November 29, 2011

Harvest 2011 part 6: barreling

At this point, the new wine from each fermenter settles for a few days in a separate container. Press wine is kept separate as well. Everything settles for a few days before the wine goes into barrel. All that's left to do now is fill barrels.

Filling barrels means washing barrels first, then smelling them to see if they're fit for wine. These two look beautiful and smell sweet and fresh despite a few years of prior use. Good French oak - all we use - is a wonderful thing for wine.

Each barrel gets filled and tagged with a note on what's inside. Barrels are paired side by side on racks, the racks then stacked three high and put away into the barrel storage area.

To wait. And wait.

Through the winter and spring, when the malolactic fermentation will happen, softening what are now young, raw wines. Then into the summer, before the wines will be drawn off the fine sediment that settles out in barrel and blended for bottling before the next harvest.

Once the last barrel is filled and the final tanks and hoses cleaned out, harvest is done. Now it's time for a harvest dinner to celebrate the vintage. Tomorrow night in fact, I can't wait.

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