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Donkey & Goat

Berkeley's first natural winery, crafting wines
from sustainably farmed vineyards since 2004.

Experiments with the rose…

Since we were dealing with smoke taint, we tried several thing outside of our norm with the rose.
Some interesting things we learned:

  • The skin contact had a huge influence on the smoke in the juice – what we press the day it came in was great, 36 hours of free run seemed to have some smoke, 36 hours of skin contact plus pressing had a huge impact.
  • PH was impacted by skin contact outside of ranges that many consider normal. 36 hours on the skin moved PH from 3.2 to 3.7. We don’t understand why.
  • Yeast hulls seem to help. We did this as an experiment and word traveled fast. When we called the producer, they already knew we did and asked for our thoughts.
  • Smoke taint might be considered a benefit. Several of our helpers liked it.

For the reds, we have saved lees and will continue to save them. Our plan is to take the reds with smoke taint off of their lees and replace them with smoke free lees. That way, we get the benefit of the lees without the risk. I will write more about that latter.

One comment

  1. I personally wouldn’t mind tasting some smokey wines. Some Firebrand rosé, perhaps?

    Alain Brumont, in Madiran, made a 2000 Bouscassé Vieilles Vignes that had a smoke taint (see my post here), and it was rather delicious. It all depends on how much smoke gets in your wine, I guess. And on what volumes you have, and if that allows you to experiment with a special cuvée.

    As for the rise in acidity, I have a hypothesis. I found a Time Magazine article that mentions how removing soot from emissions coming from smoke stacks actually seemed to increase acid rain problems. Soot is apparently alkaline. That would fit. And be a little more worrisome for making sure the wines are balanced.

    The components from the smoke, I imagine, wouldn’t be that different from the ones resulting from toasting barrels, would they? So they might indeed be considered positive, within certain limits.

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