It is Harvest time in Spring Mountain District AVA! Harvest typically runs from early August thru October, depending on the varietal and weather. Nearing harvest time, winemakers taste and test grapes to determine when the vineyard is ready to pick. Veraison is an exciting time for the whole team at Sherwin Family Vineyards. Berries develop quickly and the key to excellent winemaking is to pick the berries at the optimal time; ensuring acidity, sweetness and flavor of the wine.
Our team gets to work as soon as it is determined that the berries are ready to pick. Each of our varietals has different qualities that need to be met before picking. While some wineries machine harvest and sort their grapes, we hand pick and sort ours to ensure top quality.
Moving quickly to avoid contamination and early fermentation, the grapes are now ready to crush and press. Pressing is referred to the process of mechanically pressing red grapes into the must that contains skins, seeds and stems that is further used to give red wine the tannin, flavor and color it needs. Crush is referred to the process of crushing white grapes quickly and separating the skins, seeds and stems before color and tannin are affected.
The fermentation process comes next, giving winemakers just enough of a break beforehand to process other incoming grapes. While grapes contain wild yeasts naturally and begin fermenting on their own, winemakers intervene with their choice of commercial cultured Saccharomyces Cerevisiae yeast. Each strain of yeast gives off different by products, allowing wines to showcase their best traits and downplay their worst. White wines and sweet wines take about 10 days to two weeks to complete fermentation and are occasionally manually stopped from completing the fermentation process to get the desired sweetness. Red wines can take up to a month to complete this process.
Once fermentation is completed, the process of clarifying and racking begins. Different machines can be used in order to get different degrees of clarification. Dead yeast, proteins, stems, tannins and impurities are filtered out of the wine. You will notice some wines, mostly reds, tend to have tartaric acids crystals or a residue on the cork and at the bottom of the bottle. No need to fear, this is naturally occurring and can help wines age and maintain quality. The wine is now racked into barrels or tanks to further age.
Harvest in Spring Mountain District AVA is the most important (and busiest) time of year for winemakers and it determines the quality of your wine. Timing, speed and accuracy are key roles to any successful harvest. In addition to the many fall events happening near us, fall is an excellent time to visit us for a tasting.
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