Smart Dog WineryTM

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My Winemaking

The story of my journey through home wine making.

In this section I will be posting the story of my wine making experience with links to the whole story by Crush years (when the grapes are harvested).

I am proud to say that I have gotten several recognitions of my wine.  For more information see my Awards & Recognition.

For my past years see: Previous Crushes

2023 Crush

It is mid August, and the pick this year is running late, due to a cold wet spring.  I am also going to do what I said above, be more thoughtfull of how much and what I make this year.  It will be a red year, and am considering zin and merlot in particular.  But it will probably be mid September before I proceed.

September 2023

he 2023 Pick/Crush ran late, due to a cold wet spring.  I am also going to do what I said above, be more thoughtfull of how much and what I make this year.  It will be a red year, and am considering zin and merlot in particular.  But it will probably be mid September before I proceed.

26 September 2023

2023 was a cool spring and summer so pick was late.

Went to Delta Packing on 25 September and got 6 pails (6 gallons each) of Lodi Zinfandel.  Price was $44 per pail, whihc is better than most good kits.  Handling these similar to kits.  Juice had great color and aroma, so hoping for a good year.  Plan to bottle around 8 or 9 cases.  The rest (3 pails will go to brandy.

Zinfandell Pails

All 6 had very similar readings of 3.55 pH and a measured SpGr of 1.102, but was still cold from being stored at 32 oF so adjusted to SpGr of 1.1015 and a Brix of 25.2.  This should give a final ABV of 14%.

While just juice color was good and aroma also. Next picture shows must after adding additives (MoreWine BF990).

Must after additives befor yeast

Pitched the yeast the next morning (26 September).

So far have added.  More Wine frozen red grape additive pack BF990

• TAN220 — Tannin FT Rouge (10g)
• AD343 — Go-Ferm Protect (10 g)
• AD351 — Lallzyme EX (0.8 g)
• AD355 — Opti-Red - (8 g)

Yeast used
• DYW70 — Dry Wine Yeast - Syrah - (13g)

28 September

Added the • AD345 — Fermaid K (8 g)

SpGr was 1.04 and fermentation was going strong.

48 hrs of fermenting

1 October

Definetly getting there.

Specifc Gravity  1.00,  pH  3.5, TA (total acid) 9, SO2 50 ppm.  Should be through fermentation soon!

6 October

Specif Gravity is at 0.998 giving an approximate 14% ABV (alcohol by volume). 

At this point I have about 36 gallons of wine.  Way more than I need, so will turn at least half into brandy.

9 October

2023 Zin

Have racked 3 pails to carboys for settling and agingin.  Added oak to each.

Distilled the other 3 pails to about 4 gallons of brandy (1st ruun only, will do at least another run or 2 stages of distillation).

2023 Zin Brandy

10 November

Wine in long term aging, 3 carboys, 5 gallons each

30 May

Bottled 6 cases of wine.  Need to let it sit for a while due to bottle shock.

2024 Zin bottled

 

 

MIke Albrecht, P.E.

Or my excursion into winemaking

My first effort at making my own wine was in the late 1960’s (I was a teenager about 17 years old) in Florida trying to make orange wine.  Not knowing anything about, it was less than successful (miserable failure is a good description).   Fast forward 40 years, and here I go again, but this time I spent more time and effort learning what to do.  Where possible I will place worthwhile references under the links heading.

o    E-mail: info@smartdogwinery.com