Tag Archives: Yarra Valley

Squishing Time! Firing Up the Basket Press for the FGV Bathtub Cabernet

3 May

The Press Cake from the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project Makes a Great Birthday Cake by Paul Kaan

The first and only press for Vintage 2015 is done and dusted! The Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Cabernet was squished a few weeks ago, after 24 days on skins. The perfume and earthiness I was looking for have arrived. The texture has lengthened, developed beautifully and is looking good.

It’s been 10 years between Vintages. Winemaking again has brought delight and pleasure, not just for me, for everyone involved in the project. The garage has been lit up with smiles, laughter, shared magnums of Filth, just a whole lot of fun!

By the time this post is published the wine will be resting safely in barrel, to begin it’s long journey to the bottle.

The Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project will return in 2016!

We’ve had so much fun playing with grapes and friends that we could resist doing it all again. If you’re interested in joining us, hit me up via the Contact Page and I’ll get in touch when we start preparing for more action in the garage!

Check out the smiles, laughs and all the action from our day pressing! Read on to find out more about pressing.

Pressing is another chance to guide a wine.

How fast do you press?

How much pressure to you apply?

What machine do you use?

All of these factors can impact the extraction of particularly tannins from the skins and dramatically impact the texture of the final wine. Press too fast, too hard and you risk extracting bitter, hard tannins.

Taste is critical!

Wines separated into two basic components:

Free Run: The liquid you can drain out of the vat full of skins and seeds without doing any squashing.

Pressings: The liquid extracted by applying pressure to the grape skins using a press. Sometimes these are separated further into first and second pressings.

Throughout the pressing process we constantly taste the wine coming from the press. In the Yarra Valley the tannins tend to be pretty supple, particularly using a basket press. In general the pressings are mixed straight back into the free run. Ours went straight back in adding to the structure and texture of the wine & it’s overall yumminess!

In some regions tannins from pressings can be hard, sappy and bitter and need to be kept separate from the free run. Think McLaren Vale.

Vintage Lunch Went Back to Basics!

Fuel for the pressing of the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernet. 
Fish, chips, a dimmi & bottle of Chardonnay. Good Friday lunch break.

Fish, Chips, a dimmi and a bottle of Yarra Yering Chardonnay for Vintage 2015 Pressing Day

Another Ghetto Winemaking solution! Cable ties & duct tape are a winemaker’s best friends!

When G heard us saying the Cake looked amazing she assumed we meant birthday cake, not, cake from pressing the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Projects Cabernet. So we put a candle in it & sang happy birthday …. 4 times!

The Press Cake from the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project Makes a Great Birthday Cake by Paul Kaan

Post Fermentation Maceration Begins! Pushing for Wine Yumminess!

1 Apr

Post Fermentation Maceration Begins! Vintage 2015 Pushing for Wine Yumminess! by Paul Kaan

Cap is looking might close to going over this am! I wish my assistant winemaker wouldn’t splash whilst bathing in the wine! We’ve run a barrel of free run off for barrel fermentation with about 15% of the alcoholic fermentation to go. Normally I’d add some pressings to this, but, our press didn’t arrive on time! Instead we’ve combined Filthy Good Vino’s two bathtubs into one for post fermentation maceration. Watch the video to learn more about exactly how this adds layers of yumminess to our wine!

Post Fermentation Maceration of The Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project Yarra Valley Cabernet by Paul Kaan

Post Fermentation Maceration Explained – Gotta Keep Pushing! Check out what happened from Day 11-14

Ghetto Wine Strainer Kinda Worked! Had to go to the B-Plan!

Ghetto Straining of Wine Version One by Paul Kaan

Back-up Ghetto Wine Strainer Worked … Eventually!

Ghetto Wine Straining Solution by Paul Kaan

Running off Wine into New French Oak for Barrel Fermentation!

Barrel Ferment Kicking Off in Some New French Oak by Paul Kaan

Stalks! Stalks! Stalks! Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project Day 6 Tannin Management

17 Mar

Pulling The Stalk Teabags out of the Vat 2 - FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Winemaking Project Vintage 2015 By Paul Kaan

We’re still focusing on tannin for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project. This time it’s all about giant teabags … full of stalks, not, tea! Just like the seeds stalks contain tannins, flavours and aromas that we want to guide and layer into the wine. Check the “teabags” and a detailed walk through steep the biggest teabag you’ll ever see in the video.

 Dismantling the stalk teabag!

Pulling The Stalk Teabags out of the Vat 2 - FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Winemaking Project Vintage 2015 By Paul Kaan

The before shot! Making the stalk teabag on the day of picking. Checkout how green those stalks look!

Making a stalk teabag by Paul Kaan

Extraction of the Stalk Teabag DONE!

Pulling The Stalk Teabags out of the Vat - FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Winemaking Project Vintage 2015 By Paul Kaan

Amazing colour pick-up! First time ever I’d be happy having anything to do with Tie Died Cloth!

Muslin Cloth Stained With Wine Used to Make Stalk Teabags for the FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Winemaking Project Vintage 2015


The Bathtub Winemaking Project is Go! Part 1: Samples from the Vineyard

1 Mar

100g Cabernet Sauvignon Bunch & Dissected Grapes by Paul Kaan

Vintage is almost upon us! The first grapes for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project are about to be picked!

