We started with a look at a truck full of grapes, one ton of which belongs to the guys, and will form the juice that eventually becomes their wine. These are not the bulk grapes you see being piled into 3 ton tugs, these are all hand picked and placed in small plastic trays, the grapes are protected from crushing. They are shipped in an enclosed trailer and do not get baked in the sun. Harvest had started during the night, and the grapes were at the winery early in the morning. We arrived at 10:45am with the line already in full production. We received a very interestingt walk through of the process, a rather unique process where the wine will be fully produced in barrel fermentation, mostly in open fermentation at that.
The truck of grapes:
The Initial sort, done by hand, whole berries (grapes) with the stems and leaves sorted out
The Second Sort, looking for small stem pieces and bad berries
The Final Sort, there is certainly a great deal of care to make sure only good berries make it in.
Here are some grapes, staged for sorting, you can see the tight clusters, bright color and tight skins
This is what doesn't make the cut, I like the colors of fall
The barrels, these happen to actually be Burgundy barrels, but, what's in a name?
Grapes in a barrel, ready to start the journey to wine
Being pumped into the barrel for the first time
Here is what that looks like, just before punch down for the first time, look at all the bubbling
Staged before going into the cold ferment area, as you can see, nothing more than a shower cap like covering, not sealed in the least
Here is the cold ferment room, along with a little dry ice to cool things down and slow the ferment
From here, the barrels then move to a heating tent and ultimately to a warm fermentation room
A few of the barrels we saw had actually been open fermented, then had the barrel head replaced, while the wine was still in the barrel
There was more to the visit, but, that is enough for one post.