by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte)
Just for curiosity, I went back into my Winery/Tasting Room file to see how long we’ve been at this. Our first files date to June 2012. It had seemed like we have been plugging away for a year, but it’s really been 1 1/3 years. How time flies when you’re having fun.
It would seem like a year and a few months should be enough to get us through all this, but it’s not. We hired a new architect and he resubmitted our plans about a month ago. Instead of getting an approval, we got a whole new set of comments. The architect is pretty sure he can make most of the new “requirements” go away. But I’m feeling like a passive bystander in my own project. I guess lots of people feel that way.
At this point, we can pretty much write off 2013. Even if we could get open, we’d be in the worst part of the year. Harvest over, people turning their thoughts to the holidays. Bad weather. Not a great time to get a tasting room going, and certainly not a good time to think about crushing some grapes, except to make advance plans for 2014.
Talking about crushing grapes (and to totally change the subject), I mentioned in a resent post that I’d added acid to the merlot, and I’d check the pH to see what the effect was. Well, I checked the pH, and basically, I don’t know the answer.
Since we’re fermenting in macrobins, each bin yielded a different pH. This to some extent could be due to the addition of different amounts of tartaric to each one, something that when they are all combined won’t make a difference, but do now. Also, since we’re using submerged cap fermentation, we can only measure the acidity above the screen that keeps the grapes submerged. I would think that the acidity level above and below the screen would be about the same, but who knows for sure.
For what it’s worth, the acidity in terms of pH varied from 3.35 to 3.65. Even the 3.65 seems a little low for the amount of tartaric added, but pH can be tricky to predict. The 3.35 is hard to fathom. It’s certainly hard to see how the pH could vary so much, and how such a small addition could result in such a great change in pH.
At any rate, until we press off, it will be hard to know with any degree of certainty what the real pH is.