Production: 198 cases
In the Vineyard
The season was late, the air crisp, with more than a hint of frost. Our 35 year old Gewürztraminer vines continued to faithfully pack sugar and sunlight into each berry very late into this year. We harvested on November 11, nearly 3 weeks later than usual and about the time all of our fermentations are normally complete! Our dry climate reduced the juice yield by one third and concentrated the sugars to over 28 Brix. With frozen fingers we picked the last grapes of the season and transported the wizened little berries to the cellar.
In the Cellar
As we crushed and pressed the deep, pink-purple fruit, we made our first measurements:
Total Acidity: 5.1 g/l
Flavor very intense, skins very tough, juice temp 40 F.
After allowing the juice to settle and clear overnight, we added the yeast and began to wait. Nothing happened for 5 days, and we began to consider reinoculating. Then, on November 18th, the morning tank sample temperature was about 55 F and the Brix level was 26. The yeast had hit its stride. Nine days later the Brix level had fallen to 12. By 9:00 PM on the 27th, the Brix reading was 10.5, precisely where we wanted to stop the fermentation. We added our fortification and crossed our fingers, hoping the yeasts gave up by morning. This is white knuckle winemaking!
By the end of the month the wine had cleared enough and we transferred it to a clean tank. In January we moved the wine outside to cold stabilize it in the Rocky Mountain deep freeze. By late March it was warming back up and we moved the wine back into the cellar to begin preparation for bottling. After fining to prevent cloudiness, in May we bottled 70 cases of Gewürztraminer nectar christened Alpine Dessert Wine.