K, Syrah, Syrah…

Nate lifting the bin of Syrah wine out of the cellar so we can begin separating the juice from the skins, seeds and stems.
Nate lifting the bin of Syrah wine out of the cellar so we can begin separating the juice from the skins, seeds and stems.

Despite the overcast, damp day, it was an exciting day: it was Syrah pressing day!  These are grapes from Cockburn Ranch Vineyard, in NE Oregon, that we began a couple of weeks ago as a special project, with punch downs, T’s & B’s two-four times a day through last night.  The cap of skins, stems, and seeds was thick and dry on top so we had most of the juice below the surface.

Long, narrow sieve giving us access to juice without the solids in the way.
Long, narrow sieve giving us access to juice without the solids in the way.

Using a long narrow sieve, much like a colander in your kitchen, the juice without the solids flood into the space.  Using a sanitized wand to extract the juice with the pump, we moved it into a 300 gallon poly tank.  Naturally, the solids sank in relation to the juice removed from below them.  Eventually, we had too many solids to allow juice into the sieve.  Next we did the same thing with the small poly tank we had the remaining Syrah in until we reached the same point.

We got the poly tank into the stainless tank - no small feat.
We got the poly tank into the stainless tank – no small feat.

Then it was time to determine best method to get the remaining poly tank contents into the press as it was very heavy but not secure on the barrel stand.  We hoisted it up at an angle against the stainless bin and

Deb scrambling to shovel what was left into the bin so we could get to the press.
Deb scrambling to shovel what was left into the bin so we could get to the press.

heaved it over the side, upside down.  Suction!  It took a bit of shifting and shaking of the smooth-sided tank to loosen the suction and tilt it.  Thankfully, amongst our present group there was a tall enough person to grasp the lip of the poly tank to drag it up – and then Deb manually shoveled the remaining stuff out of it.  Team work made this a successful method – have I mentioned I have a great group to go through this program with?

Bladder press, if you look closely you can see the large, dark bladder inside the press that inflates to 'press' the grapes.
Bladder press, if you look closely you can see the large, dark bladder inside the press that inflates to ‘press’ the grapes.
Dumping the stainless bin into the press.
Dumping the stainless bin into the press.
The bin filled the press to capacity!
The bin filled the press to capacity!

Juice was running out through the small holes throughout the sides of the press as it was filled.

 

 

Four lids in place with stainless rods to hold them and we were ready to go.
Four lids in place with stainless rods to hold them and we were ready to go.
You can see the color, but the aroma was just as lovely.
You can see the color, but the aroma was just as lovely.
So much wine, even after removing most of it before we began pressing.
So much wine, even after removing most of it before we began pressing.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers, to the first taste of a red wine made by our own hands.  Very young and green, as it should be at this stage.
Cheers, to the first taste of a red wine made by our own hands. Very young and green, as it should be at this stage.

Wine is a sensory experience, so is wine making!  The noise of the machines in the cellar and the peaceful quietude of the vineyard.  The cold or hot temperatures of the vineyard and the cellar – never mind the influence of the weather on the crush pad.  The visual hues of the grapes, juices or wines.  The aromas, or odors, of the juices, yeasts, whether desired or not, etc.  The taste of each grape and its juice, the taste of each wine in different stages of ferment.  Romantic?

Wine, lots of wine!
Wine, lots of wine!
Dry, what we didn't want is left behind.
Dry, what we didn’t want is left behind.

We had the right equipment to get this done promptly.  It took fifteen minutes to pull the majority of the juice into the tank.  Another forty-five minutes and the press gave us the rest of the juice.  It took much longer to set up and sanitize each piece of equipment, then again to clean and sanitize everything we used again.  Less romantic, but so very worth it.

2 thoughts on “K, Syrah, Syrah…

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