Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pressing the grapes!

Yesterday Karl and I pressed two different tanks of wine - Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The pressing process involves a few steps:

1. First we drain the "free run" wine into clean, fresh tanks.

2. Then we take the remaining wine-soaked skins and load them into a press. (Photo of the press is above.)

3. The press has an inner bladder that inflates with air to push the skins against the inside of the press cylinder. The wine from this pressing is collected for selective blending into the free run.

4. At the end of the process, we have a highly concentrated pressed wine. The leftover skins and seeds are then used for fertilizer in the vineyards.

In the photos above you can see the brilliant purple and magenta hues of the finished wine. It is opaque because there are billions of yeast cells still in suspension in the wine. Over the next few months, they will sink to the bottom of the barrel and will be removed periodically in a process called "racking". Racking of the barrels is a process where the winemaker removes the wine from the barrel, cleans the barrel, and then puts the wine back into the barrel.

Slowly, the wine begins to clarify and become polished.

During the next month, the wine will also undergo its secondary fermentation (aka ML fermentation) where malic acid is converted by beneficial bacteria into lactic acid.

More to come on this topic later...

Oh yeah, the wine tastes as good as it looks! Bright fruit flavors with lots of intensity. I can't wait to taste the 2008s after some time in barrel!

Jeff Mathy

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