Thursday, August 28, 2014

Harvest is Here

It is that busy time of year here at the winery....Harvest Time. Long days and little sleep all in the name of producing some award winning wines. Our first grapes are in the tank (Brianna and Edelweiss). The yeast and nutrients were prepared and added last night to the Brianna so soon it will be fermenting away. Fermentation always fills the winery with some great aromas!  The Edelweiss will be ready to start fermentation in the coming days. Fermentation is the process that turns the sugar built up in the grapes during the summer in the vineyard into alcohol, wine in this case. It takes a week or so to turn all the sugars into alcohol. Each day we are monitoring the progress of the wine. We'll run tests to determine how much of the sugar is still remaining (thus telling us how far along we are in fermentation), the pH of the wine to keep an eye on acidity, and several other tests.

In the coming weeks the rest of our grapes will come rolling in. When the white grapes arrive they go thru the crusher/destemmer which takes off any stems and leaves us with whole berries. The grapes are then sent to the press to squeeze the beautiful juice out of them and put into a tank. The red grapes go through the crusher/destemmer, but they get fermented on the skins so they aren't pressed until after fermentation. This give them the great color and tannins we enjoy in our dry red wines. Harvest days start at 6 am and if we are in from the press by midnight, it was a short day!

Grapes just in from Harvest (circa 2013)

Erich runs the grapes thru the crusher destemmer to remove stems, leaves, etc. (circa 2013)

The yeast and nutrients being prepared to add to the juice