Production: 131 cases
In the Vineyard
The season ended early, with more than a hint of frost. Early October delivered 17 degrees F and our 37 year old Gewürztraminer vines were done for the year! We harvested on November 4, after all of the other grapes were safely in the cellar. Our dry climate reduced the juice yield by one third and concentrated the sugars to over 30 Brix. 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: 5.0 g/l
Flavor very intense, skins soft, juice temp 52 F.
After allowing the juice to settle and clear overnight, we added the yeast and began to wait. After delivering 17 degrees F., Mother Nature warmed up and fostered a quick start to the fermentation. However, on December 1st, the morning tank sample temperature was about 38 F and the Brix level was 14. The yeast was struggling to finish. We added heaters to the tanks and by December 9 we had the Brix levels we were looking for. We added our fortification and crossed our fingers, hoping the yeasts gave up by morning. This is white knuckle winemaking!
Three days later the wine had cleared enough and we transferred it to a clean tank and moved moved the wine outside to cold stabilize it in the Rocky Mountain deep freeze. By mid 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 June we bottled 131 cases of Gewürztraminer nectar christened Alpine Dessert Wine.