This season seems to be weirdly accelerated. After an unusually cool spring and summer, we had a blast of heat, then a threatened early rainy season. That got us bringing in most of the varietals from the field nearly a month before we usually do. But with our new set-up, it wasn’t a problem. In past years, Andy, Cousin John and I have struggled to get one varietal in, crushed and in primary fermentation. Typically, we’d collapse, but would have at least a week to recover before the next varietal came ripe. This year we crushed and processed three varietals in a less than 24 hour period, including the Cabernet which accounts for more than half our vineyard. Give the credit to the new crusher/destemmer and the new stainless steel fermentation tanks, a set-up that replaces brute force and ignorance with hoses and pumps.
Now it seems, our upgraded crushing facilities are going to make the transition from primary fermentation to secondary fermentation just as easy. With Cousin John off in England, Andy and I had to handle the pressing and transfer of the Grenache on our own. It went down as smoothly as a nice…well, a nice glass of Grenache.
So we pump most of the liquid out of the primary fermentation tank and into the press.
Skins and juice are hosed or hauled into the press, the lid is screwed on and a giant balloon is inflated inside which presses the grapes and skins against the perforated sides of the press.