With our online edition (in the form of a wine-newspaper) “The WinePress”, we would like to provide insights into our working schedule and to illustrate the wine year by our working steps and operational processes.
During opening a bottle of wine, our thoughts often roam wonderful vineyards, the sight of beautiful wooden barrels and, particularly, a very specific relaxation and calmness.
However, to achieve these relaxation and calmness, a lot of laborious work needs to be done until wine is going to be filled up into bottles. It is laborious work and also a lot of manual work. There are a lot of steps in the vineyard, as well as in the wine cellar, that need to be done to achieve an exquisite drop of wine. Overstated, maybe, for a few people this fact can be “recognised by the taste”. However, most of the people remain hidden from the insights into the annual process of a winegrower or from the insights into the origination process of wine.
With the edition of our online magazine “The WinePress”, in 2019 we offer relevant insights into our working year. The wine year, visualised by the four seasons of viniculture, illustrated and brought to life by our “wine sheep”:
Edition 1/2019, The vineyard in winter
Edition 2/2019, The vineyard in spring
Edition 3/2019, The vineyard in summer
Edition 4/2019, The vineyard in autumn, online now
The vineyard in autumn
Harvesting – the point of time to start picking the grapes is
the important moment
In addition to the conditions of origin and soil, climatic factors and the management philosophy in the vineyards and in the wine cellar the optimal point of time of the harvest is very important for the quality of a wine. The grape harvest is the interface between vineyard and wine cellar.
We keep the grape maturity always in our view
Already during summer we constantly check the condition of our grapes regarding development and maturity level.
Then, a very important aspect of the grape harvest is the correct timing to start picking the grapes . . .
The ripeness of the grapes and the weather conditions determine the start of the grape harvest
The ripeness of the grapes:
The harvest of our grapes is the highlight in the wine year, at the same time the most critical time. By deciding the point of time of starting the harvest, a winemaker can influence the quality and the type of a wine. Depending on how early or how late the grapes are harvested, this effect the sweetness, the alcohol content and the taste of a wine. As the sugar content increases in the berries, the acidity continuously decreases. A perfect balance between acidity and sugar content is a very important factor in the longevity of a wine.
How can the ripeness of the grapes be determined? Winemakers use their sense of taste to decide the exact harvest time. In addition to the winemaker´s sense of taste, which requires years of experience, there are also technical facilities, as the refractometer.
Using a refractometer, conclusions can be drawn on the maturity stage and further on the optimal point of time to start harvesting can be determined.
The weather conditions:
The optimal ripeness of the grapes determines the beginning of the harvest, but also the influence of the weather has an important impact on the starting point for harvesting. Therefore, the question of the correct point of time starting to harvest always is a challenge for us.
Pure varietal harvest, soft handling almost like touching with velvet gloves
The grapes are harvested unmixed, grape variety by grape variety. For further processing they are brought to our press house as soon as possible. We pay greatest attention to fully ripened and healthy grapes as well as to the handling of the grapes, to avoid any damages.
By hand, grape for grape – highest wine quality by the way of the harvest
By the kind of manual harvesting (the traditional way), the ripe grapes are cut by hand, placed in small boxes and by this way the grapes remain completely undamaged.
The advantage of manual harvesting is that only ripe, healthy grapes are actually harvested and a qualitative selection is possible. Berries/grapes that do not fulfill our quality standards are eliminated during the harvest in the vineyard.
Only by the method of harvesting by hand it is possible to select qualified grapes already in the vineyard. Our grape pickers pay highest attention to the degree of ripeness, to the health condition and to the vitality of the berries. Only excellent and ripe grapes are harvested.
We do not use harvesting machines, therefore there are no damages on the foliage, no damages on the grapes and no damages on the soil. Furthermore, there is no impact of mechanical pressure on the grapes and so they get completely undamaged to the wine cellar.
Triathlon in the Vineyard Rows – active muscle power for quality
Due to the very high inclination the picking of the grapes in our extremely steep vineyards is a physically demanding activity, this should not be underestimated. The steepness of our vineyards (sometimes up to 75% inclination) makes harvesting difficult, at this point we say “thank you” to all our grape pickers!
The wine cellar in autumn
While in the autumn the harvest is in progress in the vineyards, subsequently, in the wine cellar, the conversion (refinement) from the juice of the grapes to wine takes place.
After the harvested grapes have been transported well to the press house, there is a lot achieved, the weather can no longer affect the quality.
In the press house the berries are “destemmed” (removed from the stem structure) as gently as possible, squeezed and then pressed very gently in the grape press. The juice of the grapes, more precisely the “grape-must”, flows from the press into the barrels.
After the trub has sedimented in the grape-must, the clarified grape-must is going to be racked and filled up into the barrels. This is followed by the fermentation (carried out only with natural yeasts). During the fermentation process, an expansion effect occurs in the fermentation casks. Therefore the barrels must not be full, as a specific rising space is needed.
After the fermentation has been completed, the barrels are going to be filled up. This is one of the most important steps to ensure the quality of the wine.
“Walking through the wine cellar, it is a good feeling to hear the bubbling of the barrels and to feel the variety of aromas in the nose.”
Then and now…
Today’s technology ensures a gentle and carefully processing of our grapes.