We had continued the daily routine of punch downs and checks on the fermenting wine with Millie and Jerry doing the assistant winemaker duties while we were away. Saturday we were back at it again.
This year we bought 1 1/2 tons of Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah from Ian Brand. I worked with Ian while he was at Big Basin Vineyards and he manages this 17 year old vineyard. We'll see how the fruit turns out this year. It may go into the Haut Tubee or if it turns out well I'll bottle it on its own.
This is all the area we have to process fruit. Millie, Jerry, Ysidro and I handled just over a ton. The yield was a little light, just about 1.5 tons on the 1/2 acre site and Ian had promised 750 pounds to someone else. I was happy with how the fruit looked after processing and it's now in a bin waiting for the wild yeast to start fermenting it.
It was also time to press the Crimson Clover Cabernet Sauvignon and two batches of the Haut Tubee. We used the big press for the Crimson Clover. This is the juice coming out 'free run' from the press before we actually turn it on and start to squeeze the grapes. I usually press very lightly. The yields are so low in all our vineyards that I don't want to force out tannins from seeds. The grapes have enough flavor due to the small yields without pressing hard.
You want to keep enough juice in the tray that you don't risk spoiling it with oxygen. This is a pretty good amount. The wine is then pumped inside to another tank to settle for 24-48 hours before going into barrel. While I watched after the press Stefania got the barrels ready. The juice smelled and tasted fantastic and I think the Crimson Clover vineyard will become a favorite of a lot of people.
We had just about 40 gallons of Haut Tubee to do so I did that in a small wooden press instead of the big bladder press. It seemed like most of the day was spent cleaning up as the bins, both presses, barrels, fermentation bins and tanks all had to be cleaned. We also had to set up the crusher for the next day and prep the bins for our next pick.