Friday, February 19, 2010

What the Heck is a Shaker Table?

I've used that term a few times. It's not 19th century furniture. It's a special gizmo that shakes the grapes after they have done through a destemmer. The shaking takes place over a grate and the result is that the whole berries pass through to the fermentation tanks and any other 'gunk' that was too small to pick out in sorting falls through.

I found a picture here:

The option I'm after is not this solid table, but rather one with the grate feature. This would allow us to get even cleaner fermentation bins than we have now and it's similar to a system we've used at Big Basin Vineyards on some of our wines.

In order for the table to work we would also need to upgrade our crusher destemmer to something like this:

This unit has an option to just de-stem the grapes without crushing them, which is what we would need to do for the table to be effective.

The table runs about $12,000 and the destemmer, for the small size we need is about $18,000. We would also need about $4000 in other equipment to mount the entire thing correctly into our space. In addition to the cleaner bins this would also mean we would not have to do the truck balancing destemmer routine at Chardonnay harvest. (See my blog picture). This set up would just roll right over the press.

So $34,000 is a ton of money for our little operation. That's why we've put so many other things on hold. We don't 'need' this, what we have now works very well, but this would allow us to squeeze a little more quality out of each wine.

If you don't see us in your town this year, remember theses pictures and you'll know why.


NJFoodies said...

So with this said, are you planning on doing more whole cluter fermentation? Do you plan on using this for wines other than the chardonnay? Just curious...not even sure exactly what all it does, but I find it interesting. Cheers!

Paul Romero said...

For whole cluster we actually by-pass the de-stemmer all together. This would allow me to destem but leave the berries whole. It also lets you remove any 'jacks', which are small bits of stems left after the large ones are removed.

For some wines its no big deal, but on the Estate Cab from CdO it would help us soften the tannins more and bring out more red fruit flavor.

It's mostly fine tuning.