Saturday, April 29, 2017

Welcome to Chateau "Eagles' Nest" @ 3,200' Elevation!

We sell Vinmetrica™ Test Equipment and Blichmann Engineering™ Specialty Fermentation Equipment Sales, Services, Consultation, and "Sustainable" Energy Systems for the Home-Winery-Vineyard-Cidery-Orchard, from Beginners to Experts.
In order to make better wine or cider, you need accurate information and the ability to measure and and adjust it at your winery or cider site. Using the sophisticated, yet economically priced, Vinmetrica SC-300 Wine Analyzer and optional accessories has vastly improved my winemaking skills!
The SC-300 is the #1 tool you will need to use monthly, if not more, to assure Premium Quality Red or White Wines or Ciders, from Crush to Finish, At and After Bottling Time.

We sell and use Blichmann Engineering "Wine Easy™" and "Fermenator™" Conical Stainless Steel Tank Systems for Fermenting, Pressing, Variable Volume Aging, Racking and Degassing, and other Custom Stainless Steel Products for Optimum and Consistent Wine Quality at Chateau "Eagles' Nest".  
Scroll down past Vinmetrica™ Products for the Blichmann™ Product Listings.

Scroll down to my "Current and Past Vintage Grape Wines" to see the National and International  Home Winemaker Competition award winning wines I make, and the data  obtained with my Vinmetrica™ SC-300 and accessories.

National and International Premium Wine Grapes Seasonally for Sale Here!:
We sell Chilean red and white vinifera wine grapes in the spring, our own cold hardy red hybrid Regent and Marquette grapes in the summer, and California red and white vinifera wine grapes in the fall. Crush and Destem services are also available.
Scroll down to see the cold hardy wine grapes we are growing, and wines we make at 3,200' elevation!

Vinmetrica™ Wine Testing Equipment:
The SC-300 and SC-55 currently provides NINE Essential Wine Chemistry Parameters: 
Red & White Wine & Must Tests are now NO PROBLEM!  
1-2: SO2: Accuracy: +/- 2ppm FREE SO2 or (TOTAL SO2 test with optional 1N NaOH Reagent). Sensitivity < 2 ppm FREE or TOTAL SO2. Either test in a 25 mL sample.
Test time ~2 minutes for FREE SO2 and ~12 minutes for TOTAL SO2. 
3-: pH: Accuracy: better than 0.02 pH units. Range 1.0-13. Autocalibrate on pH 3.00, 4.01, 7.00, 10.00 in a 5 mL Sample, or directly immerse electrode in Carboy or Barrel.
Test time less than 2 minutes.
4-: TA: Accuracy: +/- 0.2 g/L Tartaric Acid. Sensitivity: Down to 0.2 g/L Tartatic Acid in a 5 mL Sample.
Test time less than 2 minutes.
5-: Malic Acid: Sensitivity: down to 0.2 g/L. Preset Audio-Visual Indicator at  >0.1 g/L or 100.1142303 ppm.  Detection limit is below 0.04 g/L. Use at 66-73°F (19-23°C).
Test time ~30 minutes in a 3 mL sample. (See item #5 below).
6-: Residual Sugar: Readings to 300 mg/L +/- 10% of the value of residual sugar in your wine. (See item #10 below).
Test time ~120 minutes.
7-: Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Accuracy to +/- 2% of reading or saturation( whichever is greater) Resolution to 0.03 mg/L dissolved oxygen.
8-: YAN Test Kit: Measures down to 20mg/L of available nitrogen with accuracy of 10 mg/L of available nitrogen. For SC200 and SC300 meters. Cost per test ~$1.28 Test per Kit: 25.
9-: ABV% Kit: Accuracy to 0.3%, Sensitivity below 1% ABV, Cost per test ~$3. Tests per Kit: 25

Read this comparison of SO2 Testers performed in 2014 by Daniel Pambianchi:

Use the Newest SO2 Calculator tool link from Daniel and Winemaker Magazine.
Version 3.0 of the Sulfite Calculator: now allows winemakers to enter the wine's alcohol content and temperature, as well as an adjustment factor to compensate for binding, in determining the amount of free sulfur dioxide (SO2) required to protect a wine.

Vinmetrica™ Equipment-Pricing-Descriptions:                         

1- SC-300:   Wine Analyzer Pro Kit:  $595.00 + shipping.
Includes everything found in the SC-300 Kit (see SC-300 below): plus the 20" Lab Support Stand, Double Electrode Holder with Burette guide, Double Burette Clamp, Single 10 mL Glass Burette with teflon stopcock, Small Tube of Burette Detergent, 25 mL Pipette, 2-speed Magnetic Stirrer and Bar, with 6 LED Lights + Batteries.

               (In Stock)


2- SC-300:   SO2 & pH/TA Analyzer Kit:  $485.00 + shipping. 
Includes everything to perform ~ 50 (FREE-SO2 only) Sulfite tests and 30 TA tests: both electrodes, pH/TA electrode storage solution, all reagents, pipettes, 0.2 mL syringes and beakers. Run Free-SO2 & pH/TA assays accurately and quickly.
(For TOTAL-SO2 Testing, purchase 1N NaOH Reagent...see #8 below)
(For Malic Acid Testing, purchase SC-50...see #5 below)
(For Residual Sugar Testing, purchase #10 below)

             (In Stock)


3- SC-100A:   SO2 Analyzer Kit:  $285.00 + shipping.
Includes everything to perform ~ 50 (FREE-SO2 only) Sulfite tests: electrode, reagents, pipettes, syringe and beaker. Run sulfite assays accurately and quickly.
(For TOTAL-SO2 Testing, purchase 1N NaOH Reagent...see #8 below)

                  (In Stock)

4- SC-200:  pH/TA Analyzer Kit:  $275.00 + shipping.
Includes everything to perform ~ 30 pH/TA tests: electrode with storage solution,
reagents, pipettes, syringe and beaker. Run pH/TA assays accurately and quickly.

(Special Order Only)

5- SC-50: Malic Acid Analyzer Kit: $150.00 + shipping.
Includes everything to perform 5 malic acid concentration tests: Includes all vials, pipettes, a conical tube, beaker, reagent and storage case.
For Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) "End-Point" Determination measuring Malic Acid level. Preset Audio-Visual indicator above >0.1 g/L or 100.1142303 ppm in ~ 30 minutes. 
Detection limit is below 0.04g/L. Use at 66-73°F (19-23°C).
Affordable-Easy to use!
Works as a stand-alone instrument.
Additional test chemicals and supplies can be purchased at any time. 
"We tested the SC-50 Beta Malic Acid Analyzer for several months as well as the final production unit with four premium quality wines. It takes the guesswork out of MLF "End-Point" Determination and my wines are much smoother now in just months before adjusting the SO2 levels!"

(In Stock)

Read this Article on Manometric Determination of I(-) Malic Acid in Grape Musts and Wine

Read this Vinmetrica SC-50 MLF Comparison with Other Methods

6- Deluxe Lab Accessory Kit:  $165.00 + shipping.
20" Lab Support Stand, Double Electrode Holder with Burette Guide, Double Burette Clamp, Single 10 or 25 mL glass Burette with teflon stopcock, Small Tube of Burette Detergent, 25 mL Sample Tube, 2-speed Magnetic stirrer and Bar, with 6 LED Lights + Batteries.

                (In Stock)

6B- Optional Second 10 or 25 mL Glass Burette:  $45.00 + shipping.

(NOTE: 25 mL Burette displays 0.10 mL Gradations)
0.05 mL Gradations on 10 mL Burette increases accuracy for measuring SO2 and 
TA Titrations. 
Greaseless Teflon Stopcock and 2 grams of Burette Detergent included. 
Add to the Double Burette Clamp on the Deluxe Accessory Kit above to double SO2 or TA Titrations, or one Burette for each when performing many Titrations.

       (10 mL In Stock)

Lab Support Stand, Dual Burette Clamp, & Dual 10 mL Burettes shown below.

(Display picture below)

6C- Vinmetrica Double Electrode Holder with Burette Guide:  $28.50 + shipping.
 Thumb set screw for positioning electrode height.  Electrodes lock into sockets.  
 Add a second electrode holder for increased lab functionality.

             (In Stock)


6D- Magnetic Stirrer and Bar with 25 mL Sample Cylinder:  $45.00 + shipping.
4 AA  batteries included. Two speed with 6 leds on low speed.


