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How Long On Skins?


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#1 Nodvad

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:43 AM

How long do you guys usually leave your red fermenting with the skin before pressing and letting the fermentation finish off in the demijohn?
I was talking to some guy at a party who actually worked on a vineyard in europe a long time and he said they usually don't let the whole fermentation take part on the skin, they usually taste it every day and when they have the right color and taste he says they press it and finish the whole process without the skins which leaves them with pretty much the taste and color they want without getting that type or bitterness if it's fermented the whole time with the skins?

What rules do you guys usually follow depending on the grapes you use?
i usually go for a cabernet merlot blend so i'm interested to know.

Ciao



#2 gilg2007

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:13 AM

QUOTE (Nodvad @ Jul 30 2009, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How long do you guys usually leave your red fermenting with the skin before pressing and letting the fermentation finish off in the demijohn?
I was talking to some guy at a party who actually worked on a vineyard in europe a long time and he said they usually don't let the whole fermentation take part on the skin, they usually taste it every day and when they have the right color and taste he says they press it and finish the whole process without the skins which leaves them with pretty much the taste and color they want without getting that type or bitterness if it's fermented the whole time with the skins?

What rules do you guys usually follow depending on the grapes you use?
i usually go for a cabernet merlot blend so i'm interested to know.

Ciao


I think it varies based on the variety of grape. Most of the time though, once the specific gravity falls to 1.0 or .99, I press it and move it to a carboy.
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#3 Green Zeus

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:29 AM

We work with concord, as far as red wine goes, and we do the entire ferment on the skins which is about 5 days. We also do a warm ferment because we are trying to pull out as much color as possible. Skin contact gets the color.

Bitterness can come from seed contact. We always bag our grapes so that no seeds can be left floating around in the secondary. We use queen size knee-length hose for bags. They work real good when you have a number of them in the primary and they are easy to squeeze and stir around at the primary. They also make pressing a breeze.

#4 Nodvad

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (Green Zeus @ Jul 30 2009, 09:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We work with concord, as far as red wine goes, and we do the entire ferment on the skins which is about 5 days. We also do a warm ferment because we are trying to pull out as much color as possible. Skin contact gets the color.

Bitterness can come from seed contact. We always bag our grapes so that no seeds can be left floating around in the secondary. We use queen size knee-length hose for bags. They work real good when you have a number of them in the primary and they are easy to squeeze and stir around at the primary. They also make pressing a breeze.


Yeah that usually what we do over here too but this was the first time i've heard of removing the grapes early, pressing and letting it finish off in the demijohns.
They way he was talking they move it out way before 1.00 or .99 gravity which is what i usually do to because it's really hard to taste what quality of wine you'll actually get 2-3 days after it's fermenting no ?

#5 NorthernWiner

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:48 AM

Every situation is different but, in general, most vinifera grape varieties can be left on the skins until fermentation finishes. That being said, there are some varieties that I would suggest pressing early. Petite Sirah is one example. Because it tends to be very dark and tannic, you may want to press just a little early (maybe at 2 to 4 brix) before you get too much extraction of harsh tannins from the seeds. On the other hand, if I'm making PS to use as a blending component, I don't mind having inky, tannic wine. In that case, I'll let it go until it's dry.

Some hybrid grapes also lend themselves to early pressing. For example, when I make Frontenac, I don't generally leave it on the skins for any more than 5-6 days. The decision when to press is based on taste and smell. Frontenac is an odd variety in that it starts off smelling and tasting like black cherry. However, if you let it go too long, it starts to develop tar/rubber/smoked meat flavors and aromas. While that sounds like something you wouldn't want, I honestly don't mind a little bit of it because it adds some interest to the wine. But I know from experience that when I start to detect those components, I need to press soon.

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#6 bret

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:51 AM

Good points made above.

I left my 50/50 blend of Cabernet franc and Merlot on skins for 8 days.
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#7 naper wine guy

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 09:10 AM

I believe the "rule of thumb" is around 4 days for light reds and around 10 days for the deeper reds, based on the level of tannins and the color extraction from the skins you desire for your wine. Some winerys will leave it on the skins for upwards of 30 days (a process known as extended maceration), however studies have shown that color extraction peaks at around 3 to 5 days, thus it becomes a diminishing return event where the amount of additional color will become less and less each day after that time frame. What will increase over an extended maceration is the levels of tannin concentration in the wine. So what this really becomes is a decision you as a wine maker must decide. Best way to do this is with your eyes, nose and tastebuds. Making wine is much more an art form than a science! Thats why its so fun! Happy Wine Making!
In vino veritas.

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#8 Nodvad

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 10:21 AM

Interesting replies indeed, thanks a bunch guys. As i tend to stick to cabernet i'll continue on letting sit on the skins until almost complete.

ciao

#9 Proud Puppy

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:20 AM

A convenient target is to press around 1.000 or at about the time fermentation is in its finishing stage. Earlier to get more fruity style and nose, later for a more extracted style. I sometimes even go a day or 2 past that to the point of cap sinking partially.

Varietal and even specific vineyard of varietal is another factor. Without any previous experience with a particular fruit it is a tough call, but aiming between 0 and 3 or even 5 brix is a reasonable zone. I have often pressed malbec at around 5 brix for the reasons Northern suggests pressing Petite Sirah at at an earlier time. Huge difference in result and this is usually a day or less earlier but very big effect. Curiously the effect on a Petite Sirah would seem to also be marked, but I have seen only a little difference even on very bold Petite harvests. Malbec I have seen the pressing at 1.000 versus 1.010 to 1.015 or even at 1.018 or 5 brix is enough to make a difference that is rusulting in a good or wine soo over extracted as to be unapproachable for 2 or three years.

Cabernets (Calif and Chilean)I aim at 1 or 2 Brix and the balance is harmonious and the wine is age worthy yet drinkable in 6 months after bottling if desired. I usually do a 3 to 5 day cold soak , so my extraction is sufficient in most cases by to even press in the 3 to 5 brix range.

You should be ok in the 0 to to 3 brix range unless someone else has solid experience with your grapes and has other advice. Your taste requirements will guide you from there, but you need a 'see for yourself baseline' with each new fruit you use and the fruit parameters of sugar, acid, pH, fruit condition and quality and taste will also influence the decision.

We always get varying results year to year, but working with a familiar fruit makes it easier to get a result that satisfies our taste preferences .

Ron
Going Through MLF: 2013 Lanza Koch Cabernet Sauvignon 6.5 Gallons;2013 Lanza Suisun Petite Sirah 6.0 Gallons;
2013 Atlas Peak Merlot 6.5 Gallons; 2012 (frozen)Beckstoffer Carneros Lake Merlot 6.5 Gallons; 2013 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauv 6.5 Gallons





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