The Last Press

Yesterday was our last day of red pressing!  That essentially means the end of the 2016 Vintage here at the winery.  We still have to rack and get the remaining reds into barrel, but we are officially done with grapes!  It has all become wine.  We couldn’t be happier with the 2016 vintage.  All the grapes exceeded our expectations this year and we are extremely proud of the wines they are becoming (#becomingwine).  It is always fun to carefully monitor and watch how all the wines develop.  Each year is truly unique and each year presents different challenges.  That is what I love about the job, no 2 days (or 2 wines) are ever the same.  We strive to create a consistent product in some cases, but you can never truly replicate another vintage.  With all their unique characteristics we love every wine equally:)

The last press cycle of the year!

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Red Pressing

Today we are attempting a record… well a record for us:).  We are going to try and fit 5 press loads into one day!  From start to finish each red press load usually runs us at about 3 hours a piece.  So to get 5 done will be a bit of a long day.  The reason we are trying to finish all in one day is because of not only the cleaning involved in set up and take down alone can run us about 4 hours, so to only do that once really helps in the overall time line, but also that all are red fermentations are asking for it at once.  What the wine wants, the wine gets no matter how inconvenient it may be for us winemakers.  Personally, I love red pressings.  It signifies the end of a stage in the new wines life and the beginning of a new one.  We get to start thinking about the barrel pairing and entering into malolactic fermentation.

The press on it’s third load of the day!

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Taking some free run out of tank for sampling!

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Introducing our new wine to its soon to be new home!

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  Crush is done!  We had our last grapes of the 2016 vintage arrive at the winery last Thursday!  The last batch was our Cabernet Franc from Osoyoos.  With all the rain happening in the Okanagan the past few weeks, we had to delay the pick on the Cab Franc by a couple of days, but the fruit arrived in great condition and tasting great.  We got less than anticipated, but we couldn’t be happier with the quality.  The fermentation has started nicely and we are punching it down regularly.  Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!

Here is a helpful little chart to make your Halloween treat pairing a breeze:)

Halloween Candy and Wine Pairing Chart

Punching down the Cab Franc!

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BC Merlot

On Thursday we had our longest crush day of the year!  With our Kaleden Merlot, we arrived in the dark and went home in the dark.  A lot of the day involves prepping and cleaning up, but a good portion of the day was just crushing grapes.  The Merlot arrived in gorgeous condition.  This year has been one of our best.  All the grapes have exceeded our expectations.  Unfortunately, we cannot say we were so happy with the weather.  This was our first crush day in the rain.  Luckily, it didn’t rain all day and the sun decided to make an appearance for a few hours which was lovely for us.  Hope everyone had a great week and you are enjoying the weekend!

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Prep

Today we are prepping to receive our Merlot from Kaleden, B.C.  With some unpredictable weather on the way our vineyard moved up the pick date a day early.  Being in the wine industry, we must be flexible and never make plans that can’t change.  Mother Nature is unpredictable and things can change on a moments notice.  Sometimes it seems the more you plan for it, the more likely it is to change.  Fortunately, the Merlot is all we are expecting this week, so it is easy for us to clear the schedule and make it work.  We are really looking forward to our BC Merlot, especially this year with the nice warm fall that allowed us to get some good hang time in for the grapes.  Flavours will be developed and really popping at this time of year.

Today we are sterilizing tanks and equipment in preparation for the 2016 BC Merlot!

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Cabernet

Our Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon is happily fermenting away in two of our stainless steel tanks.  We love being able to split up a batch of the same grapes.  This means we get to play with two different fermentations and it allows us to further develop dimension and depth of flavour for the finished wine.  For example we will use two different strains of yeast that play to different strengths of the Cab, building up the layers even further than if we only had one tank in use for the fermentation process.  Both are smelling great and starting off strong.  I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday morning!