             (In Stock)

7- SC-100 & SC-300  (FREE-SO2 TEST) Reagent Kit:  $46.00 + shipping.
Includes Acid Solution, Reactant, and FREE-SO2 Testing Titrant. Replenishes the SO2 reagents supplied with the SC-100A, and SC-300 Analyzer kits.
Sufficient for ~ 50 tests.

               (In Stock)

8- 1N NaOH - 100 mL  (TOTAL-SO2 TEST) Reagent: $15.00 + shipping.
For determination of Total SO2 (not included in SC-100A or SC-300 Analyzer kits).
Sufficient for ~ 12 tests.


              (In Stock)

9- SC-200 & SC-300  pH/TA Reagent Test Kit: $41.00 + shipping.
Includes pH 4 and 7 reference solutions and the TA titrant (o.133N NAOH). Replenishes the pH/TA reagents provided with the SC-200 and SC-300.
Sufficient for ~ 30 tests.

             (In Stock)

10- Residual Sugar Reagent Kit + Labware Set: $150.00 + shipping.
The Vinmetrica Residual Sugar Reagent Kit gives accurate and reliable residual sugar (glucose + fructose) concentration levels in both red and white wines as well as other samples. Enough for 22 assays.

            (Special Order Only)

11- YAN Test Kit: $32.00 + shipping. (Coming April 2017)
Measures down to 20mg/L of available nitrogen with accuracy of 10 mg/L of available nitrogen. For SC200 and SC300 meters. Enough for 25 tests.
Testing for YAN just prior to primary inoculation will allow you to make needed adjustments for a successful fermentation. Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen (YAN) is the combination of amino acids, ammonium ions, and small peptides.
Wines with HIGH YAN concentrations typically have increased formation of ethyl acetate, acetic acid and volatile acidity (VA)...
Winds with LOW YAN concentrations are more susceptible to a sluggish fermentation as well as  production of sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide.

12- ABV% (Alcohol by Volume) Kit: $159-235.00 + Shipping. (Coming April 2017)
Pricing is for without or with labware.

Accuracy to 0.3%, Sensitivity below 1% ABV, Cost per test ~$3. Tests per Kit: 25

13- SO2 Electrode: $55.00 + Shipping.
Replacement SO2 probe for the SC-100, SC-100A & SC300 So2 Analyzers.  Simply rinse with deionized (distilled) water when done with measuring SO2 and let it air dry. The SO2 Electrode does not need to be stored in any solution and should last for a long time but be careful not to bend the wires at the end of the electrode. 
(Protective Electrode Storage Cover included).

            (Limited Stock)

14- pH/TA Electrode: $70.00 + shipping.
Replacement pH/TA Electrode for the SC-200 and the SC-300 Analyzers. 
The pH Electrode must be properly stored to prevent damage.
*NOTE* Three different  pH/TA Electrodes are used for specific year units!
(Protective Electrode Storage Cover with Storage Solution included)                                                                                           

             (Limited Stock)

15- Dissolved Oxygen Probe-System: $160.00 + shipping.
A great addition to your SC-200 or SC-300 Analyzer.
Designed to give accurate reading of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) using the pH function on your Vinmetrica equipment.
Replaceable membrane.

  (In Stock)

VINMETRICA EQUIPMENT WARRANTY: 2 Years from date of purchase (proof of purchase required) on Instruments, 1 Year on Electrodes and 6 months on Reagents.
NOTE: Chemical Storage of Acids and Reagents used with Vinmetrica Analyzers for all wine tests require proper instructed refrigeration or freezer temperatures for maximum lifespan.  
Read and Follow Chemical Storage information when not in use!

For a custom quote with shipping on any products Contact me at:

For questions about Vinmetrica Equipment or a custom quote please contact us at  828-669-1125.
Vinmetrica Equipment Technical Support to Our Customers FREE of Charge!

Laboratory Wine-Must-Grape Tests          
Brix (up to 6 tests)- $17.00                               Malic Acid (per test)- $25.00          
pH Analysis (up to 6 tests)- $10.00                 Residual Sugar (per test)- $35.00
TA Titratable Acidity (per test)- $14.00           Alcohol by Volume (per test)- $35.00
pH and TA Analysis- $21.00                             Yeast and Bateria ID- coming soon
SO2 (FREE)- $15.00                                          Wine Vacuum Degassing- Call
SO2 (TOTAL)- $16.00                                        Dissolved Oxygen- coming soon
SO2 (FREE and TOTAL)- $28.00                      ?           

5 or more tests = 10% discount.
You supply and send 100 mL minimum wine samples in appropriate containers.
We can send our 100 mL wine sample containers to you to fill and send for extra cost.
Test reports with recommendations are sent by email after payment.

Grape Crush & Destemming Services 20¢/lb. - Call (will travel)
Grape Must Vacuum Pressing- Call (will travel)
Grape Must Vacuum Racking- Call (will travel)

Consultation-Training, Equipment-Installation, Repair or Upgrades of Winery and Sustainable Systems @ $75/hr.

Blichmann Engineering™ Equipment-Pricing-Descriptions: 
Exclusive Specialty Stainless Steel Weld-Free Tanks and Products
 "Wine Easy" Overview Video
"Wine Easy" Operational Video
"Wine Easy" Assembly Video

Daniel Pambianchi Review Part 1 of the "Wine Easy" System                                    Daniel Pambianchi Review Part 2 of the "Wine Easy" System

"Wine Easy"-"Fermenator"-"Vacuum Pump" in ACTION @ "Eagles' Nest"
Vacuum Transferring of Wines-Degassing Part 2 @ "Eagles' Nest"

At the heart of the system is a high-quality, stainless primary/secondary fermentor (20, 30 and 55 gal sizes). A uniquely designed false bottom located at the bottom of the fermentor allows pressing and the  pomace to be separated from the wine all under a vacuum. The tines on the stainless steel pressure plate support the bottom of the fermentor and perforated stainless false bottom and keep it from collapsing from the pressure imparted by the vacuum pump while pressing the fermented crushed grapes.
After alcoholic fermentation, the free run is drained or pumped out of the fermentor. The sliding piston assembly is then installed. The vacuum pump evacuates the carboy (or other vacuum capable vessel) before filling at press time and applies a vacuum under the false bottom of the WineEasy™ fermentor. This causes atmospheric pressure to push down on the sliding piston, pressing the pomace to the ideal maximum pressure of 14 PSI to avoid hard-press conditions. Because all of this is done without transferring the pomace to a press — and in a completely closed, air-tight system — oxidation, contamination, and mess are virtually eliminated!
Cleanup is as easy as scooping out the dry pomace into a container and washing out the high-polish stainless steel fermentor and components.
With the optional "Wine Easy™" Press Piston Kit the Fermentor Tank may also be used for Variable Volume Bulk Wine Storage/Aging, and Direct Bottle Filling!
"Wine Easy™" Fermentation-Press-Bulk Aging Stainless Steel Tank Systems
"Easy" as 1-2-3!
Step 1: Choose-Purchase Fermentation Vat Tank(s) Size(s) for your needs.
Step 2: Purchase Press Piston Kit to Match Fermentor Tank. Only one Press Piston needed for multiple tanks of same size!
Step 3: Purchase One Vacuum Pump Press Kit for ALL Size Systems!

Gross Volume         Max Must Volume      Max Must        Gross Finished Wine 
(Gallon)                    (Gallon)                       (lb/Kg)            (Gallon)
20 Gallon                  15                                150/68             10  $550.00 + shipping.
30 Gallon                  23                                230/104           15  $650.00 + shipping.
55 Gallon                  42                                420/190           27  $850.00 + shipping.
(Wine and Must Volumes listed above are approximations due to varietal differences)
Each tank includes handles, 8"ring stand, tri-clamp bottom valve assembly, false-bottom assembly, and a tight-fitting lid with handle. All Stainless Steel Components.

(Picture above displays a fermentation tank with handles, ring stand, tri-clamp bottom valve assembly with straight 1/2" hose barb fitting, and tight-fitting lid with handle)
(Picture above displays a Tank, Press Piston, Vacuum Pump, Hoses, and Carboy)

"Wine Easy™" Leg Extensions for the 20 or 30 Gallon Tanks: $100.00 + shipping.
(Not Available for the 55 Gallon Size Tank..use blocks)
Lifts bottom of tank on ring stand from 8" to 21" for 13" extension to allow "Free Run" into Carboy without vacuum pump. With optional 1/2" x 90° tri-clamp barbed fitting on outlet, direct bottle filling is "Easy" when using the "Wine Easy™" tank for bulk wine aging!

