Morning Check In
The hydrometer reading this morning was 1.000, which means it is 0 sugar and fermentation is complete. This is much faster than I had hoped, but I was warned that Pinotage ferments fast when it is warm. I am glad that I used the iced bottles to cool down the temp.
So, this means that I have to press the wine as soon as possible and get it into the oak barrel.
Pressing and barrelling
I let the wine stand during the day so that all the skins can rise to the top to make syphoning the wine off easier. The hydrometer reading (for old time’s sake) was Once the wine is syphoned off into the buckets the grapes came in I poured the wine into the barrel. This was quite a task and a half and I made some mess, but all in good sport.
Eventually the barrel was filled, and I still have 7.5 litres of juice/wine left which is now in the freezer. I’ll use this to top off the wine when it is ageing.
Next time I should consider syphoning directly into the barrel instead.
The primary fermentation (sugar to alcohol) is done and now it’s time for Malolactic fermentation (tart-tasting malic acid is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid). This is done by bacteria. The bacteria can be added now, but I added the bacteria at the beginning, even before the yeast fermentation. The bacteria won’t be able to do their job while the yeast is doing its job, so they were waiting patiently until alcoholic fermentation was complete. Now they are working away (I hope).
After the wine went into barrel, I plugged the hole at the top with a bung with a hole and used the airlock. Malolactic fermentation also creates gas which needs to escape from the barrel, but you can’t leave it open since you want to prevent oxidation. The airlock to the rescue. It allows gas to escape but won’t let any gas in.
Here is a picture of the airlock in the barrel.
Now we wait. This should take a couple of weeks.