Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

Manual Punch Downs – hand and foot

This may be the most grueling phase of harvest: the sea of manual punch downs to move through a couple times a day.  It has been days, weeks even of processing fruit safely to fermenter.  Everyone is exhausted.  Bodies are sore; you can see the weariness in eyes, but the show must go on.  Once fermentation has started, and the must starts to heat up with activity, winemakers start “punch-downs”.  This process involves using a sanitized tool to submerge the cap of grapes that rises to the top of the tank.

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Harvest 2014 is upon us

As of this week, harvest is officially underway in the Northern Willamette Valley.

That’s not to say that everyone is picking.  We brought in a few tons of Chasselas Dore and Muscat Ottonel at just under 18 brix over the weekend, but everything else is still out there enjoying the last days of pristine sunshine before we bring the fruit in to the winery.  Picking at 18 brix will give wonderfully bright, low alcohol wines, which is why those varietals are generally harvested so much earlier than the rest.  The aromas of freshly fermenting Muscat Ottonel in the production room serve as an aperitivo to what will surely come, quite soon.  Clipping clusters of Chasselas in the Dundee Hills last week, the guys recounted their memories of when they last picked this early – noventa y dos – 1992.  That is not to say that this year’s harvest is quite as early as ’92, which began September 5th, and progressed very steadily in order to avoid pH and sugar levels rising up dangerously high.  No, this early pick was relaxed, fun and a good couple weeks before anything else will come – a ‘family pick’ to kick off the season.  The flavors in the grapes were soft, and the bright acids and low sugar levels will produce refreshing wines at under 10% alcohol.