When I last spoke of our winemaking endeavors at Make Wine With Us, we had crushed the grapes to make a must. Ryan had a chance to crush some grapes himself last week.

But for the most part this past week’s class was about pressing the must.  We first had to prep our barrel by washing with hot water, soda ash (like baking soda), and finally with citric acid. The barrels used for the class have already been used a couple of times, which means our grapes will not have an oaky smell or taste.  However, the barrels still give the grapes a chance to breath in a way they cannot in steel tanks.

We are using american oak and a range of sizes. Which was new to me, I didn’t realize there were specialized barrels for making a Bordeaux style compared to a Burgundy for example.

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Ryan helping to clean barrel. I was the photographer this week.

Next it was time to press the grapes!

The first step, transferring the liquid-using a wire basket and hose.

And then the grape skin must.

It was messy fun!

More liquid from the grapes even before the pressing began!

The packed grape skins after hours of pressing.

We also had the chance to taste at each stage of the process.  The liquid straight from the tube, once put into the press, and the liquid that emerged once the pressing began.  The initial had the highest alcohol concentration, about 6%. Each subsequent taste has less alcohol but more sugar-the yeast still have lots of work to do!

And that’s it! We’ll have chances to come throughout the year to taste and see the progress of the wines.

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