The Second Stage in the Winemaking Process.
Felix Egerer is our winemaker guide again and this is the second instalment of our sub-series on winemaking operations. We are moving down the line in the winemaking process. In Instalment 1 “The Harvest Decision” Felix told us all about the science and art of determining when the grapes are at the optimum ripeness for harvest in order to make phenomenal wine. Now we have harvested the grapes and have transported them to the winery. It is time for the winery crew, including the all of the winemaking interns that have gathered for this year’s “crush”, to spring into action.
Why Winemakers Get Excited About Crush
This is the most exciting time of the winemaking year and for Felix and most winemakers this is their favourite part of the whole process. The crush is a period of hard physical work, long days and high-stakes winemaking operations. It is a very physical operation. There are physical risks in terms of moving industrial equipment including forklifts, presses, conveyor belts and pumps. There are also risks that a major winemaking mistake might be made. An entire batch of wine could be ruined due to a moment of inattention. But it is also the time when everybody on the crew has a hand in making wine. And celebrating the transformation of fruit to the nectar of the Gods!
Red, White and Rosé
In this episode Felix tells us about the different processes involved in making each of white wine, red wine and rosé. In some ways each process is simple and the differences might seem sort of minor. But to really understand the wine in your glass, it is helpful to know the fundamental differences in how each type of wine is made. And the processes are cool to understand!
For example, the juice for white wine is pressed off the skins almost immediately upon delivery to the winery. After a day of clarification there is a very pure, clear juice which is ready for fermentation. On the other hand, red wine is fermented with the skins and seeds and often even with the stems all together in the fermentation vessel. So the fermented product in red winemaking is not a nice clear juice ready for almost immediate drinking. Instead it is a mass of juice, pulp, seeeds, sticks and other plant material. Its alcoholic and can be delicious yet in a messy, mushy form. The “free-run” raw wine is racked off and the heavier semi-solid remains are shovelled out of the tank and pressed to remove the wine.
There are a lot of subtleties and Felix does a fantastic job of illuminating the winemaking process on the crushpad. Join us for the margaritas and a good old chin wag about “Tetris on the Crushpad”!
More Cocktails Episodes Are On The Way!
Come back to The Wine Beat for future Cocktails episodes including the next one, The Magic of Fermentation.