Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pressing the Lodi Barbera, and the Mystery of the Missing Funnel

It was finally time to press the Lodi Barbera.  It is always a time consuming process to clean, sterilize, and set up all of the equipment to do the pressing.  In fact, we've learned that often we spend more time cleaning and prepping than we actually do making wine.  We were almost done with set-up:  the press was ready and the carboys cleaned.  We just needed to find one more piece of equipment.  Our wine-making funnel.

When we press wine, we like to press it directly into the carboys.  We have to set the press up on something tall to do this (we use a garden cart).   But the advantage is that we don't have to move the wine from one container to another.  But in order to do that we need a large funnel to capture all the liquid coming out of the press and going into the carboy. 

Without the funnel, pressing the wine directly into  the carboy doesn't work well.  At all.   We tore apart our basement looking for it, but were unable to locate it.  Where had the funnel gone?  Had it fallen down some sort of wormhole and traveled to another dimension?   Had gremlins stolen it?  We tried to make a "funnel" out of a plastic jug and a smaller funnel.  Not our best idea.  It looked like a blood bank sprung a seriously leak on our basement floor.

It was beginning to look like we were either going to have to delay pressing, or press into a bucket and then move into a carboy, increasing our workload significantly.  But then, my wife came up with a brilliant idea.  Her idea was to press the wine into a bucket, hook our vacuum pump up to pull it from the bucket and into the carboy.  Hurray!  The day was saved!  Someday the funnel may rematerialize, but until then, we will use our new method of pressing wine.  In fact, we may just use this method later this week when we press the Lodi Zinfandel.

The 144 pounds of grapes is now Lodi Barbera wine, sitting happily in one 6-gallon carboy, one 3-gallon carboy, and a 1-gallon jug.  So far the wine tastes great, and the color is deep and rich.  I am feeling very hopeful about this batch.