Aging the Wine and Designing the Label

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Harvest was late this year due to a cooler summer that affected grape growth and had winemakers all over the country were wringing their hands worried about sugar levels. Harvest is the labor intensive time requiring many hours in the winery. Once that was done in late November, we were able to devote some energy to launching this blog.

Right now, the wine is undergoing Malolactic Fermentation. What this means is, we’re converting the malic acid in the wine to a lactic acid so the mouthfeel is more pleasant and not so harsh. To make that conversion happen, we inoculated it with ML bacterial cultures, a freeze dried powder.

To keep the cultures from falling to the bottom, one of us visits the winery twice a week to stir the wine. This is a critical time in the wine’s cycle because the sulphur dioxide (SO2) protection is not yet added. Sulphur dioxide protects the wine from spoiling but you can’t add it until after the malo fermentation, otherwise you’ll kill it.  So during this time, the exposure to oxygen has to be limited.

Once the malo is complete, we’ll add the SO2 and start it’s aging process. At that point, we’ll send samples off  to the laboratory for PH, alcohol level, and the free SO2 count. THe PH tells us where our SO2 levels need to be. The alcohol tells you how fast you”ll get drunk when you drink the wine. More importantly, we need it for legal purposes. And lastly, the free SO2 tells us how well the wine is protected.

In the meantime, I’m working on the legal stuff so we can start selling the wine.

The label design is underway: We already have a logo, and art commissioned and completed. What do you think? The image above includes elements we’d like to use in the label design. This past summer, Jon found this painting at a festival and called me right away. I came over to check it out and texted a photo over to Lisa in Chicago. We were in immediate agreement that it was perfect for what we were trying to communicate: a small, welcoming house. The local artist was very excited, needless to say.

We’d love your honest feedback and still have time to incorporate it into the design so don’t be shy.

The biggest deal is getting approval from the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) which involves a ton of paperwork.  I’ve procrastinated long enough. It’s time to get cracking.

As always, thanks for your comments and encouragement.

– Patrick