Pressing Montepulciano grapes is done after fermentation is finished.
Now we get to go through the whole process of pressing Montepulciano. It's a fun process! We go through the same pressing process with Aglianico, I just didn't get any pictures.
Here is the big picture! Silas and John are packing the press. Christoph is making sure the juice level isn't getting to high in the tray of the press or in the bucket. Zane and Julian are pouring and straining the juice into the tote.
So first we fill the press. One person fills the press while one or more people push down the grapes. That way we can get a really full press.
The press works better when it is super full so that is why we pack it.
To start, we like to just pour the juice into the press. Then we scoop up more grapes and by the time we get to the top of the press, what we're pouring in is really a mix of berries and juice.
These pictures were taken in the morning and it was cold, so almost everybody is bundled up. The juice does stain your clothes so that is why sleeves are pushed up and jackets are off.
Silas is packing the press, getting it all ready to put the top on.
It takes a lot of pressing, packing, emptying and repeat! But we like to have a good time and as you can see, we are. All these guys make work fun.
In these pictures, you can see that it has warmed up, no coats!
We are using the same bladder press that we used to press Roussanne. The steel drum (called the basket) holds the fruit in it. The green sleeve keeps the juice flowing down the basket and into the tray. We use up to ~14 pounds of water pressure pressing out these grapes.
The juice is tasting good. We like to keep a cup close by so we can see how they taste! The Montepulciano juice has a good strong flavor and is a little tart. The tartness will mellow with age. The Aglianico is tasting very nice and strong and it also has a peppery taste to it. It will be neat to see how these two mellow and change as they sit and age!
Once the process of pressing Montepulciano grapes is complete, it is time to pour up the juice. We are putting it into totes this go around.
To finish up the process, we pour the juice into totes. It runs through a strainer first, that way it's nice and clean.
We will store the juice in totes for a while but then we will move them to stainless steel tanks. Also, we are keeping them separate and not mixing them.
We also have to get rid of the grape skins. All of the skins that are left over from the juice (called the must), we put on a trailer and then shovel out into the vineyard. I didn't get a picture of that but I did get an arm workout!
We spread the must in the vineyard because it has the yeast bacteria in it. Since it has been used in the fermentation process it is thought to be helpful in replenishing good bacteria in the vines. You can think of it as a probiotic for the vineyard!
Make sure you check out the links below for some more vineyard fun!