(Picture above displays Stainless Steel Leg Extensions)

"Wine Easy™" Press Piston Kits:
20 Gallon Press Piston Kit:  $210 + shipping.
30 Gallon Press Piston Kit:  $235 + shipping.
55 Gallon Press Piston Kit:  $265 + shipping.
Presses the must off the pomace in the fermentation tank and exits the outlet valve into a carboy or another tank, "UNDER A VACUUM" allowing for a full extraction, minimizing microbial contamination compared to conventional basket or bladder press methods. Can also be used with a #7 fermentation bung with airlock or add gas for secondary and variable volume bulk aging.
Black Silicone Wiper-Seal assures air-tight fit to inside of tank at any liquid level height!

(Picture above is a Press Piston with Black Silicone Wiper-Seal and #7 Stopper Hole)

(Press Piston Kits Above are for use with the Vacuum Pump Press Kit Below)

"Wine Easy™" Vacuum Pump PRESS Kit: $225.00 + shipping.
Includes 120 VAC  1/6 hp vacuum pump, pressure gauge, 5' x 1/4" OD hard plastic vacuum tube,  6" x 1/4" stainless vacuum or vent tube, 1/2" stainless steel racking cane for up to 6.5 gallon carboy height with cone stand-off spring, 6' of 1/2" ID vinyl hose and clamps, 1/2" barbed tri-clamp fitting, check valve assembly with spare parts, #7 two hole silicone stopper, #00 tan stopper plug, #7 solid silicone bung.  
Works with ALL Wine Easy™ Tanks with Press Pistons! Press, Rack, and Degas!
"Wine Easy™" Vacuum Pump DEGAS ONLY Kit: $200.00 + shipping.
Degassing of CO2 takes ~ 30 minutes @ ~75-80°F and longer at lower temperatures.

(Picture above displays the Vacuum Pump Press Kit with included Components)

Blichmann Engineering "Fermenator™" Conical Stainless Steel Tank Systems
Works with Beer or Winemaking and No Racking Needed!
New! Modular extensions to the Fermenator line increases capacity of your 14.5 gallon to 25 gallons gross, your 27 gallon to 60 gallons gross, and your 42 gallon conical to 63 or 80 gallon gross! 

      (From left to right; 27 gallon, 14.5 gal (with leg extensions), 7 gal.)
(Picture above displays a 42 Gallon Fermenator)

The Blichmann Engineering "Fermenator™" is the ultimate in home fermentation. This stainless steel conical fermentor features a weld-free interior, a dump valve for removing yeast and sediment, and a rotating racking arm for transferring. After your primary fermentation is complete you can simply remove the yeast from the conical section using the dump valve and go straight into secondary fermentation without transferring. The lid has a removable soda keg-style hatch that is pressure capable, allowing you to easily transfer using CO2 to minimize air exposure. The Tri-Clamp model of Fermenator features tri-clamp fittings on the dump and racking valves. Known as "sanitary fittings" in the industry, they have a no threads and are easy to disassemble and clean/sanitize.

Pressurizeable for CO2, Nitrogen, or Argon Preserving!
Stainless Steel is the easiest material to sanitize!
Won't Shatter like Glass Carboys!
Large open top makes scouring and sanitizing extremely fast and easy!

"Fermenator™" Conical Tanks with Tri-Clamp Fittings:
(All Fermanator tanks are also available with npt valve fittings at reduced cost).
7 Gallon: $824.99 + shipping.
14.5 Gallon: $869.99 + shipping       26 Gallon Extension: $274.99 + shipping.
27 Gallon: $1,089.99 + shipping       42 Gallon Extension: $509.99 + shipping.
42 Gallon: $1,549.99 + shipping       63 or 80 Gallon Extension: $599.99 + shipping.
Tri-Clamp Fermentation Safety Blowoff Assembly:  $119.99 + shipping.
(Picture above displays a Fermenator Tank Extension)
NOTE-The optional extensions are rolled and welded construction, but are 100% US made and welded and ground on precision robotic machinery!

Fermenator Leg Extensions-Call
Fermenator Castors-Call

Blichmann Beer & Wine Gun:  $75.00 + shipping.
You worked hard making a perfect preserve it on the last step of bottling!
One handed operation - just pull one trigger to purge with CO2 and one trigger to fill!
Allows filling all size wine or beer bottles and  injecting CO2 to purge air before and at the end of filling for the ultimate preservation.  
May also be used to purge air and add CO2 to car boys, barrels and any other bulk storage vessels with head space issues.
Includes 10' of 3/16" ID clear fill hose and double ended cleaning brush.
Works with gravity filling also with enough height difference!

(Picture above displays a Beer/Wine Gun)
Blichmann Beer & Wine Gun Video

Beer & Wine Gun Accessory Kit:  $25.00 + shipping.
Includes 5 foot hose with 1/4" stainless flare connectors on each end for CO2, one stainless 1/4" swivel nut, brass NPT x 1/4" flare adapter.
(NOTE: Additional fittings may be needed for your specific system requirements)

Floor Burner All Stainless (propane gas): $150.00 + shipping.
Floor Burner Leg Extension 24":  $39.99 + shipping.
Natural Gas Conversion Kit: $16.99 + shipping.
(Natural Gas reduces output and heating time  ~15%)

(Picture above displays 72,000 BTU Propane Floor Burner with Regulator Valve)
Floor Burner Instructional Assembly Video

WARRANTY: 1 Year from date of purchase (proof of purchase required) on products to be free of defects in materials and workmanship.
For questions about Blichmann Equipment or a custom quote please contact us!
Blichmann Equipment Technical Support to Our Customers FREE of Charge!

To see my bio, recent activities, and pictures, please scroll down on this page or contact me at: click here for my email link
Thomas Daniel Mincarelli
P.O. Box 1118
Black Mountain,  North Carolina USA 28711

@ Eagles' Nest Black Mountain North Carolina USA @ 3,200' Elevation:
  • Micro-Home-Winery-Vineyard Tour and Discussion-Beginner or Advanced Tours by appointment
  • Vinmetrica & Blichmann Equipment Retail Showroom (See Leading Edge Technologies) Store Hours by appointment
  • Wine Tasting-Evaluating Beginner or Advanced Classes & Discussions by appointment
  • Wine Making Beginner or Advanced Experience Classes by appointment
  • Wine Grape Vineyard Tour and/or Volunteer Work:-Cold Hardy Steep Elevation Grapes and Vineyard Techniques by appointment
  • How to Build a Maximum Energy Efficient "Wine Cave-Cellar" including Heating-Cooling-Humidity Controls and Plans by appointment
  • How to Design and Implement an Efficient Micro Wine-Cider Testing Lab by appointment
  • Sustainable Energy Systems: Solar-Wind-Battery Power-AC&DC-Water Pumping-Storage-Conditioning-Passive and Active Solar Design Tour and Discussion in the Home-Winery-Vineyard by appointment
  • Broad River Vignerons Meet-ups to be announced!                                                      

August 22, 2016: "Asheville Wine and Food Festival Judging and Competition Non Commercial Wines"

October 26, 2015: "North Carolina State Fair Judging and Competition for Home Made and Commercial Wines"

August 22, 2015: "Asheville Wine and Food Festival Judging and Competition for Home Made and Commercial Wines"
The Results: AWFF 2015 Results
Eagles' Nest 2015 Entries: (See NON-Commercial Wine Entries)
2013- 80% Paso Robles Syrah x 20% Petite Sirah: Double Blue Ribbon
2013-50% Lodi Merlot x 50% Cabernet Sauvignon: Blue Ribbon
2014-100% Old Vine Zinfandel: Red Ribbon
2013-100% Lodi Merlot : Red Ribbon
2012-100% Lodi Grenache: Red Ribbon

May 31, 2015: Results of the 2015 Judging will be posted at: 2015 Home Winemaker Competition RESULTS
Eagles' Nest 2015 Entries:
2013- 100% Lodi Merlot: Silver Ribbon (page 8)
2013- 50% Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon x 50% Lodi Merlot: Silver Ribbon (page 9)
2013- 80% Paso Robles Syrah x 20% Paso Robles Petite Sirah: Silver Ribbon (page 12)

August 23, 2014: "Asheville Wine and Food Home Winemaker Competition" 
  Asheville, North Carolina.    Asheville Wine and Food link
  Eagles' Nest Wine Entries:
  The Results:  Home Winemaker Competition

August 23, 2013: "Asheville Wine and Food Home Winemaker Competition" 
  Asheville, North Carolina.    Asheville Wine and Food link
  Thomas Daniel Mincarelli served as the event "Chief Wine Judge" and "Wine 
  Evaluation Coordinator".


