After a flurry of activity this weekend adjusting the chemistry of the grapes and getting everything “just so”, the wine is calmly fermenting down in my cellar.
It looks a bit messy, but it’s supposed to be that way. It doesn’t really look like wine until it is pressed, which for red wines occurs after the fermentation.
These particular grapes measured out at 31 brix, which is an astonishingly high sugar level. I suspect that the drought has starved the vines for water in the vineyard, a typical Zinfandel would be perhaps 23 brix. It’s unlikely that the yeast I’m using will be able to ferment this much sugar completely. A typical approach to grapes with high sugar is to water them down and add a bit of acid in order to get the right balance for a table wine, but I’ve opted not to do that. Since it’s unusual to get this much naturally occurring sugar I see it as an opportunity to try for a naturally sweet wine. There will be some challenges but it might be a really excellent product if it works.