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