When life gives you grapes, make wine!

Once back at the college with the two alfalfa bins containing our morning labor (stored in the cellar to cool) and the machinery in place we began the destemming process, literally removing the fruit from the stem.

I was still really overheated from securing netting in the vineyard and feeling dehydrated, so I listened, took lots of pictures, as you will see, and carried or moved what needed moving.

Dumping cleaners over all of the working surfaces of the destemmer.
Dumping cleaners over all of the working surfaces of the destemmer.
Keeping the grapes cold.
Bringing the grapes out of the cool of the cellar.

Before the fruit, we cleaned, everything: machinery, hand tools, all hoses, gaskets and clamps.  If anything dropped to the ground or came into contact with something other than the grapes, it was cleaned again.  Dipping your hands into the bins to wash the clamps and such also cleaned our hands.  Once this cleaning had been accomplished, the grapes in the large bins were brought forth on the forklift and put on the tipping platform.

Frozen Muscat Ottonel grape discarded by the destemmer - lovely honey flavor.
Frozen Muscat Ottonel grape discarded by the destemmer – lovely honey flavor.
Stems, a few wayward grapes and carbon dioxide frost discarded.
Stems, a few wayward grapes and carbon dioxide frost discarded.

We used carbon dioxide to keep the fruit cold and minimize the oxygen contact; this was important as the oxidation of the fruit produces a distinct brown color.  Think apple core or banana peel and you know why we do this.  The bins or tanks get carbon dioxide, the fruit gets it, anywhere it will be confined it is gassed to ensure minimal oxygen/maximum cooling.  Sometimes maximum cooling means freezing – which is yummy.

Tipping Muscot grapes into the destemmer; sorting leaves and bad fruit by hand.
Tipping Muscat grapes into the destemmer; sorting leaves and bad fruit by hand.
Chardonnay grape juice when first pressed - not terribly appetizing, but we know it changes.
Chardonnay grape juice when first pressed – not terribly appetizing, but we know it changes.

In this case we put the grapes and juice into a bin and back into the cellar.  Tuesday, when we had Chardonnay grapes coming in, we pressed the Muscat grapes into juice and put it into the tank, to sit another twenty-four hours as juice.

Our Chardonnay went right into the press, stems and all, to be juiced.  More carbon dioxide to keep the oxidation to a minimum until it went into the tank.

During the pressing we cleaned hands, tools, clamps, and the crush pad repeatedly.  When we put up all the juice in tanks we began to clean in earnest.  Again, everything that was in contact, which would again be in contact, with grapes was cleaned.  We happen to have a very bad infestation of wasps and hornets this year.  If there was any grape juice to be had, they stuck around to get it.  They were ruthless in the heat, so imagine them as our temperatures cool down and food supplies dwindle.  Going to be an interesting harvest season.

‘Til next time.

2 thoughts on “When life gives you grapes, make wine!

  1. Holy Cow! This sounds like very hard work. Is this to get your educated about the whole wine making process? You are going to get in extra good shape. Go Girl! Kim

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s