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Obsidian Ridge Cab Sauv

Yesterday our Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County, California arrived!  The grapes were meant to arrive before the sun, but the truck was caught in a little traffic, delaying us about an hour.  This gave us time to prepare.  Once the truck arrived we were immediately impressed by this years Cab harvest.  The lab numbers are bang on what you hope for, and the flavours are exploding from the grapes.  After a 24 hour cold soak the colour is incredible and we are ready to start fermentation!  We are also so glad the grapes arrived yesterday so we had a glorious day crushing in the sunshine and not these storms moving in.  Hope everyone is staying dry and safe this weekend.

Grapes arrived lookin’ good in the morning sunshine.

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Berries taste great and the flavours are incredible.

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We really lucked out in the timing of harvest this year.  Most days outside we have had sunshine. I even got a little October sunburn on my face yesterday!

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Grapes getting dumped into the stainless steel tank.

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Beautiful colour after the cold soak.

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Yeast started is looking good and we are just about ready to inoculate with our favourite Cab yeast!

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Press Day

Happy long weekend!  But not for us, today is another press day.  Today we are pressing our Sagemoor Vineyards Petit Verdot and Syrah!  Although the Syrah arrived a little bit later than the Petit Verdot, the Syrah caught up during the fermentation process.  Two tanks to press in one day can make for a very long , day.  Luckily, so far, everything is running smoothly.  We have loaded the first press and the hour and a half cycle has begun!

What the gorgeous Petit Verdot looked like upon arrival!

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And now the Petit Verdot is wine in the press! #becomingwine #amirite

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Don’t forget we have some Thanksgiving weekend sales going on in the Tasting Room right now!  Reserve Chardonnay is only $19.99 and Reserve Grenache only $24.99! (Reg. $24.99 and $29.99)

Throwback Thursday

In honour of #ThrowbackThursday, I am going to tell a story from our first press 3 vintages ago.  It was September 23rd, 2013, and we were pressing our Bella Grace Zinfandel (which has now become our next vintage of AssasZin).  Getting all the fermented grape skins out of the tanks and into the press can be an arduous and messy task at times.  Back in 2013 we would first drain as much wine from the tank as possible with our pump, then for the last of the grape skins we would open the door and manually shovel out the remaining red grape skins.  A little misjudgment on the amount of juice we had already retrieved out of the tank before opening the door resulted in what can only be described as a wave of wine, skins and lees came pouring out of the tank door.  Dylan was on one side of the awaiting bin and I was on the other.  Somehow the wave of wine flowing towards us hit the bin, curled around, and the wall of wine all landed directly onto only Dylan.  Covered head to toe in Zinfandel, somehow did not seem funny to him in that moment but nevertheless I found it hilarious.  We since look back on that day and laugh:).  Luckily we actually had minimal wine losses, just a very purple Dylan.

Photo evidence of the fateful day.

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Blending

I hope you had a fantastic weekend and are having a productive and happy Monday!  Today we are taking a little break from harvest work and getting to some of our older vintages.  We often try and avoid this type of work during the busy harvest season, but when our best selling Killer Cab starts running low, we need to get the next vintage in order!  We still have a several months worth of 2013 Killer Cab in stock, but we like to start the blending and marrying process early enough so everything is happily together before bottling.  We are racking our 2014 Killer Cab varietals out of barrel today and into tank.  Avoiding oxygen contact with the wine at this stage in its life is crucial.  We do a gentle rack using nitrogen gas to push the wine out of barrel and into the blending tank rather than using our pumps.  We will let the wine rest in tank overnight together and tomorrow we will put the newly blended wine back into the barrel for a little while longer before we are ready to filter and bottle.

Here you can see the Nitrogen tank in the background and the tube feeding it into the barrel and the pressure causes the wine to be pushed through the hose and into our stainless steel tank!

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Then we use our barrel washer to give the barrel a good blast of pressurised hot water and steam to get any residual sediment that may be stuck to the inside of the barrel before putting the wine back in.  This way the wine is once again in direct contact with the toasted oak inside!

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