I am Thomas Daniel Mincarelli, the Owner and Operator of "Eagles' Nest", the ONLY 100% "Sustainable" Powered (Solar and Wind),  Micro-Home-Winery & Vineyard near Black Mountain, North Carolina USA @ 3,200' Elevation.

1986: I began a career in "Sustainability" and the various systems available , and launched my own company  Renaissance-Works, Inc.    that I still own and operate involving  Sustainable Energy Systems that I now combine with Home, Business, Winery & Vineyard, Cidery & Orchard, Farm and Government needs. 
The company was incorporated in May 11, 1998.

I was inspired to winemaking when a friend Billy G said "come see what I have in my basement!".  When I saw his set-up and drank some of the wine, I said "I want to do that!".  Memories of my grandfather and stories of his basement from Italy and his winemaking awakened.

I was already growing Concord, Niagara and Norton grapes for table enjoyment before my start in home winemaking.

2010: I made some Lodi California Merlot wine that was finished in a new 15 gallon American Oak barrel for enhanced flavors and aromas (structure).

2011: I continued to work with more Lodi California Merlot varietal grapes.

2012: I designed and built a small-efficient 4'x4'x8' "wine cave-cellar" in my semi-below-grade garage, for better bulk aging and preservation conditions of wines. The oak barrels are on furniture dollies and are easily and safely moved in or out of the wine cave. Carboys are safely moved in or out on plant dollies.
The system is pictured in the photo gallery below.

I started a "test" micro-vineyard on the steep south facing slope at the "Eagles' Nest" with Regent and Marquette and Chardonnay vines.

I entered some home winemaking competitions, and won four awards for my wines from Laurel Springs to Asheville, North Carolina.

New California wine grape varietals were purchased and the start of "blends" in wines.
See "Past Vintage Grapes"as well as "Present Vintage Grapes" below.

2013: the "Eagles' Nest" now has 5 Oak barrels of American and French Oak and from 5 to 15 gallon sizes, and wines from California to Chile aging.

New California Grapes Varietals were purchased and more blends have evolved!

2014: Blichmann™ 14.5 Gallon Fermenator and the 20 and 30 gallon Wine Easy™ Stainless Steel Tanks were added with the optional Leg Extensions, Press Piston Kits, and Vacuum Pump for Pressing and Degassing of wines. The Wine Easy™ Tanks will allow for Fermenting, Pressing, Variable Volume Aging, and Bottling to take place.  Stainless Steel Tanks replace the many Glass Car Boys and number of tests/adjustments needed, or air exposure issues with conventional fermentation locks for a Wines Safe  Management, Saving Time and Expense!
We are now using CO2 and the Beer & Wine Gun for purging of air in all storage and aging vessels, and filling bottles for ultimate preservation!

Chilean Wine Grapes were purchased in May adding International notes to my wines!
California Wine Grapes were purchased in October for the 5th year! 

Another 15 gallon American Oak barrel was added to the Wine Cave-Cellar!
Our first 
Our first 4-Way California Blend in American Oak Barrel:  58% Merlot x 14% Syrah x 14% Petite Sirah x 14% Old Vine Zinfandel.

1- Additional planting of Regent and Marquette grape vines.
2- Purchased a Fratelli Marchisio all Stain(s)less Steel "Family" Crusher/Destemmer  (~3,000 lbs./hr. capacity) with rubber rollers from Italy this year.
3- Completed installation of 12,000 Volt AC electric fencing around the vineyard and entire mountain far it's working!
4- Purchased a heavy duty bird netting system for the 2016 crop. Netting rolls are 5' & 7' x 100' lengths.  Testing the 7' netting on the Niagara vine this year.
5- I installed a new larger and more efficient wind generator to our 100% Solar and Wind electrical generating system.  It's a PIKA T701 1.5 KWhr 380 Volt DC "Tesla Ready" generator that is making more clean-green power!

Our First "International Blend": Chile: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon x 40% Malbec x California:  20% Primitivo

In the Vineyard: Our first harvest!!! Marquette grapes produced. Regent Grapes developed Powdery Mildew.
Persistent drought followed by November wild forest fires that were as close as 12 miles away!
We added an emergency fire fighting water pumping and sprinkler system to our 1,200 gallon water tank while enduring 20+ days of smoke at the Eagles' Nest.

In the Winery: Oak Barrels: Still using American and have added French and Hungarian Oak barrels.
The art of Pairing Specific Oak to each Specific Wine will take the complexity and enjoyment to yet higher levels.
Our first 3-way Chilean Blend in American Oak: 33.3% Cabernet Sauvignon x 33.3% Malbec x 33.3% Syrah.
Our first 5-Way California Blend in French Oak Barrel: 40.5% Syrah x 40.5% Petite Sirah x 10% Primitivo x 4.5% Merlot x 4.5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Primtivo in Hungarian Oak Barrel.

In the Vineyard: January 1 starts the manual weeding of all vines. I never use herbicides for weeds.
March 20-2017: Second pre-pruning of the Regent vines.
March 21, 2017: First 

In the Winery: We are now using three types of Oak barrels: American, Hungarian, and French.

I do not use conventional wet transfer pumps or filters when developing "Eagles' Nest" wines, and all processing is extremely handcrafted....slowly and carefully!


                                                                                                                                                                             October 20, 2012  
Thomas Daniel Mincarelli at a Grape Crusher-Destemmer Machine
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 

2nd Place for Dry Red Wines at Grape Stompers Home Winemaker Competition
Laurel Springs, N.C.   (May 27, 2012)
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
2010 Lodi Merlot (100%)
Merlot is the "Heart of Wines"

Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
Tom Burgiss (left)  & Tom Mincarelli (right)!

1 Silver & 2 Bronze Awards for Dry Red Wines  Asheville Wine & Food Festival
Asheville, N.C.  (August 25, 2012)
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
2010 Lodi Merlot, 2011 Lodi Merlot, 2012 Chilean Melenge
All wines had malolactic fermentation and were finished in Oak Barrels
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
The "Eagles' Nest" Wine Cave-Cellar  4'H x 4'W x 8'L 
Insulation is 2" styrofoam (~R10) with 1.5" tongue and groove western cedar covering (~R2.25)
Oak barrels are on furniture dollies for easy one-person moving
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
2011 Lodi Merlot  in two 15 gallon American Barrels (left front)
2012 Chilean Melenge (Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot) in a 13.2 gallon French Oak Barrel (left back)
Chilean Wines also in various sized glass Carboys
Chilled Water Bottles on concrete floor for summer temperature & humidity control

Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 

Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights Reserved. 
"Eagles' Nest" Wines are Handcrafted at 3,200' Elevation
We never use Conventional Pumps or Filtration for our Premium Quality Wines
Wine "Diamonds" Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate is (KC4H506) It is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, a carboxylic acid and they are a Natural Indicator that the Wine Grapes Ripened Long and the Wine was Fermented Slowly and with Great Care!!!
In cooking it is known as cream of tartar, a fine white powder with many culinary applications

Some Winemaker Abbreviations that are used in my winemaker notes below:
Refractometer: (REF)
Hydrometer Specific Gravity Reading: (HSG)
Alcohol by Volume: (ABV)
Alcohol by Volume Potential: (ABVP)
Titratable Acid: (TA)
White Labs Malolactic Bacteria used for converting Malic Acid to Lactic Acid in wine to aid smoothing out the texture and taste: (WLP675) 
Crush and Destem: (C/D)
Malolactic Fermentation: (MLF)

