Finally harvest is over and we can finally relax in the winery....Just kidding! We are as busy as ever in the winery this season. Josh and the rest of the winery crew have their hands full with quite a bit right now. Currently, the team is swamped with racking.
Racking is a process in which wine is pumped out of the barrels (as shown above). The barrel is then cleaned and all the lees are removed from the barrel.
Lees are the heavier proteins and sediment found in the wine. When these lees (shown right) are removed, it helps with clarification of the wine, as well as aid in the wine's stabilization.
Once the wine is pumped out, and most of the lees drain, we can then wash the barrels to remove any leftover sediment or lees from the barrel, as shown below. We can then re-barrel the wine.
Speaking of re-barreling, winter is the perfect time to do some pre-emptive barrel selection.
A lot of times during harvest, we don't have the time to put wine in the exact barrels that we would like, what with the tons and tons of grapes coming in, on top of crushing, pressing and punching down. With the little more free time that we now have, our crew can now chose the best barrel for the wine and place that wine in that type of barrel after racking.
Needless to say, there is still quite a bit to do to make sure that our wine maintains the high quality we desire. If you are here for a visit, make sure to ask what's going on in the winery and if you're lucky, you might be able to experience racking in person!