21 January 2015

The makings of a great wine... In Clare Valley

Sometimes making wine is fun.  Like pumpovers.  It's great to smell the Shiraz as the air breaks through the cap, mellowing out those harsh tannins.  You really feel as if you're making great progress.  And then sometimes...

 SOMETIMES you have to scrub the walls of all the residue left from all that splashing around from the pumping over work. This is not fun. Or easy.
But after all that work, racking, pressing, pumping over, etc... You finally get to put that glorious juice in barrel, where you... Wait for a long time (here, a year minimum) before you get to see what the flavors start to evolve into.
Just another part of the process: I was fortunate enough to work with a PhD in the lab, testing wines and writing math on blackboards... It was a geek's dream!  Chemistry isn't exactly my thing, but cooking & Math I'm darn good at--so my instructor had me mix chemicals and do ratios, and I was pretty darn helpful.  I can follow formulas as long as it's just numbers, mate!
Here, we're measuring for temperature and solids.  We did pH and TA tests on wines as they were being made to make sure they were balanced and stable.

Yep. I LOVED this.
Anyone ever wonder what happens to all the by-product from winemaking? Well, the pomace (seeds, skins, stems-called must during winemaking) is a great fertilizer.  It's a great way to be more sustainable.  Another way to utilize waste?  Kevin and I head to the Barossa tomorrow to deliver a batch of this to make neutral grain spirit for Kilikanoon's first fortified dessert wine!

I just think wine going through the destemmer is sexy...
Here's another gratuitous shot.

And some juice. I didn't feel this post would make you thirsty enough...

I'll share more about actual blending coming up!  This is such a labor of love that it's invigorating being around masters in their work.  I hope I managed to relay a little of that passion!  Cheers!