April in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania

winderdoon in autumn

If you are making your own wine, chances are you will have picked your grapes by now, processed them and fermented them.See In the cellar for guidance on the wine making process.
The weather is now getting a little cool to reliably complete a secondary fermentation
(malolactic fermentation), however you can still introduce the bacteria to your new wine and leave it before bottling until at least mid December. By this time, rising temperatures will have produced the optimum conditions in which it can complete the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid.
Rack your wine off the dead yeast (lees) about now and let your wine cold stabilize in your cellar over winter.
You may wish to introduce some French Oak in the form of chips to give your wine a touch of oak. You can do this immediately after racking the wine off the lees. That way you don’t need to unnecessarily expose your wine to the air again until you remove the chips. I keep a tap on my wine barrels to taste the progress of the wine without introducing any air. You will only be able to extract small quanities as the air must get in to allow the wine to flow.
In the Vineyard
The vines are starting to close down now with the change in the weather. Allow them to lose all their leaves before pruning.

Note well the amount of powdery mildew evident on the old leaves and as black blotches on the canes. This gives an indication as to how much dormant spores are present. You will prune most of this off in June, but nevertheless it shows how vigilant you need to be against this disease, particularly in a warm season such as we have had. Whilst the disease will not affect the berries much after they have attained pea size, it will cause deterrioration in the leaves. After you have put the nets on, it is almost impossible to control, so it is wise to keep this disease to a minimum during the season by a regular program of spraying ( 10 day intervals) See disease control notes for powdery mildew.
Next month's notes will contain advice on pruning, and I shall have completed the web pages on this subject.

In The Cellar

Cold Stabilisation

My fermentation cellar is perfect for cold stabilisation of wine over the winter months. In The Tamar Valley, the average temperature ranges from about -20 Celsius to 130 Celsius. My cellar maintains a stable temperature of about 100-12 0 throughout the winter months. This is ideal for the cold stabilisation of wine.

If you cannot achieve this temperature at least try to minimise the variation in temperature of the place you keep your wine. One of the worst things for new wine is to undergo large temperature variation.




Air Exclusion


Ensure your airlock is kept half full of a 5% solution of KBMS to deter any bacteria that develops in the airlock from reaching the wine.

There should be no more than 10% air remaining in the conatiner to stop deterioration of the wine.

This fermenter holds 65 litres. I have filled it to 63 litres so that the entry point of the airlock does not touch the wine. If I need to move the fermenter, there is still enough air in the container to prevent a vacuum sucking the wine into the airlock.






Next Month:

Pruning techniques explained

Over wintering your vineyard

This page was last updated on 30/04/2010