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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chambourcin, Mulch Silage and Hay

Today was the big day for our Chambourcin. It has finished fermenting and has been slumbering on the grape skins and pips. 22 days have passed since the yeast commenced its work. Gradually after the bubbling finished the skins settled and fell to the bottom of the container. CO2 gas has been dribbled in once every day to protect the wine from nasties. The surface of the wine had a lovely clean crisp shimmer as it sat under the plastic wrap covering the drum. And today the pressing began at 4.30, well really a bit after. I made coffee first.

There was very little to press. The juice flowed out as the contents were scooped into the basket press. The skins were broken down to such an extent that they oozed out all moisture. A 34 litre demijohn was filled quickly after adding some American Oak chips at 3 grams/litre. Only a little pressure was required to fill a 5 litre demijohn and then a bit more for the two litre and finally some real pressure to take out the last litre. And all done. In a few days the Pinot Noir will reach its 22 days and undergo a similar treatment.

Because we are working the garden beds it seemed like a good time to collect some mulch silage that a nearby farm was offering at $30/bale. We organised it on Monday and confirmed again on Tuesday we would be arriving on Wednesday. The bales are a few hundred Kilograms dry and their tractor is required to load.

As with all good plans that go off the rails they were called away from their farm on urgent contract work and the person remaining on the farm was not familiar with the loading tractor. Not wanting to waste the trip we turned our plan around and collected a load of Lucerne for the farm across the river – 53 bales. This was going to be another job for the afternoon. After unloading across the river and going home for coffees and cake it was back again for another 59 bales. A good job and the boss was pleased to be able to stock up. Hay is not cheap and in short supply at 15.50/bale. No need to remind every one that a bale of Lucerne weighs 25 kilograms and 112 bales lifted twice equals 5600 kilograms. Sleep came easily that night. A good way to get some exercise if you want it.

We will pick up our mulch another day.

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