some food. 

Making quality wine at home can be a challenge. Cleanliness and sanitiation is key. Everyday I had a routine, morning and night I would plunge the must and sanitise the tops of the barrels. By doing this I was ensuring no nasties would spoil the wine. I used a standard sulphur/citric solution and cloth the keep everything clean.


Week 2 -

During the week I started to slowly tread the whole-bunch fruit, not much though. Just enough to get some juice out in the bottom of the drum and kick off yeast fermentation. I could smell and taste theses grapes were going through some carbonic maceration. I wanted this to happen, but not too much and not for too long. If you let it go for too long you can end up with a wine that is overly juby, with bubblegum flavours. I did what could be called semi-carbonic maceration. Doing this adds more complexity and lifts the aromatics.

After the second week, the destemmed fruit was really starting to fire. I jumped in the barrels and stomped the fruit, crushing the grapes extracting juice, colour and tannin. I also jumped into the whole-bunch fruit and stomped it. This was a lot harder! Stalks made it pretty difficult to full crush the grapes. I thought that I had done enough though and kept an eye on them over the next week.


Week 3 -

After 3 weeks, all 6 barrels (plastic drums) were in various stages of primary (yeast) fermentation. The issue at this stage was the weather was starting to really cool down, 3rd week of May. The ferments started to slow down, so I was a little concerned they would stop and I'd end up with a stuck ferment. This can be a nightmare to fix if it happens.


Weeks 4-5 -

However, after nearly 5 weeks of fermentation the must was nearing 0 Baume and ready for pressing. On the first weekend of June I pressed the Merlot with an old basket press.

After looking everywhere for something to press the grapes, including hiring one, I found a fantastic home-made basket press. Made for an Italian home winemaker in Leichhardt by his boilermaker son-in-law. I love buying old wine equipment and preserving history like this. 

Garage Winemaking - Foot Stomping Home Winemaking Garage Winemaking - Fermenting Merlot Garage Winemaking - Fermenting Merlot Home Winemaking - Fermenting Merlot

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Home Winemaking – Sydney Bound http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-sydney-bound/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garage-winemaking-sydney-bound http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-sydney-bound/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:39:52 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=381 Making Great Wine at Home

The winemaking process for Orange, NSW Merlot 2013.


Heading back to Sydney with my grapes

After a full day of picking and processing I left De Salis with 6 full drums of Merlot. 

I added a small amount of sulphur dioxide to all of the drums to protect the grapes during transport and ensure only the strong yeasts survived. The aim is to produce a low intervention, minimalist wine that has been handled carefully.

It was a long drive with the grapes on the back of the ute. By the time I got home it was late, so I decided to leave the drums overnight and attempt to get them down in the morning. 

After getting the drums down and into the courtyard I was ready to start my solo effort in home/garage winemaking. I was surprised to find that although it was a rough ride back in the ute, most of the grapes were still pretty well intact. The four drums of destemmed fruit had a decent amount of juice in the bottom and the whole-bunch barrels only had a little.


Commercial quality winemaking on a tiny scale

When I think of wine made at home, I gag! Most tends to be faulty, caused through poor winemaking, hygiene and oxidation. I've made plenty of wine before, so I'm hoping I can produce commercial quality garage wine at home. From my point of view the main problem at home is controlling oxidation and keeping things sterile.

Merlot On the Ute Merlot On the Ute Drums of Merlot Grapes  

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Home Winemaking – In The Winery http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-in-the-winery/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garage-winemaking-in-the-winery http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-in-the-winery/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 12:13:13 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=346 Making Great Wine at Home

The winemaking process for Orange, NSW Merlot 2013.


Processing the grapes

After picking the Merlot all morning, by mid afternoon we had enough to move into the winery at De Salis to start processing the grapes. As you can see I have 6 x 120L plastic drums. 

I decided to do something a little different with this late picked Merlot. I filled 2 drums with whole bunches, the rest through the crusher/destemmer, making sure the rolls weren't crushing the grapes. This meant I was getting pretty well intact whole berries. I wanted the grapes to be undamaged allowing for gentler processing, less exposure to oxygen, slower fermentation and potential for a little carbonic maceration. 

After a couple of hours processing the grapes, I was happy with the result. I had about 600kg of Merlot, with 400kg destemmed and 200kg whole bunch.

Merlot Grapes Weighing Merlot Grapes Preparing Wine Barrels Drums Ready for the Grapes Setting up Grape Destemmer Processing Merlot Grapes Through Destemmer Processing Merlot Grapes Processing Merlot Grapes Through Destemmer Processing Merlot Grapes Through Destemmer Destemmed Merlot Grapes Destemmed Merlot Grapes IMG_0200

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Home Winemaking – Picking the Merlot http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-picking-the-merlot/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garage-winemaking-picking-the-merlot http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking-picking-the-merlot/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 11:48:43 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=310 Making Great Wine at Home

The winemaking process for Orange, NSW Merlot 2013.


