The drama of the Vat #1
When concerning to wine, cuba in Portuguese means vat. Our fermentation vat #1 received the very first grapes of the harvest, which started one week ago, on September 2nd. At the middle of the second day of harvest, the vat #1 was already fermenting. Those were great news, since we had a lot of expectation on those grapes. The color was extraordinary and unexpected intense and at that time, we thought a great Port could come out of those berries. On the two following days the fermentation went pretty well, with temperatures around 29º C (84º F) and with extended skin contact allowing the wine to extract more phenolic compounds. It was a very well behaved Cuba. But only until Saturday morning, when we realized that the yeasts (the micro-organisms which are responsible for the fermentation, this is the conversion of the sugar of the grapes into alcohol) were dramatically reducing their activity and reproduction and the fermentation had almost stopped. This is a BIG nightmare for any winemaker, specially if you still have around 50% of the sugar to ferment and transform in alcohol. We can’t make any good Port out of a must with 10% sugar!
I have been spending some hours with my sister thinking about what to do with this must. There are some possibilities:
1. Blend some fresh juice to renovate the yeast;
2. add selected yeasts to take control (carry on with the fermentation);
3. feed the yeasts that were still in the vat;
4. or simply leave it like it is.
Well, we decided for the last one, we’ll wait and see how it evolves during the next days!