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2019 Syrah

Since I am not a farmer, as with every year the crush season begins with deciding what to make. For 2019 I decide to do a Syrah again as my last batch won several awards and recognitions.

13 September 2019

I began on 13 September when I picked up 9 lugs (~324 lbs) of Syrah from Delta Packing in Lodi. I have had very good luck with them on grape quality.


Delta Packing sends grapes all over the country as a commercial supplier, and will sell small lots to home winemakers.  Since it is only about an hour from my house (depending on traffic) it is easy to just drive over. I got there about 8:45 on Friday morning and was home by 11:00, including a stop on the way home.

Their personnel are friendly and helpful and even loaded for me. The next picture shows the grapes in my SUV with the guy that loaded them.

Next was to get them home and ready to crush.

Ready to crush and destem.

By 11:30 I was ready to start and by 12:30 I had them all crushed and ready for the enzymes and additives.  I setup three batches pf about 100 lbs of must each (allowing for the removal of the stems during the crush)..

I like to use the Brehm additive packs from More Wine (their item BF990).  They come with:

  TAN120 — Laffort Tannin VR Supra (10g)

  AD342 — Go-Ferm (10 g)

  AD345 — Fermaid K (8 g)

  AD351 — Lallzyme EX (0.8 g)

  AD355 — Opti-Red - (8 g)

 At 12:30 I Added first enzymes - 1 1/3 pack to each

  AD351 — Lallzyme EX (0.8 g)

  AD355 — Opti-Red - (8 g)

At 15:00 (3 o’clock) I measured the specific gravity and pH.

            SG       pH

1          1.11     4.09

2          1.11     4.15

4          1.105   4.11

 I have numbered my containers and the numbers reflect which ones are in use, I am saving 3 for pressing in about 2 weeks.

 At 16:30 I added the second enzyme – 1 1/3 pack to each

  TAN120 — Laffort Tannin VR Supra (10g)

 And then at 18:15 I added the yeast after rehydration.   To containers 1 & 2 added:

• DYW70  — Dry Wine Yeast - Syrah  - (8g)

 to 4 added 1

• DYW62  — Dry Wine Yeast - Bordeaux  - (8g)

 Now wait for primary fermentation with punch down twice a day.


Update 18 September 2019

On 16 September I added 1 1/3 pack of • AD345 — Fermaid K (8 g) to each.  Why 1 1/3 pack, well I bought 4 Brehm red additive packs (probably should have bought 6, but it is still looking good), and with 3 containers I am trying to split them evenly.  Since i probably will not use them again until next year, not worth saving them.

On the 18th I measured the basics and they are getting better.

          SG       pH

1          1.014     3.84

2          1.015     3.87

4          1.015     3.81


I punch down at least wice a day and try for three times.  This resubmerges most of the cap which helps with flavor and color extraction.


On todays punch down it lowered the top of the cap by a couple of inches.

Pre punch on the left, post on the right

Can expect to press by this weekend or early next week.

Update 22 September 2019

On 22 September I pressed the Syrah and transferred to secondary fermenter.

 Press setup and free run juice.

 I got about 20 gallons of pressed & free run juice.  I know many people keep them separate, but I like to mix them.  Makes it easier to handle.  And since I still get awards, why change.


On the 22th I measured the basics and they are staying about the same.

            SG       pH

1        1.00   3.84

2        1.00   3.87

4        1.00   3.81

I added 1/3 pouch to each of DYWM7 - Viniflora CH16 for malolactic fermentation, one pouch is good for 66 gallons.       

I will keep an eye on the progress and probably rack in about 2 to 3 weeks and then start adjusting the pH, TA, and SO2 levels.

Update 29 September 2019

On 29 September I did my first racking to get wine off the sludge that came with transfer the pressed wine to the carboy.  I also checked and aded some tartaric acid and bentonite.

The acid (both by pH and TA- Titrable acid) were off what I would like.  I am aiming for a pH around 3.55.  I calculated how much tartaric acid I would need and added 50% of that amount.  It is much easier to add more later than remove some.

The wine (before racking) tested as:

The wine (before racking) tested as:
SG        pH     TA     gal Bent Tartaric
1.000     4.01     8     6     20 g     25 g
1.000     3.97     8     6     20 g     25 g
1.000     3.95     8     6     20 g     25 g
1.000     4.01     8     2.5  10 g     12 g

I held off on the SO2 for another week to work on the acid level first.

Update 5 October 2019

On 5 October added the first SO2 of about 5 grams each.  Will check in a few weeks for MLF and pH and make next SO2 adjustment.  Also took the smaller carboy and used it to top off the 6 gallon carbiys and had about 1 gallon left over for later top offs.

Update 9 February 2020

I am have been tardy on my wine this year.  Since October I have not done much.  On 9 February I tested and tasted the syrah, and like I have found before, sometimes less is better.  It has a nice fruity aroma and taste.  So I racked it to clean carboys and added some oak to each.

This is the racking.  I took about 1/3 of each of the old carboys into each of the clean carboy to start blending.

2019 syrah rack

The testing:

pH     TA     SO2
3.76     8     30
3.76     8.5   30
3.76     8     30

Also added 1 teaspoon of Potassium Metabisulfite to bring the SO2 up a little.

Probably bottle at the end of June or early July.  Early June plan to take a cruise around Ireland.

Update 19 June 2020 posted 3 October 2020

I bottled most of my 2019 Syrah in mid-June and now in early October it might be ready for tsting.  I said most, because when I went for the bottles they did not have enough of the kind I wanted.  I still have 6+ gallons in a carboy.  Oh and the Ireland cruise was scrubbed due to COVID-19.

MIke Albrecht, P.E.

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