May in the cellar19 May 2020
“Vineyard and cellar – 1910” is a series of articles that we present to you throughout the year 2020, month by month. The articles are taken from the 1910 “Wine Trade Directory” and describe the various works necessary for the grapes and wine production at the beginning of the 20th century.
May in the cellar
In 1910 in May, work in the cellar was marked, with the ventilation of the cellars and the surveillance and treatment of the wines if necessary.
Here is what can be read in May in the Wine Trade Directory from 1910 :
Aeration of cellars – It is with the first spring aromas that germs of disease often appear in wines, secondary fermentations which cannot be avoided unless with great care. Above all, the cellars must be well ventilated and drafts established at night. The aeration and the temperature of the cellars must be regulated on the state of the wine, according to its age or its quality. It is essential to keep away from the cellar, cellars, cellars, all the materials likely to enter into elements of putrefaction, in fermentation and those also which emit a penetrating smell; otherwise unhealthy germs could get into the liquids and damage them.
It is good to have thermometers in cellars, cellars or shops in order to realize the prevailing temperature and to be able to modify it by sufficient ventilation in case it is higher than 12 °.
Wicking and heating of wines – If the movement of the wines increases, which one recognizes with the smell, with the tasting, with the whistling which occurs under certain circumstances when one draws out of the barrel, it is necessary to resort to means energetic and immediate remedies, so as to prevent deeper alterations from which irreparable losses could result. Pasteurization or heating and, if this is not possible, chewing are carried out immediately.
The heating, applied to wines affected by rotation, growth or any other advanced fermentation, will be carried out with well constructed devices, suitably cleaned and giving all safety. When wicking, do not limit yourself to burning a sulfur wick over the wine, in the vessel which contains it; be aware of the amount of wick to use so as not to give the content a pronounced sulfur taste or harm the color and not to exceed the accepted dose of 350 milligrams per liter.
Various treatments – As soon as a wine tarnishes and tastes warm, without waiting any longer, it will be racked out of the air in a drunk barrel; and spend a few nights outside, exposed to the cool. When a fermentation takes place in a full barrel, we will operate as we do in the same case for empty barrels: we overflow, or better we practice a falsetto hole to let escape the carbonic acid. When the effervescence is such that wine escapes, a few liters of liquid must be removed.
If a wine in bottles contracts a disease, it will be deposited to treat it in barrels; we will then re-bottle it.
Nowadays in May
Wine aeration and pasteurization operations are no longer so common. The cellars have fairly efficient ventilation and temperature control systems. Flash-pasteurization, on the other hand, can be implemented. Other processes such as sterile filtration are also used to stabilize or treat wines.
Regarding sulfur, or sulfur dioxide (SO2) used to stabilize wines microbiologically and protect them from oxidation, the maximum doses allowed are lower today. For a red wine the limit is 150 milligrams per liter and it is 200 milligrams per liter for whites and rosés. Technical knowledge on the microbiology of grapes and wine has made it possible to set up several alternative techniques making it possible to reduce the doses of sulfur used. We can cite for example the use of dry ice or cold in general on grapes and musts before fermentation or the sterile filtration previously mentioned.