April brought with it a change in varietal focus for the BRI Research Winery, with Sauvignon Blanc arriving on the 1st of April, kindly supplied by Indevin.

Images: 1000L Pallecon transporting the Sauvignon Blanc (aka Ginormous bag in box)

The Sauvignon Blanc had already been pressed and floated at Indevin, so the team set out with a Pallecon on Monday April 1st to be filled with juice. Our portion of juice came from a greater volume that went to 3 x 5000L tanks, providing the commercial comparison for the trial. Having the grapes already pressed made the collection of the juice a quick process. The nerve wracking and slower part of the process was the journey home, while well within weight limits of the flat-deck truck it was still a tense ride back with such a big weight on board. With a major sigh of relief, we made it back without incident.

Image: Pinot Noir bin being prepared for transport back to the BRI Research Winery; LinLin Yang (Plant and Food Research) Standing with the bins ready for transport.

Lines were set-up and juice pumped direct from the Pallecon into our tanks to a set dip height, filling the 200L tanks to 160L, the 17L tanks to 16L and 7.5L into Plant and Food’s fermentation tubes. As the juice had already been clarified at the winery and with Indevin inoculating their tanks that night, we followed suit. Following the winemaking protocol set by Indevin, we inoculated the tanks with X5 yeast setting up a culture for each individual tank.

By Wednesday the 3rd of April a healthy yeast population had built up and we started to see the Brix levels drop in the juice. That night fermentation really kicked in. After the initial brix drop was seen we made a nutrient addition, following the same timing as Indevin. In contrast to the Pinot Noir, fermentation for Sauvignon Blanc occurs at much lower temperatures – in this case we are fermenting at 12 degrees.

Image: Sauvignon Blanc fermenting in a 17L tank

A big thanks to Indevin for supplying the Sauvignon Blanc that made these trials possible. We are just about half-way through fermentation now and the tanks are all smelling sweet and savvy!