Pressing on to the Finish!

Well, our inaugural harvest is finally over! All of the 2013 wines have completed their primary fermentation (meaning the sugars in the juice have been converted to alcohol) and we have pressed the remaining grape skins and seeds to get the last good bits of flavor and complexity.

Under Erica's supervision, Steve and Jake get one of our barrels prepped for filling.

Under Erica’s supervision, Steve and Jake get one of our barrels prepped for filling.

Getting ready to insert the filling tube into one of the barrels.

Steve getting ready to insert the filling tube into one of the barrels.

Grape presses come in many different forms. Usually, it’s a large machine with an inflatable bladder inside that gently applies pressure to “wring out” additional juice/wine from the skins. The wine that is recovered in this way is generally more tannic and complex in flavor than the free run juice. We put the free run wine into one barrel, and the pressed wine into a separate barrel. Later on we will determine how best to blend the two into the finished wine.

A vacuum pump and filter are first used in the fermenting container to suck out the "free run" wine.

A vacuum pump and filter are first used in the fermenting container to suck out the “free run” wine.

Discussing strategy for extracting the last bit of free run.

Discussing strategy for extracting the last bit of free run.

How much pressure is applied in the press depends on a number of factors—the grape varietal, wine making style, and tannin structure being the most important ones. The wine is collected in a large pan below the press and is pumped into barrels for a long winter’s nap!

Press setup time.

Press setup time.

Erica maneuvers the fermenter next to the press.

Erica maneuvers the fermenter next to the press.

Jake starts transferring grape skins from the fermenter to the press.

Jake starts transferring grape skins from the fermenter to the press.

To move the grape skins from the fermenter to the press, Jake literally has to climb into the fermenter.

To move the grape skins from the fermenter to the press, Jake literally has to climb into the fermenter.

The press, full of fermented grape skins.

The press, full of fermented grape skins.

It's raining wine! The pressed liquids drain into a pan beneath the press.

It’s raining wine! The pressed liquids drain into a pan beneath the press.

The pump sucks the wine out of the pan and into a barrel.

The pump sucks the wine out of the pan and into a barrel.

Erica and Steve discuss the pressure adjustments.

Erica and Steve discuss the pressure adjustments.

Press 13

Another angle of the press in action.

So what happens now? One final step goes on in the barrel: a secondary fermentation in which bacteria will convert the malic acid in the wine to lactic acid. Because malic acid has a harsh, sharp taste, this process will result in a smoother, more pleasant wine. We expect this process to take several months and should be done by early spring.

Sherman the pug provided excellent supervision during the pressing process.

Sherman the pug provided excellent supervision during the pressing process.

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Bells Up Winery | 27895 NE Bell Road | Newberg, Oregon 97132 | 503.537.1328 | info@bellsupwinery.com

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