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Posts Tagged ‘Wine Making’


Cabernet on the Vine

Cabernet on the Vine

This is just a short post…Today I will be heading out into the vineyards with our Vineyard Manager Kevin to take photos of the grapes as they are today. The fields are going through veraison, which means the onset of ripening! This is an exciting time at the winery as we watch this change and see the grapes getting ready for harvest and then crush!

Stay tuned as I will be doing a post on this topic!

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This week’s subject for the WordPress Photo Challenge is “Change.” This got me to thinking of the changes that I see every year in the process of making wine, so I thought that I would share with you the process of making wine…

In the winter the vineyard sleeps. While we get snow here is does not negatively effect the vines. There is a quiet beauty found in the sleeping vineyard.

The vineyard sleeps

The vineyard sleeps

When spring arrives the vines awaken. The first green makes its appearance on the vines, and this is known as “bud break.” Shortly thereafter the grape clusters appear.

After bud break the Cabernet grapes appear

After bud break the Cabernet grapes appear

Towards the end of the growing season the clusters ripen and change color.

Cabernet on the vine

Cabernet on the vine

Once harvested, the grapes are brought in. Here is a bin loaded with Cabernet waiting to start the crush process.

Cabernet waiting to be crushed

Cabernet waiting to be crushed

The grapes are dropped into an auger that will regulate the flow of grapes to the sorting table.

The process of crush begins

The process of crush begins

After being hand sorted, where bad clusters, leaves and other debris is removed, the grapes head up a conveyor to the machine that will remove the grapes from the stems.

Heading towards the destemmer

Heading towards the destemmer

From the destemmer, the grape matter, including the seeds, go straight to a tank to begin fermentation.

Ready to start fermentation

Ready to start fermentation

Once in the tank fermentation begins, and while the skins of the grapes carry a yeast, it is not enough to really get fermentation going. So good quality yeast is added. The skins and seeds, along with the juice, will sit in the tanks for a week to 10 days. When fermentation hits 50% the tanks are drained and all is processed through a crush machine. 30% of the juice that will become wine comes from the skins and seeds. Here is a shot of the juice coming out of the press.

After fermenting in tanks the skins get crushed

After fermenting in tanks the skins get crushed

From the crush machine, the juice is then transferred to barrels where it will sit for the next year and half to two years.

Barrels of wine

Barrels of wine

Work is done on the barrels throughout this time frame until the wine is ready for bottling. From there is goes out for sale. Who does not enjoy a glass of wine?

The finished product

The finished product

I hope that you enjoyed this post of change! Please take some time to check out what others have posted in this challenge by clicking here!

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope that you have a great weekend!

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When I am not writing I work at a winery in the Sierra Foothills. Below is a photo essay of my first crush! It was really an exciting time and I have been very privileged to learn a lot about the wine business, from grape growing, through fermentation, to bottling the final product.

When I first started working at the winery I was given time to go into the fields to take photos. Below are some of the photos I was able to take.

Cabernet on the Vine

These are Cabernet grapes, which up in the foothills are one of the last grapes harvested.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes Ready to Pick

These are Sauvignon Blanc grapes and they are a very fussy grape. The vines need lots of air circulation so they do not develop mold.

Chardonnay Grapes

Chardonnay is one of the most popular of the white wines. Clusters of Chardonnay are very photogenic!

When crush starts, the grapes are brought in from the fields in bins that hold between 850 to 1000 pounds. The grapes are dumped into a device that has an auger that regulates the flow of grapes to the sorting table. Here is a photo of grapes being dropped into the device with the auger.

Chardonnay on the way to be crushed.

At the winery that I work at the grapes are hand sorted as they drop onto the sorting table. Leaves, grapes that are not good quality, and any bugs that are found are removed from the line.

Grapes being hand sorted.

From there the grapes are dropped into a machine that removes the grapes from the stems.

Grapes drop into the de-stemmer

The white grapes then go into the press, while the red grapes go from the de-stemmer right into tanks. Here is a photo of Chardonnay coming out of the press.

Chardonnay right off the press!

The red grapes, skins, seeds and juice are all run through the press after sitting in the tanks. Thirty percent of the juice from the red grapes comes from what settles at the bottom of the tank. Here is a photo of Petite Sirah dripping from the press:

Petite Sirah off the press!

From there, the juice goes back into the tanks.

The tanks


My first crush was one that I will always remember, and I am happy to share the experience with you through the photos that I have taken. Next time you enjoy a glass of wine, remember that this is what those little guys had to go through to get to your glass! Cheers!

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