Merlot & Petit Verdot.
Ho! Tis that time of year. Once again harvest is upon us.
The last several weeks have been dedicated to all things grape fermentation. Cleaning. Picking. Crushing. Pressing. Cajoling family and friends to come and help. And cleaning once again.
This year we headed out to the vineyard early on a Saturday morning (6:00 am) to harvest 430 lbs of Merlot and 130 lbs. of Petit Verdot.
Idyllic, you think?
I agree. Every year I look forward to this event with great enthusiasm! And by the end of the harvest, every year I remind myself that I do not want to own a vineyard. Laborious is the word that comes to mind.
But you, dear reader, can sit back, sip your beverage of choice, and enjoy the pictures!
Next step – we have the grape must – the grapes have been crushed, but not pressed. Each day they get mashed down to help extract color and flavor from the skins and seeds on a strict schedule for about 2 weeks. Yes, those are garbage cans. This is called the primary fermenter, and as long as it’s food grade and hasn’t actually been used for garbage, it works! One of the unexpected things about the must is the smell. Open the garage door and you can smell the grapes from 20 feet away – a beautiful bouquet of earth and grape.
Then there’s the getting everything into glass carboy bottles phase – Yes, there’s a method to the madness! But let’s just say that the floors got a good scrubbing when all was said and done, too.
And, finally, we get to the bulk storage phase. This one is where I do nothing and time works its magic!