Page 7 - Grapevine MayJunel 2021
P. 7

In The Winery

               paper towel to maneuver the door handle and then  last in the day of the transfers. Clean the hoses,
               throwing away the paper towel.  This is a microor-   pumps and other areas of wine contact between
               ganism conscientious individual that understands     movements.  An example: If 40 barrels need to
               the above principal.  COVID 19 also has us all more   be racked and one barrel may be suspect to have
               aware these days to microbes in general.             some spoilage, rack the 39 barrels first then rack
                                                                    the last barrel separate to another tank – do not
                 Looking at our own cellars, we may find many       mix it into the blend.  If the wine is to be returned
               areas that need work to prevent microbiological      to barrel give serious consideration to returning
               cross-contamination.  This article will explore some   the suspect wine to the same barrel from which it
               areas that are culprits in the spread of microor-    was removed to “contain” the spoilage and create
               ganisms.  Every winemaker needs to have great        a quarantine type situation.  Once the movements
               hygiene and sanitation in the cellar to have the     of any suspect wines have been made, thoroughly
               control a winemaker needs to make sound wines.       clean the pumps and hoses before resuming to the
               After reading this article, the cellar will become a   next transfer.  Be sure to clean the racking wand or
               different place as other sources of contamination    any other devices that have had contact with the
               become evident to the cellar team.                   suspect wine.  Mark the exterior of these suspect
                                                                    vessels so others will be aware of the problem and
                 SAMPLING: Most wineries, with sound wines,         cross-contamination will be minimized during sam-
               may taste from vessel to vessel while returning      pling.
               the leftover portion back to the vessel sampled
               with no worries.  This is one of the major areas       TOPPING: Another area of great concern for cross
               that may need tightening up if the winery is expe-   contamination is topping.  Make sure to top wines
               riencing problems.  Winemakers sample from one       with only clean sound wines of the same type or
               vessel to another perhaps expressing discontent      variety.  Often the topping wine of choice may be a
               in one form or another.  Often the discontent is     recently sterile filtered dry wine that the winemak-
               directly linked to a spoilage bacteria or yeast that   er has prepared for bottling.  This wine should have
               is growing “unchecked”.  The novice winemaker        a greatly reduced yeast and bacterial load.  Always
               may rapidly move through the cellar’s containers     use clean wines for topping because the risk of
               in hopes of quickly reaching a vessel that has not   spreading organisms is great here.
               progressed negatively.  What some winemakers
               don’t catch on to is that they are indeed the cul-     BLENDING: If potential spoilage wines have been
               prits to the spread of the very element with which   caught early, quarantined, and arrested they may
               they are not happy.  When sampling a container,      still be used in a final blend in small quantities.  If
               look inside the vessel for a potential surface film.   the wines have been cared for and kept “in check”
               This may indicate a spoilage position for that wine.    they may add to the complexity of the wine.  This
               Know the sulfur dioxide and ph of the wine.  When    should always be determined by a lab blending
               experiencing spoilage yeast or bacteria, be sure     trial first.  The trick with blending is to wait to the
               to sanitize/sterilize the sampling instrument and    last possible moment to make the blend to achieve
               wine glass between samples.  Do not return the       protein, color and tartrate stability of the wine
               leftover portion to the vessel and be careful to dis-  prior to bottling.  This should be done in stainless
               card the leftover in an area to be cleaned.  Do not   steel because it is easier to clean and sanitize after
               dump it in the drain or on the floor for reasons to   removing the wine from the vessel.  After blending,
               be explained later. (In clean cellars where sound    the wine should be filtered as soon as possible to
               wines are made it is not usually a problem to sam-   eliminate the bacterial load.
               ple and pour back wines – only in unsound condi-
               tions should one avoid this habit.)                    HANDS & CLOTHING: As with many processing
                                                                    and preparation cellars, always wash your hands
                 TRANSFERS: If working with wines that are known  frequently especially after handling wines that are
               to have some risk of infection – always move them    suspect.  Be certain not to wipe your hands on

               877-892-5332                       The Grapevine • May - June 2021                                Page 5

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