Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Crushing at Crushpad

I was at Crushpad this morning because our Ink Grade Vineyard lot had been harvested yesterday and I wanted to participate in the destemming/crushing process. Of course, the first thing I did when I arrived at Crushpad was tasting the fruit. The berries were delicious, very sweet and flavorful. I also noticed how carefully hand-picked the grapes had been. The clusters were very clean and uniformly ripe with very few green or sunburned and shriveled berries. According to the final harvest data provided by Crushpad, the grapes had been picked at Brix 25.5, pH 3.39, and TA 7.5 g/l.

The destemmer/crusher is a machine that gently separates the berries from the stems to avoid bitter tannins, and then slightly crushes them. But before being fed through the destemmer/crusher machine, the grapes go on a sorting conveyor where they are carefully inspected and where leaves and bad berries can be removed.

Our fruit is brought over to be destemmed/crushed

The grapes are dumped into the destemmer/crusher machine

On the sorting conveyor

The destemmed berries

The leftover stems are falling out of the destemmer/crusher machine

The final mix of juice, pulp and seeds called the must

After being crushed, the must, which is the final mix of juice, pulp and seeds, is ready to undergo a cold maceration. Cold maceration is a relatively new technique and a way to increase skin contact and extract color and phenolics. The grapes are thus chilled to 14ºC/60ºF for a couple of days in order to inhibit fermentation.

Now, after cold soaking, the next step will be to come back to Crushpad to inoculate our must with our chosen yeast, the BDX - Bordeaux Red.

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