Some Winemaker Definitions:
Crush and Destem: Old World Crush and Destem Technique:  Foot Stomping and Hand Removal.
New World Crush and DestemTechnique: Wood, Steel or Stain(s)less Steel Crusher/Destemmer machines that are hand or electric operated.
Cold Maceration: Pre-fermentation "cold soaking" of the crushed/destemmed grapes is a technique to extract color and flavor from the grapes skins. Extraction of color and flavor also occurs in Primary Fermentation.
Primary Fermentation: This stage occurs as soon as a yeast is pitched into the grapes to start the process of making alcohol and other processes. This stage of fermentation is extremely visible.
Cap: In the Primary Fermentation stage the heat and CO2 generated will lift the skins and pulps and stems to the surface of the wine.  This cap cuts off the oxygen needed to the fermentation process and the Cap needs to be punched or pumped down to mix back into the must...thus the term "Punch Down" or "Punching Down the Cap".
Secondary Fermentation: This stage occurs after Primary Fermentation and will last for a week or two.  This stage will produce the final % of alcohol that can be made from both fermentation stages.
Press: A wood or stainless steel device to extract juice from pressed grapes during winemaking. 
Must: Freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit. 
Pommace: The solid part of the leftover juice from pressing the wine out of the must and typically takes up to 7-23% of the total weight of the must.
Gross Lees: The early stages of sediment left in a wine after pressing the wine out of the must.  These particles can contain funky smells and needs to be watched before the second racking occurs. Gross lees can contain spoilage organisms, sulfur, or excess sulfur dioxide left over from the vineyard.
Fine Lees: After racking the Gross Lees the next layer of sediment in the bottom of the aging vessel is finer debris and yeast cells.
Battonage: Is the French word for lees stirring. It is the process of hand stirring of the gross lees after pressing the wine from the fermented grapes. Wood battons were used in the old days and the process was called Battonage. Battonage can be done in glass carboys, wood barrels or stain(s)less steel tanks.
Sur Lie Aging: Aging wine on the lees for a controlled period of time is done to pick up a particular flavor and texture from the yeast. This is done on the Fine Lees...not the Gross Lees.
Racking Wine: To transfer the early stages of wine into a secondary vessel to remove the dead yeast and sediment from the bottom of the wine. A winemaker may rack 2-5 times until the wind is clear enough to bottle.  Gross Lees and Fine Lees are removed when racking a wine. This may avoid using a mechanical filter which reduces color and flavor.
Pitch: To add anything to a wine...such as yeast to start a fermentation.
Flawed Wine: Wine flaws are minor variations from the true characheristics of a known grape varietal...but still drinkable
Faulted Wine: Wine faults are major variations from the true characteristics of a known grape varietal...but not drinkable.
Variety: A type of grape.
Varietal: A wine made from a single type of grape.
Blend: Any combination of more than one type of grape in a wine.
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF): A winemaking process where a winemaker chooses to convert some of the Malic Acid to softer tasting Lactic Acid in a red wine adding a quantity of  malolactic bacteria. The process does not increase the alcohol in a wine, however it does increase the CO2 which must be removed prior to bottling. The result is a more pleasing smooth and buttery effect on the flavor of the wine verses tart flavors from Malic Acid.

How much does a standard grape LUG weigh?: 
A Grape LUG is a crate made of wood or plastic that holds a specific weight of grapes. Chilean Lugs weigh ~18lbs. with grapes. California Lugs weigh ~36lbs. with grapes.


May????  Crush@ Eagles' Nest  (Chilean Grapes from Curico Valley)

October 10-9  Crush@ Eagles' Nest (California Grapes from Suisun Valley)

Merlot: (3 lug)
BRIX: 27° (REF)  (SG): 1.1150 (ABVP): 16.7%
pH: 3.71 TA: ????
Tartaric acid added: 4.8g
Pectic enzyme added 10-15-16
Two 5g sachets of Red Star Premier Cuve'e added to one lug on 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient and WLP675 added @ 1.000 SG on 10-19-16 pH: 3.47
10-20-16 SG: -1.000
Pressed on 10-22-16 into one 2.5 gallon carboy  pH: 3.71
Racked 10-28-16 into a 1 gallon cider jug, 1/2 gallon-cj,  and 750 mL bottle  pH: 3.60
Added .4 gram Tartaric Acid on 11-2-16

Cabernet Sauvignon: Clone #8 (3 lug)
BRIX: 28.5° (REF)  (SG): 1.1220 (ABVP): 17.9%
pH: 3.52  TA: ????
Tartaric acid added: .5g
Pectic enzyme added 10-15-16
Two 5g sachets of Red Star Premier Cuve'e added to one lug on10-15-16
NOTE: Fermentation started one day later verses all other varietals.
Yeast Nutrient added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient and WLP675 added @ 1.022 SG on 10-19-16 pH= 3.29
10-20-16 SG: -1.000
Pressed on 10-22-16 into one 2.5 gallon carboy  pH: 3.97
Racked on 10-28-16 into two 1 gallon cider jugs     pH: 3.86
Added 1.4 gram Tartaric Acid on 11-2-16

One lug of Merlot x One lug of Cab: Blended Tightly fits in a 6 gallon plastic bucket..7 gallon bucket would be better!
pH: 3.65  TA:????
Tartaric acid added: 3.42g
Pectic enzyme added 10-15-16
Two 5g sachets of Red Star Premier Cuve'e added to a 6 gallon bucket on 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient and WLP675 added @ 1.000 SG on 10-19-16 pH= 3.30
10-20-16 SG: -1.000
Pressed on 10-22-16 into one 3 gallon Carboy   pH: 3.76
Racked on 10-28-16 into a 3 gallon carboy,1 gallon cider jug, & 1/2 gallon cj pH: 3.68
Added 2.1 gram Tartaric acid on 11-2-16
11-7-16 pH: 3.67 SO2: 20 PPM Added .8 gram SO2 for a 59 ppm shock MLF ended
11-11-16 Beginning pH: 3.58  (Target= 3.45 pH)   Added 12 gram Tartaric Acid 
Final pH: 3.43
11-21-16 pH 3.55 added 3.8 gram Tartaric Acid new pH: 3.53
12-5-16 pH: 3.45 SO2: 34ppm Added .4grams KMS
All Merlot x Cabernet Sauvignon#8 blended on 12-30-16 in a 6 gallon Carboy and one 750 mL bottle (second rack)
1-12-17 pH: 3.62  SO2: 48PPM
1-19-17 pH: 3.72 SO2: 42ppm
1-25-17 pH: 3.53

Primitivo: (4 lugs) Fermented in a 20 gallon Blichmann WineEasy
BRIX: 27.5° (REF)  (SG): 1.1173 (ABVP): 17.1%
pH: 3.95 TA: 5.6
Tartaric acid added: 77g
Pectic enzyme added 10-15-16
Four 5g sachets of Red Star Premier Cuve'e added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient and WLP675 added @ 1.022 SG on 10-19-16 pH= 3.33
10-20-16 SG: +1.000
Pressed on 10-22-16 into one 7 gallon carboy and 2.5 gallons of a 3 gallon carboy = 9 gallons  pH: 3.96
Added 10.4 g Tartaric Acid to a 7 gallon carboy
Racked 10-28-16 into a 7 gallon carboy, single 750mL bottle,375 mL bottle pH: 3.80
Added Tartaric to all on 11-2-16
Racked into a 6 gallon carboy and 1,500 mL cider jug on 1-2-17
11-7-16 pH: 3.79 SO2: 24ppm Added 2.4 gram SO2 for a 77 ppm shock MLF ended
11-11-16 Beginning pH: 3.77 (Target=3.45 pH)  Added 85.2 grams Tartaric Acid 
Final pH: 3.46
11-21-16 pH 3.42
12-5-16 pH: 3.39 SO2: 30ppm Added .2gram KMS
1-13-17 pH: 3.60   SO2:42 ppm
1-13-17 Vacum Racked into a new Hungarian Oak Medium Toast 6 gallon/23 liter Barrel (for third rack)
1-19-17 pH: 3.56  SO2: 51ppm
1-25-17 pH: 3.39

Syrah: (Paso Robles) (3 lugs)
BRIX: 25° (REF)  (SG): 1.1057 (ABVP): 15.1%
pH: 3.52 TA: 5.56

Petite Sirah: (3 lugs)
BRIX: 27° (REF)  (SG): 1.1150(ABVP): 16.7%
pH: 3.52 TA: 5.4

