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The Crush of 2011-Hands and Feet Get Busy!

Posted by CM Support
Feb 27, 2012 | Keywords: Crush 2011  

Including all three vineyards, harvest usually begins the first or second week of September and goes through Thanksgiving. The process is very simple. The grapes are harvested in yellow boxes (25 pounds per box), dumped on a sorting table, hand sorted to remove any poor-quality fruit, pushed into a stainless steel fermentation tank, foot crushed just enough to break a few berries to get the juice running, and put on “cold soak” for 10-15 days. The cold soak keeps the grapes at 41oF to prevent fermentation, while the juice extracts color and tannin from the berries.

All fruit is harvested by hand. Because of the harvest timing differences due to the different micro-climates of our three vineyards, we are able to handle the harvest with just our own crew of 14.

Sorting is the toughest and the most critical job of all. It is the number-one labor intensive job. Because we have such high standards for what goes into the fermentation tank, it is a very slow process, even slower than picking.

We started to foot crush because we wanted to copy the winemaking methods used in Burgundy in the 1830s, when the region became world renowned. Later, we discovered how this “méthode anciene” actually worked to control tannin, before the nature of tannin—or even yeast—had been discovered. Foot crushing does not break all the grapes. It releases all of the color and “good” tannin (epigallocatechin) in the skins, but releases only a fraction of the “bad” tannin (epicatechin gallate) in the seeds. By tasting the wine daily and foot crushing appropriately, the old Burgundians learned how to “dial in” their wines without understanding exactly why.

View photos from our Harvest Party by visiting us on Facebook.