Crushing on Grapes – Part Two

Growing up, harvest was a season. An entire season devoted to potatoes, beets and grain. They even pulled us out of school (seriously, they shut school DOWN) so that we could go help out the farmers. Sometimes I enjoyed this if I got to drive truck. Many times I despised it since it meant standing on your feet for 12+ hours picking clods off the conveyor line. At the end of each day you were guaranteed a sweet paycheck and an album’s worth of unique and really stupid songs about potatoes.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d experience another harvest first-hand after leaving for college. But it seems the joke’s on me – not only am I experiencing another harvest but I’m kind of LIKING it. Clearly, I’ve been sipping some juice.

I don’t love the physical toll it takes on my husband but I do love the look of accomplishment on his face from time to time, even though nothing ever feels completely accomplished in the world of a winemaker. I love the grapes. They’re pretty and messy and smell like super earthy and undrinkable wine just a day after being picked and sitting in mounds in their bins. I hate the bees, those cocky jerks. I love the sound of the grape juice rushing out of the crusher/de-stemmer and into containers for fermentation. The clean-up is tedious and never-ending. The fruit flies are unrelenting. But the reward is amazing and the end result is a bit hard to wrap your mind around if you’ve never witnessed the winemaking process from start to finish. I mean we all understand that in the end there is WINE and that is exciting! But if you knew every little detail about how it became wine you’d find a generous amount of fascination to it, as simple as it might be.

With that said, here are a few photos from our Syrah crush last week as well as a few I snapped just yesterday from the fermentation bins, which we have to stir up every 4 to 6 hours right now. I meant to take some photos of the Riesling as it was actively fermenting but it has already been laid to rest in shiny stainless steel barrels. If you missed the Riesling crush photos from my last post you can check that out here.

So now that harvest is over for us we have just entered the next phase in the winemaking process of our Riesling and Syrah – The Wait. You likely won’t taste the end result until late 2015 for the Riesling and at the very least it’ll be late 2016 for the Syrah. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated on their journeys here.

For now, enjoy!

The Arrival

Pretty clusters all ready to go
Pretty clusters all ready to go

syraharrival2.jpg

 

The Crushing/De-stemming

Those paddles do the work of minions.
Those paddles do the work of minions.

 

The paddles break it all up and send the grapes out the bottom and into bins for fermentation.
The paddles break it all up and send the grapes out the bottom and into bins for fermentation.
Scraping the bottom of one grape bin, where the juice already smells like wine.
Scraping the bottom of one grape bin, where the juice already smells like wine.

 

The Sidelines

The unwanted pile
The unwanted pile.

 

This is how the grapes look as soon as they find a new home in the fermentation bins.
This is how the grapes look as soon as they find a new home in the fermentation bins
What you don't see here are about 50 more of these guys' friends hovering over us.
What you don’t see are about 50 more of these guys’ friends hovering over us.

 

The Fermentation (3 Days Later)

3 days later, the grapes have started to break down
3 days later, the grapes have started to break down
Stirring it all up every 4 to 6 hours so every grape has a chance to touch the juice.
Stirring it all up every 4 to 6 hours so every grape has a chance to touch the juice.

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