Foot Stomping?

Fact Friday #2: Stomping and Destemming

Todays Fact Friday explains different ways we prepare our wines for fermentation: Stomping vs Destemming.

How we prepare our grapes for fermentation depends mostly on the color of the grape, but also on the final taste we wish to produce. That means in most circumstances white, rose and red grapes are prepared differently.

For white grapes, we remove MOG (Matters Other than Grapes including  insects, and unwanted material by hand) and flawed grapes, then stomp the white grapes by foot. Foot stomping allows the grape juice to separate from the skin. After stomping, we use our basket press to remove as much of the remaining juice as possible.  If required, we will “fluff” the grapes and press a second time. Fluffing involves removing the skins from the basket and then reloading the basket. Once the juice is pressed,  we pass it through a screen to remove seeds etc, allow it to settle for at least 24 hours in tank and then barrel ferment it in older french barrels.

For red grapes, we remove unripe grapes and insects by hand and then place 50% to 80% of them through a destemmer. The destemmer further removes leaves, stems and other parts of the vine while keeping the grape attached to its skin. The grape, with its skin, is then gently moved into a large oak barrel, which will allow for fermentation.  We do not ever use a crusher. 

Watch an example of this method here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGQkCx5DdVw&feature=share&list=ULJGQkCx5DdVw

Because we like to do things our own way, we often mix up these processes.   Rose sits on the skins for 2 days (like a red) and then is pressed and barrel fermented (like a white).  Roussanne is a white grape but for our Stonecrusher, we ferment it on the skins in a large open top oak tank.  We do this with about 30% of our whites.  We have started to experiment with press reds early – like a white.

Skins are important because they are both the source of color and one of the sources of tannins. Tannins determine the astringency and bitterness in wine.   We like them in both whites and reds.To learn more about tannins, click the following link: http://www.wineanorak.com/tannins.htm