Winemaking

At the most basic level, wine is made from two key ingredients: grapes and yeast

 

When we crush the grapes, their juice is released. When we add yeast to this juice, it converts the sugars dissolved in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, in a process referred to as fermentation. Fermentation might take a few days, or many weeks, but in the end what started as grape juice is now wine.


In fact, wine can be made by adding yeast to juice from any fruit. However, making wine from grapes is the most natural because the ratio of sugar to acid in grape juice leads to a wine that is balanced in respect to the amount of water, acid and alcohol. In other words, it tastes good!

 

Much of the heavy equipment in our winery is geared toward extracting juice from the grapes. Our destemmer-crusher, as you can probably guess, destems the grapes and crushes them, increasing their surface area and creating a mixture of juice, skins, and seeds called "must". We use a pump to move the must into our press, which squeezes the must and released juices that are pumped into our stainless steel tanks. After pressing, the dry skins and seeds that remain in the press, called "pomace", is collected and later used in our vineyards as fertilizer.


Our tanks, barrels, and bins serve as containers - they can hold juice, must, fermenting must, fermenting juice, or finished wines. Generally speaking, our red wines are made by fermenting red must in one-ton bins. After the red must is finished fermenting, we transfer the must to the press in order to press off the wine. Most of our red wines are then stored in barrels for at least a year before they are bottled. Our white wines are made by fermenting white juice in our stainless steel tanks, or in the case of our oaked Chardonnays, in oak barrels. Whether tank or barrel fermented, all of our white wines are stored for less than a year in steel or oak before they are bottled.


 

 

Much of the cellar work outside of harvest involves preparing the wines so they are crystal clear at the time of bottling. Immediately following juice fermentation, the young wine is quite cloudy with dead yeast cells and suspended solids from the crushed grapes. Over time, many of these particles will settle to the bottom of the tank or barrel. When this occurs, we can transfer the volume of clarified wine to a new tank, leaving the bottom layer of solid particles behind. This is a process known as racking.

 

 

 


 
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