2023 Chambourcin

October 2023

This morning I drove to a friend’s vineyard in Glade Springs VA, a 4 hour drive. She and her husband picked Chambourcin and Vidal yesterday, and we crushed 120+ pounds each of Chambourcin and Vidal for me, plus the remainder for them along with Chelois. We were done in about 1-1/2 hours.

Then I drove 4 hours home … my butt was whooped. But I had to carry the buckets downstairs, organize the batches, and make yeast starters.

Now I’m enjoying a glass of the 2022 Merlot/Tempranillo.

This wine is yet another experiment — I’m dividing the batch in half, using two totally different yeast strains on each. Post-fermentation I will blend the wines, but am keeping a sample of each for later comparison.


Fruit 128 lbs Chambourcin, divided into 2 batches
Maceration Enzyme 1-1/2 tsp ScottZyme Color Pro enzyme, divided
Yeast 2 tsp Renaissance Avante
2 tsp Renaissance Bravo
Starter 1/2 tsp Fermax + 3 Tbsp sugar for each yeast
K-meta as required
Nutrient 5 tsp Fermax (divided) per batch
Fermentation Oak 2 cups American oak chips per batch
Aging Oak 1-1/2 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes


Crushed the grapes and divided into two containers. Each container received 3/4 tsp Color Pro.

Made starters with 1 cup 92 F water, 2 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp Fermax, and 3 Tbsp sugar.

Didn’t bother checking brix or pH — that will be done tomorrow.

SG —
Checked pH — Batch #1 3.40, #2 3.24. No changes at this time.

Initial pH of both batches was 1.084; added 2 cups sugar to each batch. Added 3 tsp Fermax and  2 cups American oak chips to each batch.

Inoculated Batch #1 with Avante, Batch #2 with Bravo.

#1 SG 1.090
#2 SG 1.090
Punched down 4 times each yesterday — color is amazing.

SG didn’t drop as much as expected, so at the first punch down added 2 tsp Fermax to each instead of 1, as there may be more wine in each batch than I anticipated.

#1 SG 1.072
#2 SG 1.070
We pressed tonight, using rice hulls. Grossed about 11 gallons. The wine is segregated into Avante, Bravo, and mixed. The plan is to let the wines settle for a week, then rack. I will reserve 2 gallons of Avante and 2 gallons of Bravo, and blend the remainder. After the wine rests another month I’ll rack again to net 1 US gallon each of Avante and Bravo, for later comparison. 10/13/2023
SG 0.997
Racked the Avante and Bravo carboys, reserving 4 liters of each, and blending the remainder. Racked the third carboy (pressings from Avante and Bravo), adding to blend.

Added 1/4 tsp K-meta to each carboy during racking.

SG 0.997
Added 1-1/2 oz oak cubes to the carboy.

Racked all smaller containers, reserving 1.5 liters each of Avante and Bravo; all else blended and in 4 liter jugs.

SG 0.997


Yield ?? bottles
Alcohol ??.?% ABV
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