Rathfinny Wine Estate

So long, “new winery smell”

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We harvested some nice Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes and we successfully commissioned our 4 tonne Coquard press with “whole clusters”. The juice came out quite clear, as expected.

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The juice was transferred by gravity to settling tanks, where we let it settle for about 24 hours. After this, the juice was racked off its lees into a tank where it was inoculated with selected yeast.

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Since then, the winery has been filled with the nice—or I should say exquisite—smell of fermenting juice.

The temperature control system has proven efficient, which means that we were able to keep the fermenting wine at a constant temperature to allow for a steady fermentation. Remember, during the alcoholic fermentation, yeast metabolise sugars and convert them into alcohol and CO2, as well as energy, in the form of heat. Left unmanaged, the temperature can get to a level that is lethal to yeast. We were able to control the temperature of the fermentation in the tanks. Here you can see the foam from healthy yeast activity:

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About half of the wine lots are now technically “dry”, which means that all the sugars have been consumed. The other half is getting close, but they will need another couple of days.

The dry wines are now kept at just over 20°C in order to promote lactic bacteria, which will then initiate the malolactic fermentation, during which malic acid will be converted into lactic acid. While yeast can ferment at low temperatures, around 12°C, bacteria need a warmer environment to thrive, between 20°C and 25°C. This is when being able to keep tanks warm is VERY useful.

I’m now closely monitoring the decrease in malic acid concentration in the wines. Once the concentration is down to zero, we’ll put the wines to “sleep” and start the process of clarifying/fining and stabilizing – this will likely happen mid-December.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress!

Jonathan Médard – Winemaker

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