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2003 Cabernet Franc

This fall I was able to purchase 100lbs of Cabernet Franc grapes from Willowcroft Farm Vineyard in Leesburg, VA, and I'm trying to make wine from fresh grapes.  It is a lot more work than the kit, but it is also a lot more fun.

I brought home the crushed grapes on 10/16/03, here are some pictures of the status so far:


10/16/03 - Here is the must right after I brought in home. 100lbs of grapes that were destemmed and crushed for me at Willowcroft.

I put the must into a big Rubbermaid container, and added a small dose of meta to get it ready for my yeast.

I stirred the must, and waited while my yeast starter (in the glass pitcher) became active.

Close-up view of the yeast starter, beginning to foam up.

Fermentation just starting.

I punched down the cap three times each day while fermentation was going on.

10/20/03 - Just four days later, primary fermentation has slowed down to almost a standstill. Brix measuer at ~1, so it's time to press!

My lovely assistant, Anna, prepares to hold the bag for me as I dip out the skins & juice.

That's me, the bald guy, getting ready to press by hand using a mesh bag.

Slow, tiring process, and yes, I did wash my hands and everything else before getting started...

Filling the fermentation bucket with wine, the skins go in the black bucket and out to the composter.

Pouring off the pressed wine into a clean carboy for secondary fermentation.

My hands had purple stains for days.

Tasting some very young wine. Acids were still harsh, but the fruit showed a lot of promise.

Stiring in the malolactic culture. This will soften the wine and lower total acidity.

Secondary fermentation started. Look at that great color!

10/26/03 - Using paper chromatography to check the progess of malolactic fermentation. Shows little or no malic acid left.

11/17/03 - No more activity, first racking. Racking the wine off of the lees and into clean carboys for aging.

My assistant preparing a cheesecloth bag to hold oak chips.

In the barrel! One carboy has the bag of chips, the other has some oak chips just poured in. I'm curious to see how they do!