As the summer progressed, rainfall in June and July created havoc for us. At the end of June, the year-to-date rainfall total was 21.13 inches, slightly higher than the average of 21.08 inches although June 2015 rainfall did crack the all time top ten. But if that was not bad enough, July’s rain made history mainly concentrated in central Indiana. Total rainfall in Montgomery County measured over 13 inches, passing the record set in 1875. While the amount was staggering it was exacerbated by the frequency of the rain. We had been spraying prophalactically earlier in the summer with good success. However, in order to stay ahead of a potential black rot occurrence, we needed to be spraying almost constantly. But when June and then July hit, there was not adequate time between rain episodes to be effective. That is, for a period of over 7 days, there was not a time period dry enough to spray or stayed dry enough to not wash off the spray. Black rot only needs 7-10 hours at 70°F to start. So black rot got the Marquette again and to a lesser extent the Chambourcin. At harvest, we estimated black rot cost us over a ton of Marquette and at least ½ ton of Chambourcin.
Marquette veraision started the week of July 17 and the nets went up on July 27. Chambourcin began the next week. We tried the reflector tape on the Chambourcin but decided to move the netting over when we took it off the Marquette. This did save some of the Chambourcin.
We harvested 1,064 pounds of Marquette on September 2, crushed on-site resulting in 85 gallons of must. The degrees brix was 24.5, pH 3.57 and titratable acidity, 0.88%. Titratable acidity or total acidity, refers to the test that yields the total of all acids xpresent, while strength of acidity is measured according to pH, with most wines having a pH between 2.9 and 3.9. Generally, the lower the pH, the higher the acidity in the wine. The recommended acidity range for dry red wines is 0.60-0.70%. Primary Marquette fermentation was started on 9/4/15 and SG was ~1.00 on 9/9 at pH 3.6, and TA 0.96%. After pressing the yield was 68.6 gallons of juice. Started malolactic fermentation (MLF) on 9/11/15 with ENOFERM Alpha and after racking the Marquette went into one 52 gallon American Oak barrel with medium toast on September 30.
The Chambourcin harvest was completed on September 19 with 1,725 pounds of grapes and ≥150 gallons of must. Brix was 21.2, pH 3.37 and TA 0.58%.
Pressing was done on September 29 and yielded ~108 gallons of juice. First racking was October 6 with 106.2 gallons remaining and started MLF that day. After the second racking, the 104 gallons was put into two 52 gallon American Oak barrels.
The alcohol by volume (ABV) of the Marquette and Chambourcin tested at 12.7% and 11.3% respectively. Both will remain in barrels until ready to bottle which is expected to be in the April-May, 2016 time frame.