A while back I placed an order for 200 pounds of 2014 Zinfandel grapes, and yesterday I got the call that the vineyard is harvesting this week and that the grapes will be available for me to pick up at 4 PM on Saturday! I went out today and picked up some supplies, and I rummaged around the cellar to find all the food-safe containers that I’ll need for bring the grapes home and fermenting them. Then I cleaned everything off with some brewery cleaner.
My 200 pounds of grapes should give me around 22 gallons of must (unfermented crushed grapes). They will fit nicely in my 30 gallon barrel with a bit of head space left over for fermentation activity.
I spent some time in the evening moving things around the cellar to make space for the fermentation. The temperature will be fairly stable down there; I’ve been keeping an eye on it and it fluctuates between about 68 and 73 degrees during nights and days that range from the low sixties to the low nineties. It’s not the best temperature for aging but for the fermentation it should be about perfect.
There are a lot of variables to the process, but after all is said and done I am anticipating about a dozen gallons of finished wine or around 60 bottles in all. I might get as high as 80 bottles if my process and pressing efficiency are very good, and if the vineyard errs a little in my favor on the weight. 🙂 Stay tuned for progress updates!