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Scheid Family Wines Announces Results Of Organic Petite Sirah Trials

Winery Presents "Winemaking Alternatives to Sulfur Dioxide" at Innovation + Quality 2019

SALINAS, California – Scheid Family Wines (SFW) presented the results of their “Winemaking Alternatives to Sulfur Dioxide” trials at the Innovation + Quality (IQ) 2019 event held on May 22 & 23, 2019 at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa Valley. This is the fifth annual forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality. It is produced by Wine Business Monthly, the leading print publication for the wine industry, in partnership with Napa Valley Vintners and Napa County Farm Bureau.

SFW’s presentation was conducted by Casey DiCesare, Assistant Winemaker and Enologist. The objective of the trial was to compare protocols using non-Saccharomyces and Chitosan to produce premium quality Petite Sirah without using sulfur dioxide.

“We are very bullish on Petite Sirah,” said Heid Scheid, Executive Vice President of Scheid Family Wines. “Our estate vineyards in the Hames Valley AVA of Monterey County consistently produce some remarkable wines from this grape. In addition to the dark color, thick texture and firm tannins one would normally expect, these Petite Sirahs are layered, balanced and surprisingly complex. They express terroir, a rare feat for this robust variety. We recently planted an additional 60 acres of organically farmed Petite Sirah in Hames Valley. If our analysis, intuition and execution are correct, we will be able to produce luxury-class Petite Sirahs from this site that is organically farmed and organically vinified.”

Trial Description
This trial consisted of three lots - two different no-sulfur dioxide protocols and a control. The two no-sulfur dioxide treatments were adapted from the Enartis Low SO2 protocol. All additions to each lot were identical, the only variables were (1) the use of Chitosan - Stab Micro M by Enartis (Enartis Method), (2) the use of an organic non-Saccharomyces Metschnikowia pulcherrima - Excellence Bio-Nature by Lamothe & Abiet (Bio-Protection), and (3) the use of sulfur dioxide (Control) at crush.

We harvested 77.5 tons of Petite Sirah from the same block at Hames Valley Vineyard and split it between 3 open top fermenters. Juice analysis was nearly identical between each lot. Additions of tannin, American oak chips, and maceration enzyme were added to the must of each lot at harvest. For the trial, the Enartis Method received 10g/L Stab Micro M (an activated Chitosan and yeast hull), the Bio-Protection received a 5 g/L Excellence Bio-Nature (Metschnikowia pulcherrima), and the Control received a 50ppm of potassium metabisulfite. Each lot was inoculated with 1#/1000gal of an organic yeast and acidulated per winemaking parameters. During fermentation, each lot was punched down 2-3 times per day depending on vigor and nutrient was added at 20 brix. The fermentation curves were very similar between each lot, with the Control achieving dryness one day before the Enartis and Bio-Protection. Each lot was pressed into separate tanks and then racked into 275 gallon plastic totes - the balances were blended away. All three lots were inoculated for secondary fermentation and transferred to (2) new Hungarian Oak Barrels, (2) 55-gallon kegs and (1) 30-gallon mini keg. After the completion of secondary fermentation, each barrel/keg was topped, received a 5g/L Stab Micro addition, and a small tannin addition for storage. The control additionally received a standard SO2 addition.

Preliminary tastings and scorpion results at two and four months after the end of primary fermentation indicated that both the Enartis method and Bio-Protection are viable methods for microbial control when making Hames Valley Petite Sirah without sulfur dioxide. The inhibitory effects of chitosan and Metschnikowia pulcherrima both delivered desired effects on microbiological control without significantly effecting the rate or performance of fermentation.

A follow up scorpion at 6 months of storage in oak and steel barrel indicated an increase in volatile acidity and acetic acid bacteria in the ‘Enartis method.’ The volatile acidity is still within legal limits and another dosage of chitosan was used to mitigate this increase in VA and AAB. Chitosan has proved effective in past applications for acetic acid bacteria inhibition and will be validated using scorpion. The Bio Control method had a slight increase in acetic acid bacteria, but no significant difference from the control in volatile acidity production.

Each wine was distinctive in aromatics and mouthfeel. Descriptive sensory analysis was performed four months after the end of primary by seven expert judges. Twelve attributes were individually scored and statistically analyzed using ANOVA Two-Factor Without Replication. Of those twelve attributes, red fruit, oak, and body were significantly different within each trial. A follow-up sensory panel was performed after six months in storage using the same expert judges. Overall quality was maintained in each trial, but a loss in freshness compared to the control was prevalent in both samples that did not use SO2. Alternative techniques should be explored in future experimentation to maintain freshness and quality throughout the life of the wine.

About Innovation + Quality (IQ) 2019
Innovation + Quality (IQ) 2019 is the fifth annual forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality. This two-day event takes place May 22 & 23, 2019 at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa Valley. This event is produced by Wine Business Monthly, the leading print publication for the wine industry, in partnership with Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa County Farm Bureau

About Scheid Family Wines
Scheid Family Wines has farmed wine grapes in Monterey County, California since 1972. With 4,000 acres of sustainably certified vineyards located along a 70-mile spread of the Salinas Valley and a state-of-the-art winery, Scheid Family Wines is fully integrated to bring high quality estate grown wines to the marketplace. The Scheid Family Wines nationally distributed portfolio includes Scheid Vineyards, District 7, Ryder Estate, Ranch 32, Metz Road, VDR, Stokes’ Ghost and Roku. In addition, Scheid Family Wines produces over 20 regionally distributed brands for specific clients or distributors. For more information please visit


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