The Makings of Rosé

There are a couple of options for making a rosé, including blending different wines together, but we opted for using red grapes and basically processing them just like a white wine.  

With other words, we picked the grapes, ran them through the crusher/destemmer and the put them into the press.  We collected all the free run juice first (about 40 gallons), and then started to gently press the grapes for another 5 gallons, which were added to the free run juice.  We continued pressing the grapes, but kept this juice separately – which yielded about 7 gallons.  Toward the end of pressing, the juice had a distinct “vegetative” flavor, from the bits of stems and seeds that got crushed – not nearly as pleasant tasting as the free run juice.

ice bag floating in the fresh juice

We cooled the juice by dropping previously frozen and sealed ice bags into the wine, to keep the temperature around 65° F. 

After treating the juice with SO2 and adding Pectinase, we covered the barrel and let the juice sit overnight.  This should help with settling out impurities.  We also took a juice sample to test the pH, sugar level and TA (total acidity).

Today we racked the clear  juice into a new barrel – you can see the rose colored juice being pumped through a clear hose in the left picture.  There was a surprising amount of “sludge” left near the bottom of the barrel, nearly 5 gallons.  We racked the sludge into two small carboys to see if it would clear anymore (I just don’t see how it could).

We did the same with the 7 gallons of pressed juice, added the hydrated yeast to both containers and let the fermentation begin!