What happens after harvesting the grapes?
During harvest we bring in the grapes by cold picking during the night or early morning. The grapes are de-stemmed into fermentation bins or into small open tanks that are cooled down with dry ice for a 3-4-day duration called a “cold soak”. The cold soak process is an important step that promotes optimal color extraction from the grapes skins. On the last day of the cold soak we let the “must” (freshly pressed fruit juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) warm up which allows the fermentation to begin with the native yeast that’s contained in the “bloom” (white residue on the grapes). The native fermentation will create a more complex finished wine. During fermentation the berries and skins will float up to the top from all the CO2 that is produced by the yeast while the grapes are fermenting. This creates what is called the “cap”. We try to keep the skins in contact with the juice as much as possible to extract as much flavor and color as possible. To do this, we use a process called “punch downs”. By punching down the cap we are pushing the skins back down using a punch down tool or process called “pump overs”. Pump overs are when you take the juice from the bottom the fermentation vessel and pump it over the top of the cap. Once the fermentation is finished (the yeast has eaten all of the sugars) we drain as much of the wine as possible and press the remaining must to extract as much wine out as possible without overly squeezing the grapes. Over squeezing can extract bitter and undesirable compounds.
One of the best parts about being a wino is learning everything you can about it! From the vineyard to the bottle we hope you can take a piece of our educational journey with you!