Harvest & Wine

learning to make wine slowly

A Yeasty Affair

Ed chooses to inoculate his wine with cultured yeast. When I asked him what the differences were he said that it took him many years to realize that there was no difference (he used to work with fruit’s ambient yeast in the past), as they, in his opinion, essentially produce the same results in the end.

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It’s a Learning Curve

Just to catch you up on some of the small and large things I’ve learned or have finally committed to memory from having worked at Ed’s winery…

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The Aroma and Aural Nature of a Working Winery

I have fallen in love with so many unique scents and sounds at Ed’s winery. Here are some of my favorites so far.

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I’m Fixin’ to Take a Brix Readin’

On learning about Brix: Like every part of winemaking, there are various points at which you must check the Brix (sugar level your grapes are at) in order to make choices about the wine to keep it on a healthy path. I never knew that on the day fruit is crushed or destemmed, its Brix levels do not read accurately due to the new temperature state the fruit is in. It may read too high or too low.

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Crushing for the Client

As I mentioned before, I’ve been in the sales part of the wine industry for over 4 years now and so today, it was fascinating to see Ed checking in with his custom crush clients to get the particulars of what they wanted done with regard to their fruit.

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Tales from the Crib of a Hopper & Destemmer

It’s getting easier and easier for me to get up earlier and earlier to meet the early-morning demands of harvest. This morning, I was at the winery a bit past 6am to receive about 7 macro bins of Peterson Pinot, weighing in the range of 700-1000 lbs each. I met Ruben who delivered the fruit and had a great chat with him as Ed forklifted each bin off the flatbed and weighed it on an electric scale and had me record the gross weights. Later, Ed would subtract the “tare” which is the weight of the bin itself minus the gross weight of the fruit to arrive at the net weight. This is what you report to get billed for.

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It’s All About the “Pin”

Today we received early morning Sauvignon Blanc fruit from Adam and Stacy Hersly for their label Hersly, custom crush clients of Ed’s. Adam trained as an intern under Ed and so he prefers to do some of the work himself while allowing Ed to do the rest, so technically, it’s a partial custom crush.

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Cleaning Up for Harvest

The harvest season at August West officially kicks off this coming Wednesday. Even though we’ve already gotten through some bins of early-ripening Pinot fruit, were getting a lot more of it this coming week. It will be Pinot from the Peterson Vineyard I believe and we will be using a mechanical sorter and hopper. Anyway, as I learn more and more about what to do in a winery to meet safety and quality standards, here are some much-needed techniques I’ve practiced and must commit to memory (Warning! This list could be particularly boring, so feel free to skip this post if you like!):

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Barrel Cleanin’ n Steamin’

I’m learning that for every task that might otherwise sound like a detail to an ear outside the winery, there accompanies with it a massive amount of work, technique, safety checks, and expensive equipment to maneuver that are heavy and large in size. (If my sisters saw me brandishing some of this stuff they’d probably be sitting by on the sidelines with their hands over their eyes while slightly giggling at the same time.) Today, I learned all about handling equipment to clean barrels correctly and safely so as not to cause a barrel to explode or give myself a face steam I’d never forget.

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