4. Above is an open top fermentation vat. Much of the wine has been drained off (which happens to be the easy job). Now the task becomes more difficult. The spent grape skins must be physically moved to the wine press. Note the shovel resting against the white bin and you'll understand the drill.
The Journey Into Wine
On this page we will show some of the major steps involved with turning the grapes into wine.
1. To the left you can see a vine in late September. This is the final stretch for the vine when the hand-off is about to take place. Notice how the leaves around the grape clusters have begun to yellow. The time to harvest this Cabernet Sauvignon vine is now. This is just the first step in the transition.
2. After the clusters of grapes are picked the stems are removed and the berries are crushed. This is done by machine, thankfully. Unlike some grape varieties, we remove all of the stems from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The skins of this variety are quite thick and have abundant tannins. We wouldn't need to add the stems and if we did we might end up with a wine with too much astringency.
3. Once you have things crushed then the yeast is added and that's when the real change begins. The ferment, for a red wine, is a vigorous one which produces quite a bit of heat and foaming and the winery smells fantastic. It takes the yeast about a week or ten days to complete the ferment. At that point they have run out of food (i.e. sugar from the juice) and they die off and begin to settle out of the wine.
5. From the fermentation vat the spent skins are moved by bin to the press. You can spot the blue cover of the forklift behind the press-that's what is used to move the bin full of skins. When fully loaded the press is closed and the press begins to squeeze the load. Our press will hold the skins from 1.3 tons of grapes at a time. As the skins are compressed the wine runs through the slats of the press and falls into the pan below. From there it is placed into oak barrels for aging. By bucket or pump, either way, the trip to the barrel should be quick.
Out of The Press and Into The Barrels:
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