While most of us know which wines we favour, many of us are unsure about the actual process used to make red wine. Did you know that red wines looks red because it ferments in its skins? Here’s a very simplified look at our process and how we go about making our red wines at Adamo Estate Winery:
- During harvest, we pick the grapes, weigh them on our crush pad and process them in our crusher/de-stemmer. Crushed fruit, vs. destemmed whole berry fruit, gives a different flavour
profile, so the use of the machine depends on the type of grape we’re using.
- The fruit is placed into our blue tanks, where it gets cold soaked on the skins for 3-7 days. This helps to extract tannens, helps with colour stability and gets the enzymes started working.
We warm the tanks and we either a) start a wild/natural fermentation process allowing existing yeast to start the fermentation process, or, b) we build a commercial yeast culture.
- Next we press the wine off the skins in our basket press and taste throughout. While tasting throughout the pressing process, the decision to stop pressing is made when the flavours and tannens are in balance without any other extraction. Then we allow that to settle in new tanks for 3-7 days and then we rack off, which means that we take the clean wine from the sediment and put it into specifically selected barrels (specifically selected for each batch: toast, cooper and barrel age all factor in.)
- A second fermentation occurs at this point, called malolactic fermentation, which is the conversion of malic acid into lactic acid, resulting in a round, full flavour. Also, because the barrels breathe, they introduce a small amount of oxygen into the mix, which matures and stabilizes the wine.
- Aging continues and we decide (based on taste) how long to keep it in barrel. “The wine will tell us,” is the philosophy that Shauna, our Winemaker, follows.
6. Next we pressurize the barrels with nitrogen, which pushes the wine into tanks. Filtration occurs afterwards, if necessary.
- Bottling and labeling is the final step in our process.
That’s a straightforward, simplified look at how red wine-making happens at Adamo Estate Winery.