It’s an incredibly early season. The last time I picked Cabernet in the Yarra Valley was at Yarra Yering in 2003. We started picking on the 10th of March. Yarra Yering always picked at least a couple of weeks earlier than everyone else.

In 2015 we’ll pick on the 4th of March. Yields are low and flavours look good. Check out this beautiful 100g bunch of Yarra Valley Cabernet for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! Nice small berries, tannin is so close to ready!

A 150g bunch of YV Merlot! Notice how much more open the bunch structure is. Softer, floppies stalks. Bigger berries, riper tannin than the Cabernet, perhaps over ripe! Yielding higher at 3.5+ tonnes/acre. We won’t be taking this fruit it’s lost it’s natural acid and freshness due to exposure to the hot afternoon sun.

Dissected Berry Close-up! Cabernet on top, Merlot at Bottom. Notice the general darker, browner seed colour of the Merlot. Crunching on them the tannin is riper than the slightly greener seeds of the Cabernet. You can see the clear flesh of the grape, all the colour & tannin being held in the skins will be extracted during fermentation.

9 Merlot Berries in varying States of Health!

3 Healthy ones on the left, lovely blue colour, a nice bloom, the frosty looking skin. It was rubbed off a bit by my handling the berries.

The 3 berries in the middle are scorched by afternoon sun from the West. Without a canopy to protect them the sun has bleached them, note the browner more transparent skin.

These berries have less acid and flavours are thinner and a bit cooked, lacking the freshness of the 1st 3 berries.

The 3 berries on the right are the next progression caused by sun exposure and have shrivelled to varying degrees, just like dried sultanas. The sugars in these are difficult to extract during ferment.

The preference would be to sort fruit to remove berries like those in the last two columns.

Measuring sugar levels in the Cabernet. 12.4Baumé should give a final alcohol around 13.6% Nice to know. The most important factors are flavour & tannin ripeness. These babies are ready to pick! Had to go Ghetto and use a bottle instead of a measuring cylinder to float the hydrometer in!

Juice tasting time! Merlot & bunch stalk on left, Cabernet on right! Stalks have an incredible spice about them that. I like to throw a few in the ferment to layer in some yumminess! Juices tasting good. Same sugar levels, better acid and flavours in the Cab. It’s go time! Let’s do this!

You haven’t lived until you’ve swum through a vat of vino! BUCKET LIST!

12 Nov



If swimming through a vat of vino isn’t on your bucket list, stop reading this now. Go and write it down … RIGHT NOW!

The story has a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. 1st I got to swim through a vat of wine and 2nd it’s one of the reasons I hooked up with the Mrs … more on that after Andy’s story.

The following story was originaly published in “Assemblage” the Yering Station Newsletter in Autumn 1999.


The Dirt on the Dig Out by Andrew Matthews

Well it’s that time of year again when a years work comes to a head. Yes folk’s it’s vintage time. For the guys in the winery it means a constant slog of longs days and sometimes even longer nights.  However there is one thing that keeps insanity at bay. The dig out!  For the uninitiated, the dig out involves shovelling all the grape skins from the open vat fermentors into the press. In order to make it interesting Tom Carson our Chief Winemaker, decided that we should have a competition to determine the fastest digger.  Tom has one the last two dig out competitions, but this year there will be no repeat.  The guys want their revenge.  Now there are two things needed for a successful dig out.

1. The all important “gusher” this is when we can’t drain off most of the juice, so when the trapdoor opense the juice takes half the skins with it.  Tom always seems to get the gushers.  It’s probably due to the fact he gets to choose who digs out the vats.  I know it sounds like sour grapes (pardon the pun) but you have to admit it’s all a little but suspicious.

2. Technique.  There are two types of techniques used in digging out.  The first type involves the methodical approach of ensuring that your shovelling rhythm doesn’t change from the first to the last stroke.  The other type is to shovel like “a bull in a China shop” and get out as many skins as possible before you become intoxicated by the alcohol fumes.  I prefer this method.

There was an experiment by technique last year which we call the snow plough.  This involves using the whole body like a snow plough and forcing the grape skins out that way.  Needless to say the results indicated it was a complete waste of time although it did get a lot of laughs.


So, if you ever come to Yering Station during vintage and see one of the guys covered in grape skins and passed out from exhaustion, no he hasn’t gone completely mad, he has just done the dig out!



Getting back to the two reasons this story holds a special place in my heart. One day the valve that let’s us drain all the liquid from the Vat was blocked, sure we could have solved this problem in a number of less pleasurable ways, but, I would have missed the opportunity to tick one off the bucket list. So the solution, yes, it’s true, I got to swim through a vat of vino … yes it did feel AWESOME, all warm and fizzy … oh yes, it put a massive smile on my dial.

But, bigger and better than that, one fine day M, came down to the winery and was the only person outside the vintage crew to do the dig out for the year. Not only, did she borrow a pair of my shorts, which showed an ample amount of leg, but she dug with style and finished the dig out, solo, winning the non-vintage crew prize for fastest dig out and a little piece of my heart at the same time.  It’s true we’re now hitched and have another little wine lover on the way!

Oh, and by the way the prize for winning the digout is a Magnum of FilthyGoodVino = Grand Cru Burgundy. And, yes, it is shared with the entire vintage crew.