Racking the 2’nd Belli Chardonnay lot off juice lees

October 3, 2011

Today we racked the second and final lot of 2011 Belli Chardonnay off of its’ juice lees. We’ve been letting it cold settle in one of our 360 gallon portable tanks since we crushed it last Wednesday. As you may remember, these grapes came from block 4 of the Belli ranch, which is planted to the Dijon clone.

These are our two portable tanks, Porta 1 and Porta 2. To rack out the juice, we used the same wand we use for filling barrels, lowering it in through the circular lid in the top of the tank and pumping out the juice, leaving the grape solids behind. These little tanks are perfect for small volumes of juice and fermenting grapes, we will probably crush some of our smaller lots of reds into them later in the season.

There were only a couple of gallons of juice lees in the bottom of the tank. Since it had so many days to cold settle, this tells us we did a good job of pressing out clean juice last week.

The lees from Chardonnay juice look a little bit like mud. Leaving them in during fermentation can stimulate the yeast to become 'reductive', meaning that they could start to produce foul-smelling compounds like hydrogen sulfide (this is the smell of rotten eggs).

In other Chardonnay news, the first lot of Belli Chardonnay (the mix of Rued and Dijon clone from blocks 3 and 5), is about halfway through its’ fermentation. It is smelling wonderful, and the sound the fermentation bungs make is strangely soothing. One of the little things to appreciate about harvest is how nice it is to walk into the winery first thing in the morning and hear the ‘blip-blip–blip’ of active barrel fermentations.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

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