Wednesday night we were at 1 brix. I don’t have any idea why the fermentation went so fast…the must never got above 80 degrees, and the air temp was not too bad (plus, I was running the A/C the whole damn time!). I’m sure more insulation, and the new PVC strips that just came in will make a big difference for next year, especially in our electric bill. But still, it just doesn’t make sense to me why we were dropping 6+ brix per day.
Anyway, yesterday morning, I drove out and rented a #40 basket press and brought it back to the winery. Sam, Margaret, Zach, Jeff, and I pressed it. Only one of the 5 fermenters was REALLY stinky. We kept that wine separate.
Once the pressing was done, we added ML bacteria, then proceeded to splash rack everything to start getting rid of the H2S. The wine was still fermenting a little, so we’re not worried that we introduced too much oxygen.
The racking was very effective and afterwards the H2S was only noticeable in the 1 fermenter that started out *really* stinky.
After the racking, I returned the press. On my way back, I got the idea of picking up some copper pipe and running the wine through that to further reduce the stink. I don’t exactly know how this works, but I’ve heard people suggest treating H2S with copper, so I figured what the heck. Now that I’ve had more time to research this, it looks like the most common thing to do is to add copper sulphate.
I got a 2 ft section of copper pipe from Home Depot and clamped it to the end of our racking tube. We splash racked the stinky wine through the copper, which seems to have eliminated the smell. We did a blind tasting and Margaret (the official “nose”) couldn’t figure out which was the “stinky” and which was “not stinky”. Then, we racked it again into kegs.
By the way, here’s a great article about preventing and treating H2S.
After that, while Sam prepared the steaks and put them on the grill, we racked the rest of the wine through the copper into a 60 gal. barrel and had enough left over to fill a 15 gallon keg.
So, there it is. We have about 100 gallons of Cab now, which will probably go down to 85 or so once we rack off the gross lees in a few weeks!