All Syrah x Petite Sirah Blended: 6 lugs Fermented in a 30 gallon Blichmann WineEasy
pH: 4.33  TA: 7.40
Tartaric acid added: 95g
Pectic enzyme added 10-15-16
Six 5g sachets of Lalvin Bourgovin RC212 added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient added 10-15-16
Yeast Nutrient and WLP675 added @ 1.022 SG on 10-19-16 pH= 3.58
10-20-16 SG: 1.004
Pressed on 10-23-16 into two 7 gallon carboys yielded ~12 gallons  pH: 4.33
Racked into a 14.5 gallon Blichmann stain(s)less conical tank on 10-27-16  pH: 4.16
Added 36 grams Tartaric Acid on 11-1-2
11-7-16 pH 4.00  SO2: 16 ppm Added 10.5 grams SO2 for 125 ppm shock MLF ended
11-11-16 Beginning pH: 4.04  (Target=3.45 pH) Added 227.4 grams Tartaric Acid
Final pH: 3.45
11-21-16 pH 3.42
Final Blend (5-way) ~40.5% Syrah x ~40.5% Petite Sirah x ~10% Primitivo x 4.5% Merlot x 4.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
12-1-16 Filled a new French Oak 14.5 gallon (55L) Medium Toast on staves and not the head (Second Rack)
12-5-16 pH: 3.44 SO2:30 ppm Added 1.4 grams KMS
1-19-17 pH: 3.61 SO2: 32ppm
1-25-17 pH: 3.42

Cold Maceration: of all California grapes for 6 days @ ~45°F
White Lab Malolactic Bacteria (WLP675) added to all batches on 10-19-16 

Marquette:  (Our first harvest from our own grapes grown @3,200' elevation!)
Harvested on 8-16-8-19    (8-24-16 Hand Crushed with a potato smasher)
BRIX°: 18-21  pH: 3.2
Premium grapes hand picked and selected.  Filled 5 six gallon buckets with grapes on the clusters.
Hand selected all ripe grapes from uneven cluster ripening..took 10 hrs.!
Filled 2 six gallon buckets and pitched a packet of VR21 yeast in each bucket. (Added ~1 lb. of sugar to each bucket)
8-24-16 Dumped both buckets into a 20 gallon Blichmann Wineasy stain(s)less steel tank.
8-26-16: Fermentation is on track.
8-28-16: Press must into a 7 gallon carboy.
8-30-16: First Rack must into a 6 gallon carboy.
pH: 3.45 SO2: 17 ppm  Added 1 g KMS.
Flavors of rich wild cherry, good color, good acid tannin balance.
10-2916 Second Rack into two 2.5 gallon carboys and a 1/2 gallon cider jug. One has 1 infusion spiral of Medium Plus American Oak and one-half stick of Light American Oak.
pH: 3.45  SO2: 36 ppm Rich Black Cherry Notes!
1-25-17 pH: 3.54

May 12 Crush @ Eagles' Nest (Chilean Grapes)
Grapes had mixed fully ripe clusters and half ripe clusters.  No mold or rot was on the grapes at crush time. Very few leaves were in the lugs.

Cabernet Sauvignon (6 lugs):
BRIX: 22-23° (REF)  (SG): 1.096 (ABVP): 12.9-13.6%
pH: 3.52
TA: 5.4

Malbec (6 lugs):
BRIX: 22-24° (REF)  (SG): 1.092 (ABVP): 12.9-14.4%
pH: 3.23
TA: 5.4

Syrah (6 lugs):
BRIX: (REF): 22-23°  (SG): 1.092 (ABVP): 12.9-13.6%
pH: 3.43
TA: 5.2

3-Way Chilean Blend:
All three grape varieties were 3-way blended at "crush" time.
BRIX: 22° (REF)  (SG): 1.090  (ABVP): 12.9%
pH: 3.42
TA: 7.4
Cold Maceration Days: 6 days on 5-18-16
Pectic Enzymes: added on 5-17-16 @ 1PM ay Day 5
Lalvin RC212: yeast pitched on 5-18-16 @ 60°F
Yeast Nutrient: added on 5-18-16 L.D. Carlson Food Grade Urea and Diammonium Phosphate 1 tsp/g must (Ran out of Fermax!)
7 Day mark and SG is 1.084-20 gallon and 1.090 on 30 gallon wine easy tanks.
Tank#1 SG: 1.020 pH:3.42 TA:.85 SO2: 8ppm  Pitched WLP675 
Tank#2 SG: 1.012 pH:3.42 TA:.85 SO2: 9ppm Pitched WLP675
5-21-16 Tank#1-SG:1.00  Tank#2-SG:1.00
Tank#1-SG: 0.994 Tank#2-SG:0.994 Both tanks are at ~ 73-5°F
5-22-16 Vacuum Press wine into Carboys
(7 days of battonage on gross lees)
5-2916 1st Vacuum Rack premium wine into a 14.7 gallon conical fermentor, 7 gallon and 3 carboy. 24.7 gallons total wine on fine lees.
5-30-16 Dump ~750 mL of early fine lees from the conical tank and replace.
5-31-16 Dump ~750 mL of early fine lees from the conical tank and replace.
6-1-16 Dump ~750 mL of early fine lees from the conical tank and replace.
Floor temp. in winery: ~66°F.
6-5-16 2nd Vacuum Racking of carboys and tank
pH of carboys: 3.36
pH of Conical tank: 3.45
Made the SO2 correction to stop the malolactic fermentation.
Pulled two 375 mL bottles out for sampling.  Fruit is integrated very nicely with a strong coffee note.
6 & 2.5 gallon carboys and 14.7 gallon conical full. 23.7 Gallons of wine.
Now for the long bulk aging process!
Added to a new 15 gallon American Oak barrel on 7-31-16.  The remainder is in a 6 gallon carboy. (Third Rack)

Tested  15 gallon American Oak Barrel 8-10-16 pH=3.42  SO2=44ppm  taste great!
9-19-16 pH: 3.44  SO2: 46ppm Added 0
12-5-16 pH: 3.47 SO2: 16ppm Added 2.2 grams KMS
1-25-17 pH: 3.44

Tested 6 Gallon Carboy 8-10-16 pH= 3.32 SO2= 34ppm taste great!
9-19-16 pH: 3.35 SO2: 45ppm Added 0
12-5-16 pH: 3.38 SO2:26ppm Added .2gram KMS

1-19-17 Prebottled ~5 gallons and refilled from the carboy.
pH: in barrel 3.45 SO2: 27 ppm

18 x 18lb. lugs yielded 20-21 gallons of finished wine. (Fills a 15 gallon oak barrel and a 6 gallon carboy after 2 rackings)


September 27-Crush @ Eagles' Nest (California Grapes from Suisun Valley)
Suisun valley is an AVA from Solano County, California located just east of Napa Valley wine region in the coast range.
The 2015 grapes listed below arrived in excellent condition with the high sugar levels expected from California and the extra dry weather conditions.
The musts underwent a 72+ hr. cold maceration process to increase color and flavor. Commercial Soup chiller containers (Rapi-Kool Plus) with ice cubes were set in the core of the fermentation tanks. Ice cubes were replenished every 12 hrs.
Pectic enzymes were added 1 hr. before the yeast was pitched.
Red Star Premier Cuve'e yeast was used on all varietals for high alcohol tolerance.
Yeast nutrient was added at the start of Primary Fermentation.
900 lbs. of grapes were "Crushed & Destemmed".

Cabernet Sauvignon (4 lugs):
BRIX (Refractrometer)= 29°   Specific Gravity (Hydrometer)= 1.128  ABVP= 17.5%
pH= 3.35 
TA= .68%
Malolactic Bacteria added on 10-6-15 with Specific Gravity of 1.040
Vacuumed Pressed on 10-9-15 after a 9 day Primary Fermentation (yielded 9 gallons)
Racked on 11-3-15 pH= 3.59 SO2= 9ppm..adjusted  up.

Merlot (4 lugs):
BRIX (Refractrometer) = 28°  Specific Gravity (Hydrometer)= 1.120  ABVP%= 16.8%
pH= 3.50
TA= .61%
Malolactic Bacteria added on 10-6-15 with Specific Gravity of 1.022
Vacuum Pressed on 10-9-15 after a 9 day Primary Fermentation (yielded 9 gallons)
Racked on 11-3-15 pH= 3.66 SO2= 10ppm adjusted up.

Cabernet Sauvignon x Merlot Blend:
In a 10 gallon barrel
Bottled 2 cases on 3-7-16
Batch failed quality requirements..dumped on 4-7-16!! High SO2.

