It takes a lot of grapes to make our award-winning Americus!
Vineyard Manager John Temchack travelled to the Finger Lakes of New York to assist in the picking of the LaBelle grapes and the transportation back to the winery. Amy and Cesar were ready to begin crushing less than 24 hours after the grapes were harvested. First, grapes are dumped into the crusher/destemmer which, as the name implies, crushes the grapes and removes the stems for composting. The grapes are crushed into a waist height fermentation bin so that Amy can “punch down” the fermenting grapes into the must below them three times each day in order to extract maximum flavor and color. This process is critical to a bold red wine. Amy will test the fermenting fruit daily to check on fermentation progress easily by examining the amount of sugar remaining in the must. The sugar is used during fermenta tion by the yeast to fuel reproduction and is metabolized into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Next year, LaBelle Winery will celebrate crush at its own vineyard, when it begins to harvest some of the grapes the three-acre site will produce. Vineyard Club members will be invited to participate in harvest and crush in 2014!