This week in the cellar

December 22, 2011

This week we had several major operations in the cellar. First, we had to top our barrels. This month was slightly different from other recent months because we needed to ‘break’ a barrel of 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Breaking a barrel means that we transfer its’ contents into smaller containers, generally stainless steel kegs.

We use a siphon to break barrels. In this picture, you can see the siphon hose draining the wine out to a vessel waiting below.

We broke this barrel because we needed more wine to use for topping the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, as all of the kegs we had on hand had already been emptied. It is possible to top directly out of a barrel, but when you do that you can end up with a very large amount of headspace over the wine, which can lead to spoilage.
After topping, we needed to rack some of our small 2011 lots off of their lees. All of our small lots (the Cuvee Alis, the Zinfandel, and the Petite Sirah) were put down to barrels a few weeks ago because we do not have stainless steel containers of the right size for them. To rack off the lees, we pump each lot to a tank, taste it, and then put it back down to barrel.

Once a barrel has been emptied, we rotate it upside down to drain out the lees. These wines are all fairly settled already, so we got less than two gallons total of lees out of all the barrels in the picture above.


 These wines are already smelling extremely clean, so with this racking we didn’t bother using the copper screen.

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


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