Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final for 2011

Here we are at December 20 and I still have a wine fermenting. That’s what I call a slow fermentation. The other day, I wrapped the carboy in a heating pad to warm it so that I could help the Riesling fermentation come to an end—it’s been more than seven weeks!

For next year, if I do this again, I will have to remember that the cellar temperature in my home is not warm enough for a reasonable fermentation, cool or otherwise. I’ll have to take action to warm things up.

If my warming attempt doesn’t work this time, and I get a stuck fermentation, I’m afraid that I will have an alcohol level that is too low for my taste. Worse, however, is that I was counting on the Riesling to blend into the Gewurztraminer to adjust for acidity. I don’t want to add sweetness to the Gewurztraminer.

Woe is I…

Also, at this time of year I truly get excited because, after the winter solstice we start to see more daylight each day. From summer solstice to winter solstice daylight lingers about a minute less each day—the reverse takes place from winter solstice to summer solstice.

In our northeastern locale, it gets dark by 4:30 pm at this time of year, and it gets dark at almost 10 pm in June.

I love the longer daylight. Always been a daytime fellow. Therefore, I rejoice during the winter solstice, and I am almost certain that the change in daylight must have some biodynamic effect on my wines—make them better perhaps?

This year, we have lucked out thus far, having escaped major snowfall—hardly any of the white stuff at all. Today, I bought snow tires for my little four-wheel-drive Geo Tracker. That ought to solidify that we get no snow at all this winter, and if so, the money will have been well spent, for as much as I love daylight, I hate snow much more. The only good thing about snow is that I can use it to help cool down my wines for tartrate precipitation, which, in my cellar, may not be necessary, so to hell with snow—forever.

I know that a curmudgeon should never break this rule: but happy holiday to all my readers—every last five or six of you. This time next year, I might offer a toast with my own wine, if I don’t finish them off before then.

Oh, for those who have asked: I am deeply involved in researching and writing my next book, which is why my comments on blogs have been short and sweet, and fewer.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
December 2011. All rights reserved.


  1. Sweet? You will ruin my reputation...

  2. Thomas,
    Ruining reputations is my special gift...

  3. Merry Christmas, Thomas!

    As long as your wine is authentic, my friend, it has to be good.

    The HoseMaster

  4. Wait a minute: one person calls me sweet; another calls my wine authentic; it's a conspiracy, I tell you.

  5. Oh, you know Ron & I are always conspiring.

  6. Thomas, I too love the winter solstice because it means the summer solstice is on its way.
    I remember my first summer in California...I wondered why someone had turned the lights out at 9.30 pm!!! The flick of the switch is approx. 10.45 pm in good old Liverpool.

  7. Vinogirl,

    I remember the first time I visited Europe. Arrived in Geneva in early December in the late am. Got to the hotel tired and cranky, ate something and then fell asleep at about 1 pm.

    When I woke up, the digital clock was at 4:00, outside it was nearly pitch black. I wondered what I would do for the next few hours until the world awakened, now that I slept the rest of that day and into early the following morning; but I had slept only 3 hours.

  8. Merry Christmas to you Anne. Wish you all the best for 2012.

  9. Oh, dear, I'm late to the party again. My house has just emptied of relatives from the holidays.

    Hope your fermentation finished (is finishing?) and your research going well.

    Keep us posted on how it all turns out. We'll be waiting!

    Happy New Year, Thomas!

  10. Hoping you are not out of espresso. Waiting to hear if your wine is ready to bottle.
    I took too long a break from my blog and resolved to get back on track: http://vignette-rockinrobin.blogspot.com/ clearing out papers and photos at the same time. And what is the topic of your next book? And when is part 2 of the history chart going to be complete?

  11. Hey Robin,

    It's been a long time, and so nice to hear from you.

    Are you still handling the wine competition?

    I'm immersed in this new book and haven't felt the motivation to blog. Truth be told, after a number of years blogging, I lost faith in the effort. Maybe I'll find the desire soon.

    The book is a narrative nonfiction that traces the rise and fall of what once was the sixth largest domestic U.S. winery.

    As for the wines, bottling won't take place until after winter. That's the way I like it--got to get all the CO2 in solution out before bottling, and that's hard to do in cool weather.

  12. Do you mean Volume II of the map, Robin?

    Sales of Volume I weren't enough to keep that effort going. I mistakenly believed that people like those kinds of things--win some, lose some.

  13. How many do you have still?

    Feel free to put it in a PM.

  14. I don't know, but I'll take inventory later.

    We sold some, but not enough to make a profit and certainly not enough to create a second volume and lose even more money... ;)

  15. Hi Thomas-

    Saw a post of yours over on Fermentation....that's a crazy long fermentation to be sure. The only other folks I've heard that are willing to let natural yeast sit that long are our friends over at Alpha Omega