Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grape harvest small scale - creating homegrown wines part 2

So, in my infinite wisdom, I was able to conveniently find myself rather busy on the day of harvest a week or so ago at the Crawford 'estate' for the annual Cabernet Sauvignon grape harvest.  But as I had participated in the harvest the year before, my curiosity got the better of me and I couldn't wait to see the next step...hopefully it was less labor intensive.

While the idea of grape pressing always calls to mind the image of Lucille Ball, dress hitched up, stomping in a large barrel full of grapes, I was relieved to find this was a rather antiquated way of pressing grapes, and thankfully not one I would be participating in today.

Once at the Crawford home I was excited to find both David and Lorraine already full swing into the crushing of the grapes. But I found, even this is a science. The tops were removed from large bins holding grapes that had been sterilized and with wine yeast added. The mush (which I am sure has a technical name that I am not aware of) had a heady scent, musky yet rich. Definitely smelling of early wine stages. Not that I ever knew what that meant before, but now I did.

Large scoops were ladled into the grape press and the juices began to flow.

Photos: Me ladling de-stemmed, crushed grapes into grape press and David showing how much juice still remains in the mush prior to pressing.

As I ladled, Lorraine collected bucket after bucket of 'free run' juice; pouring carefully into a carboy. (A 5 gallon jug.) The juice collected from the free run is stored separate from the juice collected after the crush as the press allows more of the skins coloring and flavor to mingle with the juice.

In all, we collected 23 gallons of Cabernet Sauvignon juice, which will equate to over 100 bottles of delicious wine, which can be consumed in approximately three years.

Thank you David and Lorraine for a great day and a fun learning experience.

Charity Maness