High tech, low tech

April 2, 2008 | By | Comments (2)

By Sara Schneider, Sunset wine editor

The numbers are in. Our immensely helpful consultant, Michael Martella, took our wine samples up to Thomas Fogarty Winery to analyze for pH (which is in indirect proportion to acidity) and TA (total acidity). Here’s what he reported.


Our Syrah
    pH: 3.8 (a little high; Martella thinks it will still come down)
    TA: .64
Our Chardonnay
    pH: 3.2 (low, which means our acidity is high, which is an excellent thing)
    TA: .68 (great)

His evaluation: “I think you’re still on track. It’s going to be very good wine.” Phew!

And advice: Let the Syrah go another couple of weeks, then send him more samples. But the Chardonnay is “done,” meaning that both fermentations are complete. Douse it with meta bisulfite (in, as he does, a ratio of 1 pound per 1,000 gallons of wine! For us, that translates to about 2 teaspoons per carboy and would give us about 60 parts per million in the end—a good goal for sulfites). And start stirring the lees, to soften up the wine and add some complexity. We have two choices: Buy a ridiculously expensive machine that stirs the lees magnetically from the outside, or turn the carboys on their sides and roll them once a week or so.


The choice might have been a no-brainer, but nothing’s as easy as it sounds. We couldn’t roll the carboys with the ferm locks still in place; we had to put in some solid corks and secure them with duct tape, to avoid spilling wine all over Sunset’s courtyard. The rolling itself went without incident, even if the layers of lees were so compact that we had to manhandle the carboys vigorously. But untaping the corks was a little bit of an adventure—Erika Ehmsen (copy chief) almost lost an eye when one came shooting out. We learned to finesse it, though, and now have a weekly regimen.


  1. Google

    1- Find a product to promote, something you feel
    passionate about and that you know people will want to buy it.

    It has the highest ROI (Return of Invesment) in all advertisement channels.
    You need to make your potential customers aware of your products and services to ensure that they
    recognize them as valid solutions to their everyday problems.

    June 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm
  2. zayiflama

    thanks you:))

    May 30, 2008 at 2:11 am

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s