Pressing Day 2016 5


A short video clip of Pressing Day: contortionist John, shoveling Brothers, goodbye to the valiant grape skins:

 

 

Something about the day of press that always evokes a shiver.

shovelling out the tanks

shoveling out the tanks

John climbing to top of tank

John climbing to top of tank

It’s the time of year when that same neighbor reminds me of the young man who died trying to pull his father out of a vat; both were overcome by carbon dioxide, both found by the mother.

Henri and Julien, brothers at work

Henri and Julien, brothers at work

Yesterday I opened the lid of a high tank at the end of fermentation. That woozy sensation, precursor to the fainting-and-falling scenario, was demonic indeed.

To say nothing of that pneumatic press we used to rent – I shivered each time John’s feet dangled over the relentlessly churning, mangling “must” pump.

 

Oof!

 

John controls the fancy hydraulic press

John controls the fancy hydraulic press

Fortunately, today we have a fancy, vertical hydraulic press.   What a baby!   Craftsmanship from Italy, hand curved wooden slats, virile, iron bolts and above all – that delicate touch.

This press is a real gentleman.   Like in the olden days.

moving the press baskets

moving the press baskets

Yesterday John was back inside the tanks.   I shivered less since both boys were at his side.   Our gentle press requires a lot more human effort than the scary old one, and clearly demonstrates that muscles aren’t just cute, they’re actually useful.

Julien shoveling grape skins into the press basket

Julien shoveling grape skins out of the tank

We press the grapes three times to collect the juice, but stop before the pressure will extract too much of the tannins.    Knowing when to stop is part of making wine that is smooth.

boys raising the press basket

boys raising the press basket

press basket hanging over trailer

press basket hanging over trailer

squeezed grape pancake ready to depart

squeezed grape pancake ready to depart

Henri shovels the skins outside

Henri shovels the skins outside

Pressing Day means the FA (alcohol fermentation) is finished.   We’ve extracted the best of flavors, color and perfume and say thanks to the generous skins who gave their all.     It’s funny, after all their companionship in the tanks, and despite his purple hands, John is always a little sad when the grapes take their leave.

John walks vineyard at the end of a winemaking cycle

Pressing done, John walks vineyard

 

The MLF (malolactic fermentation) now follows – another stage that brings smoothness. When it’s done, the red “juice” can officially be called “wine.”

So far, so good for La Tourbeille 2016.    After an exceptional summer of gorgeous, dry and warm, all signs point to an exceptional vintage.

La Tourbeille Vineyard, top of the hill, November #latourbeillevineyard

La Tourbeille Vineyard, top of the hill, November
#latourbeillevineyard

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Pressing Day 2016

  • Christine

    hi everyone!
    Quelle ballade, magnifique! Partager les mouvements, les émotions, les ressentis … j’ai l’impression de sentir les émanations, les craintes, la fierté, l’amour de ce travail.
    J’ai vécu longtemps au milieu des vignes mais jamais au centre de ce travail. Pour moi cela fait articulation avec mon adolescence, observatrice du lent processus de maturation des raisins, sans rien savoir de la suite!
    Merci pour la ballade, c’est toujours un plaisir de vous lire.
    Amitiés
    Christine

  • Laura Sandifer McGown

    What a wonderful post! It leaves me in awe actually seeing all that is involved! How I wish Johnny and Lucie could see how your family is following in the wine making tradition at LaTourbeille. I hope that someday I can visit with you again.

  • Lori Richards

    Your exceptional vintage this year is a direct reflection of the exceptional vintage of the Sandifer family. I’m blessed to get to participate from afar through your blog. I’m always surrounding each of you with love.

    I was particularly happy to get to hear your voice at the end of the video, Mary. (And to see all those “cute and useful” Sandifer muscles hard at work!)

  • Claire De Boissieu

    Dear Mary, thank you for the wonderful video of pressing day. I loved the beautiful photos too. Well done all, what an achievement, and lots of love from Claire and family

  • Caitlin Kennedy

    Wow, aunt Mary! I love this blog! You’re writing is so elegant and poetic and the pictures tell a great story. I can’t wait to read more 🙂 I love learning about La Tourbeille, it seems like such a great place.