Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Chardonnay has arrived

Today, Edwin and I went down to pick up our Chardonnay. Jason, the winemaker at Sapid Winery, was just using his new automated grape sorting machine for the first time. To a large extent, he just needs to dump the clusters in the top and it stems, sorts, cleans out the MOG (Material Other than Grapes), drops them into the must pump and away it goes.

In Practice, it is not completely hands off, and requires some active participation to keep the stems that have been removed clear of of the shoot and make sure that everything proceeds as expected.

Grape technology has not progressed to the coffee vending machine stage and I hope it never does. But, I think tools like this allow passionate winemakers to focus on what they love to do, making great wine, and not get bogged down in some of the more mundane tasks. Also, there is probably a benefit to the end product since the time between the grapes being picked and getting into the fermenter can be reduced.

As you can see in the picture, Jason has just dumped a bin of grapes into the hopper and Edwin is seeing that they are coming out onto the shaker tray.

We picked up 400 lbs of grapes today. Packed them into our bins with dry ice for the trip home and stop over at my office until the the end of the day (I have to do some activities that actually generate income instead of consuming it.) Then, this evening, we met back at my place to press it out, sulfite it and let it cold soak for a day. It was much fun.

Tomorrow, I will adjust the chemistry, pitch the yeast and away we go.

We expect the Syrah to come in about 2 more weeks and then Zin after that.
Man, do I love this time of year.