Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breakdown...such a pain

Funny how some things can just be so annoying.  

In the game of winemaking one of the most important rules is keeping the wine away from air.  This is usually done by keeping the wine in a vessel (such as a: tank, barrel, jug, bottle, keg, carboy, demijohn, puncheon, pipe, hogshead, cask etc.) topped up to the very top so there is no space for air to occupy.  This means "breaking down" larger vessels into smaller topped ones.

So here I am with several full, topped up barrels and one barrel of Cabernet Franc that is about 10 gallons low and one barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon that has only about 25 gallons in it.  I have a great plan to use a nice half barrel (30gal) from Jarvis to fill with Cab Sauv and then just top it with Cab Franc.  Then I realize- what am I going to do with 45gal of Cab Franc?  Great, now I have to take back the barrel and try plan B.  

Plan B is to use the Cab Sauv to top the Cab Franc barrel and then breakdown the balance (~15 gal) into a keg.  Of course I seemed to have misplaced my keg so I take a trip to the store to find out that the world is out of kegs right now because of some dispute in China.  OK , what else is available? This thing pictured above (except mine has clear glass):  some sort of Italian basket, glass jug thing that holds 34 Liters.  "I'll take it" I say before seeing the hay and what could be feathers between the basket and the glass.  This must be how they make Chianti I think to myself.  

Well the very odd 34 Liter container (I'm sure it has a cool name) leaves be something like 6 gallons short so I can use one of my trusty carboys (5 gal) and a standard one gallon jug (think Carlo Rossi).  Of course this never works out as planned and I am a half gallon short.  Oh well, lucky for my I have a bunch of half gallon jugs on hand.  The headache is over, till next month when I top all the barrels again and use up some jugs and go looking for the next odd, yet to be named container to breakdown into.

1 comment:

landjenglish said...

Can you please tell where I can buy a demijohn container like the one pictured in your article?