1) It had rained quite heavily in Carabaña on Thurs and Fri, and it was a bit muddy underfoot. This means that inevitably the bottoms of cases get muddy and some of the mud will find its way into crusher, press, tank and lastly the must
2) The vines had sucked up a lot of water and the grapes were fat and bloated, and the must diluted. So if we harvested, the sugar content (as a %) would be lower and consequently the wine would have a lower alcohol content
3) A dark Cloud of Doom was hovering over Carabaña, while in the neighbouring villages (Tielmes, Perales, Morata) the skies were quite clear. We figured this was the universe sending us a message and we listened!!!
We then took a representative sample (not a quick-n-dirty one) and headed back to the bodega to crush, strain and analyze our sample. We were right, the probable alcohol content had dropped by 0.4% from the previous sample we'd taken before the rains.
On Friday we were at the bodega pressing the Tempranillo skins that had been macerating with the must since the harvest ofer a week ago. Up to now we had always done this manually, using a press like this one:
We used it last week for the small lots of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Garnacha that we have this year. But we also have a 3500 kg lot of Tempranillo, so for that we used this hydraulic press:
Basically, you fill it up with skins and must and close the lid. Then a bag inflates and crushes the skins against a filter around the inside of the shell. You can program the pressing cycle with your desired pressures, times and number of repititions.
We set the press at one of its lowest possible pressure levels as we were a bit worried about crushing the pips, and releasing bitterness and other undesirable flavours and aromas.