Primitivo (6 lugs):
BRIX (Refractrometer) = 26.5°  Specific Gravity (Hydrometer)= 1.114  ABVP%= 15.4%
pH= 3.58
TA= .60%
Malolactic Bacteria added on 10-6-15 with Specific Gravity of 1.020
Vacuum Pressed on 10-10-15 yielding 14.5 gallon, then vacuum transferred into a 14.5 gallon Blichmann Stain(s)less Steel Fermenator™ Conical Tank
Racked into a new 10 gallon American Oak Barrel on 11-2-15 pH= 3.81 on 11-3-15
(pH and SO2 adjusted up)
Bottled on: 4-15-16

BRIX  (Refractrometer) = 31°  Specific Gravity (Hydrometer) =1.144 ABVP%= 19%
pH= 3.65
TA= 1.05%

May 15-Crush (Chilean Grapes)
Both varietals used a 96 hr. cold soak below 55°F
Primary Fermentation did not exceed 82°F
Filled a 10 gallon American Oak Barrel (2nd use) with a 50 x 50 Blend on 6-19-15
Still have some of the single varietals in 3 gallon carboys.
Strong Fruit-Forward tasting!

Cabernet Sauvignon:
BRIX- 26°
pH= 3.78 Added Tartaric Acid
WLP 675 pitched on 5-22-15 @ 5° BRIX
5-24-15 pH= 3.30
Vacuum Pressed on 5-26-15
8-18 lb. lugs delivered ~11 gallons at Pressing
First racking on 6-7-15 ~10.5 gallons remaining
Second racking 6-19-15 
Third rack on 11-3-15 pH= 3.55 SO2= 55ppm (no adjustments)

BRIX- 22° Adjusted up
pH= 3.41 No adjustment
WLP 675 pitched on 5-22-15 @ 5° BRIX
5-24-15 pH= 3.30
Vacuum Pressed on 5-26-15
8-18 lb. lugs delivered ~11 gallons at pressing
First racking on 6-7-15 ~10.5 gallons remaining
Second racking 6-19-15
Third rack on 11-3-15 pH= 3.35 SO2= 40ppm (no adjustments)

Cabernet Sauvignon x Malbec:  50/50% blended into a 10 gallon (two time used) American Oak Barrel on 6-19-15
Bottled 2 cases on 2-29-16

40% Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon x 40% Malbec x 20% California Primitivo
in a 10 gallon barrel
Bottled on: 4-15-16

October 4-Crush (California Grapes)
Lodi Merlot:
15 Gallon American Oak Barrel aging started on 11-27-14 in one year old barrel.
Pre-Release Bottling for sampling on 6-31-15
Winemakers Notes: Deep Colored with dark fruit, cherry, plum, oak, smoke and a beautiful balanced mouth feel finish!
Bottled on 7-29-16

Old Vine Zinfandel:  
American Oak Barrel aging started on 11-2-14 in one year old barrel.
pH= 3.40 Free SO2=35ppm, Total SO2= 82ppm, TA= .80%
Winemakers Notes: Balanced Blueberry and Cherry notes with some oak and a spicy finish. Very smooth from start to finish.
Bottled on: 6-19-15

Lodi Syrah: 
Almador Gold Petite Sirah BRIX-32°
Syrah x Petite Sirah 80% x 20% Blend.
American Oak Barrel aging started on 11-5-14 in new barrel.
Bottled on 4-23-16
Winemaker Notes:

Four-Way Blend: 58% Merlot x 14% Syrah x 14% Petite Sirah x 14% Old Vine Zinfandel 
Racked into 3rd use 5 gallon American Oak Barrel on 5-27-15
pH= 3.40 Free SO2= 56 ppm Total SO2= 94 ppm TA = .84%
Bottled 12-10-15
Winemaker Notes: Complex aroma and dark colored, floral, oak, spice, vanilla, floral notes in the aromas with a smooth long finish.

June 6-Hand Crushed and Destemmed! (Chilean Grapes)
Malbec x Merlot 50 x 50% Blend
American Oak Barrel aging started on 10-10-14 in one year old barrel.
Inky dark color with Black Olive and Pepper notes.
Bottled on 5-27-15 pH= 3.52 Free SO2= 40 ppm Total SO2= 142 ppm TA= .76%
Winemaker Notes: It worked!

October 12-Crush (California Grapes)
Lodi Merlot:
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
10-10-14 Bottled first batch.  11-25-14 Bottled.
pH=3.39   SO2 (FREE)=  ppm  SO2 (TOTAL)=ppm   TA=  %  MA= .80 g/L-80ppm
2015 Silver Ribbon Awarded at International Home Winemaker Competition
Winemaker Notes: Earthy, Smoky, Mushroom, Rich, Bold Cherry and Oak.

Lodi Organic Cabernet Sauvignon:
Aged in American Oak Barrel twice used.
10-15-14 Bottled half of barrel and refilled. 10-25-14 bottled more.
pH=3.36 SO2 (FREE)=35ppm  SO2(TOTAL)=102ppm TA= .86% MA=.84g/L-84ppm
Winemaker Notes:

Merlot x Cabernet Sauvignon 50% x 50% Blend.
Aged in one year old American Oak Barrel.
10-10-14 Bottled first batch. 11-25-14 refilled barrel.
pH=3.43 SO2 (FREE)= 29ppm SO2 (TOTAL)= 96ppm TA=.80% MA=.72g/L-72ppm
1-30-15 Bottled last run and retired the barrel.
pH=3.40 SO2 (FREE)= 26ppm SO2(TOTAL)= 90PPM 
2015 Silver Ribbon Awarded at International Home Winemaker Competition
Winemaker Notes: Smoke-Oak-Caramel-Molasses-Rich Ripe Fruit. Fruity and Floral.    Smooth from start to finish. An extraordinary blend! 

Paso Robles Syrah:
Aged in American Oak barrel.
Paso Robles Petite Sirah:
Aged in American Oak barrel.
Syrah X Petite Sirah   80% x 20% Blend   
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
Double Blue Ribbon @ AWFF 2014 with a barrel sample!
11-3-14 Bottled.
pH=3.36 SO2(FREE)=20ppm SO2(TOTAL)=94ppm TA=.83% MA=.76 g/L-76ppm
2014 AWFF Double Blue Ribbon awarded.
2015 Silver Ribbon Awarded at International Home Winemaker Competition
Winemaker Notes: Mushroom and Smokey Meat with Black Plum-Dark Fruit and Black Licorice finish..inky dark purple color.

October 20-Crush (California Grapes)
Paso Robles Merlot:
Aged in American Oak Barrel.
Light Strawberry, Raspberry and Rose notes with a peppery spice finish.
Lodi Grenache:                                                                                                                 BRIX-26°   
Aged in American Oak Barrel.
Evolving nicely.
Merlot x Grenache  50%x50% Blend   
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
Evolving nicely. 
"Mystery Blend"   BRIX-24.5° From a California wine grape delivery truck accident!
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
Wild Cherry on the Nose and Palate from start with a Spicy Peppery Finish. 
pH= 3.50    SO2 (FREE)= 29ppm     SO2 (TOTAL)= 102ppm     TA= .64% 

11-5-Crush (California Grapes)
Lodi Merlot: (100% Free Run)
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
pH=   SO2(FREE)=ppm   SO2 (TOTAL)=ppm
Dark Fruit, Cherry-Berry, Slightly Tart, Smokey and Oakey, with a Smooth Finish. 

10-17-Crush (California Grapes)
Lodi Merlot: (100% Free Run)                                                                                          BRIX-24.5°
Aged in new American Oak Barrel.
pH= 3.56  SO2(FREE)= 13  SO2 (TOTAL)=50ppm  TA=???
Intense Cherry Aroma and Flavor with Black Pepper, Silky-Smooth Finish.  
In Our Test Micro-Vineyard @ "Eagles' Nest" We are @ 3,200' Elevation at the Tributary Head Area of the Broad River, in Black Mountain, North Carolina USA.

2015 is year four!  We have 55 Regent and 60 Marquette wine grape vines!
Six Chardonnay vines from the early mountain top "survivability test" are transplanted into the upper east side of the vineyard.
Two Concord vines.
123 Vines Total.
12,000 Volt Electric fencing was added around the vineyard.
I am spending less time clearing the mountain and more time working on the vines!
Keeping fingers crossed for a good 2015 harvest!