Getting started

Given the short time frame, I had a couple of days to organise myself. This included winemaking equipment, chemicals and pickers. I decided on food grade plastic drums of 120L with sealable air-tight lids. This size also meant they were manageable for me to move around, well so I thought. The "garage" at home would be a courtyard in Paddington, making this a true garagistes or vin de garage



After a 4 hour drive from Sydney to Orange, we stayed the night to rest up before a big day of picking. First thing in the morning I headed out to De Salis Wines to meet Charlie and assess the grapes. As you can see from the photos the leaves had started to change and some of the grapes had started to shrivel. 

However, the good fruit was still in fantastic condition with beautiful fruit flavours, tannin and acidity. A testament to Charlie and Loretta's skill in the vineyard and Merlot being grown on a very cool site. Due to the grapes hanging on the vines weeks later than most, I knew this wine was going to be BIG. But hoped it would still have cool climate characters.

We tasted our way the fruit, very selectively picking. Reinforcing my belief that this would still produce a very good wine. Given that this was a last minute decision to kick off my solo winemaking career, I was very happy with what we were picking.

Whilst picking I also made the somewhat radical choice of making a whole-bunch Merlot. Crazy you might think? Well, we'll find out. Justification, lignification of the stems was advanced, whole-bunch tends to reduce the alcohol levels, add some interest and structure to a potentially over-ripe wine. 

Grape Picking Grape Picking Picking Merlot in the Vineyard Merlot Grapes Eating Merlot Grapes Eating Merlot Grapes De Salis Wines Cellar Door Merlot Grapes Weighing Merlot Grapes Weighing Merlot Grapes

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Home Winemaking http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=garage-winemaking http://www.winerelated.com.au/garage-winemaking/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 04:56:06 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=305 Orange, NSW Merlot 2013

My first real vintage

So, in a fit of inspiration whilst watching TV, I decided to have a crack at making my own wine for the 2013 vintage. My day job hasn't allowed me time over the last few years to be overly involved in the wine industry. When a change in job meant I had a few days off (late April 2013), I decided to make some calls to the only region that might still have fruit on the vines, Orange NSW.

Luckily for me Charlie Svenson from De Salis Wines, had Merlot and potentially Shiraz available. A couple of days later I was out in Orange to pick…

2013 was an early ripening year for Orange, most of the fruit had been picked, Charlie's a couple of weeks earlier. This meant the Baume was up, in the region of 15+. However, I decided to go for, even though making higher alcohol wines wasn't usually for me. Given the cool climate, I thought the acidity and fruit flavours would still be good enough to make a reasonable wine. I also thought it was a good opportunity to make a start, get set up with equipment and learn how to make wine in the "garage".

A mad rush ensued, calling and driving all over Sydney trying to find all the winemaking equipment needed. There wasn't much available!

So, a couple of days after chatting to Charlie, I packed up the family for an overnight trip to Orange, NSW. 

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Willespie Margaret River Shiraz 1999 Review http://www.winerelated.com.au/willespie-margaret-river-shiraz-1999/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=willespie-margaret-river-shiraz-1999 http://www.winerelated.com.au/willespie-margaret-river-shiraz-1999/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 03:51:32 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=259 NOSE: Sweet dark fruit, dusty oak, vanilla and cedar. Showing a bit of alcohol too. 

PALATE: Dark fruit, plum, cedar and vanilla oak. As with the nose the alcohol and oak are there. This wine is a powerful wine and has aged well. Not many Australian Shiraz's will still be going at 14 yrs.


SCORE: 17/20 

PRICE: $30

ALC: 14.5%

ANOTHER GLASS? I think I have one bottle left, found it in a mixed case in my cellar. 

EAT: BBQ Steak or some Southern style ribs

AVAILABILITY: Not sure if this is still available.

WEBSITE: http://www.willespie.com.au/

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Champagne Agrapart Mineral Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru 2005 Review http://www.winerelated.com.au/champagne-agrapart-mineral-blanc-de-blancs-extra-brut-grand-cru-2005-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=champagne-agrapart-mineral-blanc-de-blancs-extra-brut-grand-cru-2005-review http://www.winerelated.com.au/champagne-agrapart-mineral-blanc-de-blancs-extra-brut-grand-cru-2005-review/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 03:12:37 +0000 http://www.winerelated.com.au/?p=256 Originally founded in 1894 by Arthur Agrapart. Pascal and his brother Fabrice Agrapart have been running the estate since 1984 and have excelled at producing terroir focused wines. Their biodynamic Champagne is made from more than 62 different parcels from Grand Cru villages Avize, Cramant, Oiry and Oger in the Côte de Blancs. Production is small with only about 6000 cases.

The Agrapart Minéral Agrapart comes from 40+ year old chardonnay vines in the Avize and Cramant. It is vinified in 600 litre oak casks, spending 

NOSE: White peach, flowers, mineral notes, citrus and a little grapefruit

PALATE: Racy acidity, slightly chalky with beautiful flavours of apple, grapefruit and

DRINK:  Now through 2020

SCORE: 19.5/20 

PRICE: $130

ALC: 12%

ANOTHER GLASS? Of course! This is a fabulous wine from a great Champagne producer

EAT: Grilled Lobster Tail

AVAILABILITY: http://www.fivewaycellars.com.au/

WEBSITE: http://www.champagne-agrapart.com/

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