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Big Reds Aging Time
Mike Samara Fallbrook, California asks,
I am a small grower (1 acre) and amateur winemaker in Southern California. I have a little more than 60 gallons (227 L) of Merlot (it was a bad year with powdery mildew) and would like to put it into a barrel (60 gallons/227 L) after malolactic fermentation (MLF). After MLF, I was planning to add sulfites and then do my first filtration (bug-catcher filter pads) and then pump it into the barrel. My questions are, is this a good plan, or should I rack it into another tank and the barrel later? Also, what is the average time in barrel for someone going for a big California red? My final alcohol should be 14.3% (although I am a little worried that my alcohol level may be too high for MLF . . .).