Two Hybrid Cross Varietals that are very Cold Hardy were selected:

1- Regent: Dark blue-black colored wine grape from Germany bred in 1967 by Professor Gerhardt Alleweilerhof.
Cross Hybrid between Diana and Chambourcin-(complex cross). 
Cultivated to address the needs of the Organic Grape Industry and have minimal spraying to keep mildew away. Deep intense red wine with moderate acidity and high tannins. Cherry and Black Currant flavors.  High sugar levels. Takes to Oak aging well. 
VSP Trellis system. Upward growth. Not Sulfur Sensitive. Medium Vigor.
Cold Hardiness: -5°F to -14°F

Early Bud Swell: 4-8-14 
Early Bud Break: 4-26-14
First signs of color change on grapes 7-1-14
Mid Veraison 7-14-14
Dark blue color with rising sugar levels 8-1-14 Some grapes turning deep blue-black.
BRIX on 8-2-14 13-16.5°
Full Veraison on 8-10-14
25 Berry BRIX on 8-14-14 = 16° Color of juice is not developed yet. Fruit size is larger than Marquette grapes.
Harvest Date: 8-20-14 Bears and Birds took the grapes this year!  Now installing the electric fence and will have bird netting for 2015.
3 Wire electric fence installed with 50 mile Fence Charger (12,000 volts x 2 joules) 120 VAC
Early Bud Swell: 3-8-15 on 50% of vines
Early Bud Break: 4-10-12-15 on all vines
Leaves Open: 4-12-15
Early Flowering: 4-15-15
Early Fruit Set:

Regent Early 1998 Northern US Data Link
Regent Potential Link

2- Marquette: Dark blue-black colored wine grape from the University of Minnesota in 2006.
A Complex Hybrid that is a "cousin" of Frontenac and "grandson" of Pinot Noir.
High Sugar with Moderate Acidity. A Complex finished wine with Ruby Color, Cherry, Berry, Black Currant, Tobacco, Leather & Pepper, Spice Flavors and Aromas with excellent Tannin levels.  
Top-High Wire Cordon and VSP Trellis systems. Semi-Upward growth. Slightly Sulfur Sensitive. Medium Vigor.
(55 Vines and room for 5 more)
Cold Hardiness:  -35 to -40°F

Early Bud Swell: 3-31-14  
Early Bud Break: 4-8-14 
First signs of color change on grapes 7-1-14
Mid Veraison 7-14-14
Dark blue color with rising sugar levels 8-1-14
BRIX on 8-2-14 13.5-17.5 Some grapes turning deep blue-black.
Full Veraison on 8-10-14
25 Berry BRIX on 8-14-14 = 18.5°  Color is developing well. Taste of Tannin is good.
Fruit size is smaller than Regent grapes.
Some Primary Bud Damage from freezing after Early Bud Break two nights..20.4°F and 27°F
Harvest Date: 8-20-14 Bears and Birds took the grapes this year!  Now installing the electric fence and will have bird netting for 2015.
3 Wire Electric Fence installed with 50 mile Fence Charger (12,000 volts x 2 joules) 120 VAC!
Early Bud Swell: March 8-15 on 50% of vines
Early Bud Break: 4-10-12-15

Leaves Open: 4-12-15
Early Flowering: 4-15-15
Early Fruit Set:

Marquette Profile Link

We are Monitoring and Recording Temperatures in 3 Locations in the Vineyard.
Winter Record Low Vineyard Temperatures @ "Eagles' Nest" 3,200' Elevation
-2°F with Wind Chill to -28°F
-4°F with Wind Chill to -18°F
2015 Winter Low:
-3.4°F on 1-7-15
Winter Snow in the Vineyard

Survey Data of possible Cold-Temperature Damage to Buds in progress.
How to Assess Grapevine Freeze Damage to Buds Link

Summer Record High Temperatures @ "Eagles' Nest" 3,200' Elevation

2014 Vineyard Notes:
7-25 to 8-12-14 Some deer but mostly bear issues have occurred leading to the necessity of installing a electrified bear-deer fence system by 2015.
8-12-14 Regent grapes are larger then Marquette Grapes
Excessive rain this season has caused many issues:
Black rot, bunch rot, powdery mildew, swollen grapes, bee infestation.
Birds eating grapes have caused some loss and leading to the installation of a bird net system.
8-20-14 Bears and Birds took the grapes this year!  Now installing the electric fence and will have bird netting for 2015.

2014 is year three in our Experimental-Test Micro-Vineyard. Each year more vines have been planted with 53 vines each of Regent and Marquette in the main vineyard.
With minimal spraying ~50% crop loss to Black Rot occurred for both varieties.
Lesson learned..spraymore.  Night time dew is just as concerning in Western North Carolina as rainy spells.

2015 Vineyard Notes:
Vines 80% pre-pruned in February
Vines soil limed in March
Vines Lime Sulphured in March to kill dormant winter mold
Vineyard hand weeded in February and March
Vines first soil fertilizing with Max Sea 4-(12-13)-16 Seaweed mixture:
Max Sea is a completely balanced formula comprised of primary plant foods nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A full spectrum of important secondary elements and micronutrients provide sulfur, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. The seaweed granules in Maxsea contain over 60 recognized elements all found to be beneficial to plants. All components are in a concentrated water-soluble form that goes to work immediately for fast acting immediate results. Best applied every 2 weeks.
Marquette's fertilized on 4-12-15
Regents fertilized on 4-13-15

ASSOCIATE LINKS ( We offer a free link exchange with "good-standing" Associates):
"Sustainable" Specialty Equipment Sales, Services, and Consultation, for Home-Business-Farm-Government Sectors, From Beginners to Experts.

Broad River Vignerons (link under construction) "Vignerons" are Grape Growers and Winemakers. A Vintner is a winemaker. We are mostly from the Broad River area of Buncombe and Western North Carolina Counties. We are available to anyone to share and learn valuable knowledge and experience of our specific region and elevations! 

Red and White Wine Grape Vines that are "Cold-Hardy."
(We are testing the Regent and Marquette Hybrids for year #3 at the "Eagles' Nest" @ 3,200' elevation and a steep south exposure 45° slope in WNC). 

Home Winemaking is Harder than Commercial Winemaking: 
Due to smaller quantities/volumes used in the processes, and accurate equipment required for success.
The most popular question people ask me:
 "What are the most important tips for making wine?"

1- How much money do you have to invest or lose in all of the equipment required, compared to investing in cases of wine at ~10-20% discount? 

2- What style of wines do you want to make and what style is enjoyed by those you will be sharing and drinking it with? Where will the grapes come from?

3- How much time will the process take weekly, monthly, annually and from the start to finish, and who will help at each of the necessary steps?

4- Where will all the cold and hot water come from that is needed for the many steps involved with winemaking?  
Is that water clean enough for winemaking and will it need filtration systems incorporated?
It takes ~10 gallons of water to make a bottle of wine! 

5- Where will the wine be fermented, processed and stored and what is the annual temperature range in that area?  

How will you monitor the temperature and humidity?  52-55°F and 60-80% humidity is best for storage when using oak barrels, bottled red wine and natural corks, while fermentation temperatures need to be a little higher.  
Corks come in different grades and costs depending on how long the bottled wine will be stored before consumed. Longer storage time can cost up to $1.50 for one cork and may need to be purchased in volumes of 1-500-1000...and stored properly until installed in a bottle. Minimum storage time use corks cost ~12¢ each.
Natural cork sealed bottles need to be stored on their sides, while synthetic corks and screw caps do not so they can be stored upright. 

6- How will you confirm that each step of the winemaking process and the results are correct and who can you contact if in doubt? Multi-function wine testing meters  such as the Vinmetrica SC-300 or services that I offer and a few other simple instruments will be needed for the adjustments to insure success of making a quality wine.

How will you store the notes and data for future winemaking success?  Computer Logging and a Notepad together is best.

7- What is the legal limit that you or your family may produce per year in your state without licensing and all of the legal expenses?  In North Carolina the limit is 100 gallons for a single family and 200 gallons for a family/residence.

8- Do not expect to learn everything the first year.  Do expect to learn more and make better wine each year if everything is on track..and the grapes are good ones. 
Take your time.  Do not start more than you can comfortably finish.

 9- What is the actual list and costs of all equipment that is needed?

10- Purchase a winemaking book and read the experts opinions and experiences!

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Daniel Mincarelli. All rights reserved. (NOTE Information above may change)

All of the Information and Services I provide is to help anyone that is at the "Beginner to Expert" stages of becoming a Quality Winemaker.
Please contact me if you have a project that I may assist!
I also accept donations for the ongoing research with grape growing, wine-making, wine testing equipment, procedures, how-to articles, and events that I will be updating  here.

Cheers soon!!!...Thomas Daniel Mincarelli

Local checks, cash, winery equipment, work-exchange also accepted.

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