Cap Management Comparison with Merlot (2015)

Matthieu Finot

King Family Vineyards


Identically sourced Merlot was harvested in bins, de-stemmed but not crushed, and divided in 4 separate t-bins of approximately 0.75 tons each. Each bin was inoculated with 14g/hL of yeast and received identical additions throughout fermentation. Each bin received a different cap management protocol as follows:

  • Control - 2x/day punch down
  • Trial 1 - 2x/day punch down, but fruit will be both de-stemmed and crushed
  • Trial 2- 4x/day punch down 
  • Trial 3 - 2x/day pump over that replaces 1.5x the volume of wine (0.75 each time) 

All fours lots received an identical duration of skin contact, and following AF were pressed and transferred to identical barrels. Upon completion of MLF 50ppm SO2 was added. 






In general, there were not many chemical or microbial differences between the wines except that the pumpover wine had higher volatile acidity.  

Of respondents (n=17) 23.5% preferred the control, 47% preferred Trial 1, 0% preferred Trial 2, and 29.5% preferred Trial 3.

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