WinExpert Australian single vineyard Shiraz secondary fermentation begins
Today I transferred about 5 gallons of WinExpert Australian single vineyard shiraz from the primary fermentor to a carboy for secondary fermentation. S.G. was 1.000 at 65 degrees C, which is a little on the low side, it probably should have gone into secondary a day earlier. Normally, this would not be an event worth writing about, but this time things didn’t go so well, though I think it’s going to turn out ok in the end. I had used the paint strainer trick, in which you get a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag and put it in the primary fermenter bucket, and dump the grape skins and oak into that. The idea is, when it comes time to transfer to secondary fermentation, you can just pull out the bag, squeeze out as much juice as you can, and toss it. This means you don’t have to deal with a lot of muck interfering with the siphoning process by clogging up your siphon hose. I’ve done this several times before and it’s always worked very well. Well this kit came with a lot of oak. Four packets, two of larger French oak ships, and two of toasted American oak. The latter two packets contained the oak in the form of a very fine dust. It seems that all this oak pretty much went right through the paint strainer. So, I siphoned most of the wine into the carboy using a little intake filter on the business end of the siphon hose, but this filter kept clogging up, and I had to have my hand literally in the wine, continually cleaning the filter. In this way I got about two thirds of the wine transferred. With about a third remaining, it was getting very sludgy, and the siphon just wasn’t working anymore. So at that point, I got a big pitcher and poured the wine into that through another paint strainer bag. After a couple passes filtering it through the paint strainer bag, I was then able to resume siphoning without any significant loss of wine, though I do think what’s in the carboy now is rather more sludgy than is usual. I hope it clears ok.