Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I'm torn these days.  I spent most of yesterday moving tanks around. We have a few tanks in our winery--horizontal ones that take up a lot of space--that we use for cold stabilization.  (These are old milk tanks from the dairy industry that we converted years ago for wine production.  What's good enough for milk is plenty good enough for wine--we have alcohol on our side!)

Every year we cold-stabilize our wines.  This involves bringing the temperature of the wine down to around 26F--depending on the alcohol content--and holding it there.  We then seed the wine with some potassium bitartrate in order to start a crystallization process that helps pull the excess tartaric acid out of solution.  Now, this sounds all fancy and chemistry-like, but every winery in the world does this or some form of this.  The aim of this is to have the crystals deposit in the tank so they don't deposit in the bottle in your fridge at home.

Interesting fact: the crystals we pull out of the wine?  It also goes by the name of "cream of tartar".  That's right, the stuff used in baking comes from the wine industry.  Neat, huh?

It takes a lot of energy to bring these wines to these low temperatures and hold them, especially when we're trying to keep the rest of the winery a little warmer (67F) in order to get our MLs to run in the barrels.  So, the idea was to take the tanks outside--where it's colder--and save some energy and space costs.  (Yes, space costs money.  It's why you are charged to put things in storage units.)

Opening up the space has made me realize that we could be using this barrel room as a Barrel Room.  In other words, use it for events and other marketing nonsense.  Perhaps sell a few more bottles of wine.  Now, I'd love to sell more wine, especially if it's the reds and whites I enjoy making so much.  But the site of a newly-freed-up wall just begs for more tanks and barrels to fill it, not tables and chairs. 

In any case, we're not quite done with the moving yet.  Just got about 3-4 inches of snow last night.  It's going to be fun sledding around with the forklift today.....

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