Saturday, June 27, 2009

Construction Update #4

The build out is almost done. I just need to tape and float the sheetrock, insulate the garage door, and complete some small odds and ends. My landlord finished the eletrical wiring and lighting. He should complete the mini split install sometime next week. The room is gonna be chillin': 9000 BTU and R-19 insulation in at least half the walls. Here's the latest photo:

Harvest is just around the corner! They're saying the first week in August. The chemistry reports should begin to arrive in July, once the grapes begin veraison.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Equipment Update #3

The cooperage arrived last week. Sitting in my living room are three 225L American oak barrels from Nadalie USA, heavy to medium toasting with toasted heads. I ordered different wood and toasting patterns for each barrel to experiment with the oak flavoring. While the entire 1.5 tons will be aged in these three barrels for 12 months, we will reserve a small lot that will age an additional 6 months in a small French oak barrel.

I also ordered an 2 additional 600L (160 gallon) tanks for primary fermentation. The plan was to ferment in 1/2 ton poly fermenters. However, after much thought, I decided to go stainless to minimize spoilage during maceration and cold-soaking. That gives us a total of 560 gallons of stainless fermentation and storage space.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Construction Update #3

So close! I'm done with all the framing and almost there with the sheetrock. All that's left to do: A/C installation, electrical wiring, and garage door insulation. I've decided to go with a 9,000 BTU ductless mini-split system. While a window unit would have worked, the mini-split is better at maintaining a consistent environment.

My super-wife has her own juicing and fermentation projects going on: kambucha. It's definately an acquired taste.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Equipment Update #2

After an awesome week with the family in San Antonio and New Braunfels, my super-wife drove me and my two youngest boys to Austin to pickup a truck and drive equipment we purchased from St. Pat's back to Houston. After a great breakfast with my brother and his wife, we were on our way back home.

Here's my youngest son, affectionately known as "G-Baby," standing next to the 80-gallon tank.

The 50-gallon RP55 ratchet press. I almost broke my back removing the ratchet mechanism for cleaning. I had to screw it down to a piece of plywood so that I could move it with a dolly.

The 29-GPM flexible impeller pump from Enoitalia. This is the same line of pumps used by many commercial wineries.

This is racking wand below is pretty awesome. It's basically a standard racking wand with a screen attached halfway down. This will be used to rack the wine away from the solids after fermentation.

The ENO-15-S destemmer/crusher. Standard stainless screw and rubber rollers. It will process about 1.6 tons per hour.

All that's left are the barrels, yeast, and chemicals.

Construction Update #2

It's hard to believe that in less than two months this room will be processing 1.5 tons of Texas Merlot.

The fourth and last wall is almost completed. I will be installing the door and support framing this evening. Look at the fourth photo: can you guess what one of the labels will be called?