Every little bit counts right? Well it seems we took that to the extreme this year. Since the weather was beautiful and our Mourvedre seemed to be hanging on, I wanted to leave it as long as possible this year. So we checked it about once a week and it was doing just fine. Then 2 weeks ago when we thought that it was now or never, we realized we had waited a little too long! Ugh. The boars had come through and sampled a fair amount, and then even worse, we had a late out break of grape worms, that ate through quite a few of the bunches!! So Matt and I went back down the next day to salvage what we could, leaving or throwing away quite a bit, which wasn't very much fun. We put the grapes in a plastic bin, crushed them with our feet and hoped that they would start to ferment. In just a couple of days the tell-tale signs of fermentation were there, but the bin was cold, only about 16 degrees C, and I was worried that it would never really take off before turning to vinegar.
I had the brilliant idea of putting an electric blanket underneath the bin, which helped a bit, the temperature started to rise slowly. Then, Matt made my idea even better by surrounding the bin with some old lawn chair cushions so that the whole thing was insultated. Now we were cooking with gas, as they say! The temperature shot up to 27 C and it formed a nice cap that we punched down daily.
Last night we decided to press it off into a barrel since due to the small quantity of wine, there wasn't enough CO2 to kill off the fruit flies and I was having trouble getting rid of them. So, how does one press such a small amount of wine? By hand, of course. Me with my strainer squeezing out each bunch of grapes, Matt with the press mats from our real press, standing on the skins in the bin!! We ended up with a whopping 35 liters!!! It tastes pretty darn good, so I'm glad we did it, but I'm not sure it will make a lot of difference in the final blend!