So it is that time of year and I am in the thick of it here in Sonoma County where I work at a winery. Since there are a bunch of people who I am sure are going to be trying to make wine this year, I thought that I would show them a little bit of wine making porn to keep them interested in it.
I try to keep taking pictures, but there is really only so much I can do in a day and I am beat right now as I post this. It has been a really long week full of grapes and cleaning things. You think that you clean your stuff at home and get tired of it, come work in the cellar for harvest!
So without further babbling, I will start posting some pictures of things.
Our guys spend all morning working really hard picking grapes so that around the noon hour or so we can start to crush them. This is some old vine zin that is about 80 years old or so.
We put the picked grapes into the pick bins on the back end of the tractor and when full drop them off at the weigh station to find out how much we have.
At the weigh station we do a couple of things. First we weigh them of course. Then we look at them and give a taste or two to figure out what they look like, whether there are raisens, how the flavors are coming along and that sort of thing. Then we crush the grapes. Since while crushing we are working I can't really take a picture of it, but just know that it is a big sticky hot mess that we do in the sun.
After crushing the grapes they go into our one ton fermenters for about a week to do their thing.
In the fermenters they go from the starting sugar of about 25 brix (25% sugar or 1.100) down to about 2% before we press. That gives us an average of about 14.5%abv on the finished wine. It will knock off that last couple percent sugar in the barrel after pressing.
These are freshly crushed grapes. They sit for a day after crushing to soak up and equalize in temperature. Then we add the yeast.
The yeast then sits for a day until it gets homogenized well into the must and that is when we do our first punchdown. Essentially it is three days in before we really start to punch down the cap.
Then we get a healthy fermentation going, so much so that with certain varietals of grapes, we actually have massive amounts of foam all over that come bursting through the cap. That is when it is hard to actually punch down without spilling onto the floor! I will even take the temp from time to time
Great pictures, how many tons do you crush? I work at a vineyard, being downunder we are just finishing pruning. We put the fruit bins on a trailer pulled behind an atv.
I manage to keep out of the winery most of the time, its madness at vintage time.