Scenes from an Urban Winery

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We got way more details about the photos in today’s email than we could include. Here’s a little more backstory on the process happening in each, from Sasha Duchnowski.

“Here, the girls are dumping a crate of sorted Pinot Noir grapes into the destemmer-crusher.

Grapes come as clusters, and so the first step of the winemaking our customers go through is called Crush. First, they sort them, making sure only the best grapes go into the wine. Second, the grapes are loaded into a destemmer/crusher (for red wines) where the grapes swirl through a device that removes the grapes from the stems and then lightly squeezes the grapes until they burst. The burst grapes are gathered together (they are now called “must”) and yeast is added to begin fermentation.

The Pinot Noir grapes came in on a wooden pallet stacked high with those white crates. Pinot Noir comes in on those crates because if they were just all put in a big bin, the weight of the grapes on top would crush the grapes on the bottom–Pinot Noir, as a varietal, has very thin skins.”

“Here, we’re handling one of the wooden bins (lined with plastic so the juice doesn’t escape) to make sure they can get all the grapes out! A bin of that size can hold approximately one ton of grapes. You can see some green grapes on the side of the bin, and the group in the background is learning about the press from Conor–they were processing Riesling grapes. Because this group is doing Riesling (a white grape) they don’t use the destemmer-crusher because they don’t want the skin to touch their finished wine. They are learning how to use a bladder-press, which will squeeze the juice out of the Riesling grapes. Yeast will then be added to the juice to start fermentation.”

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