As I posted earlier, we are hobby winemakers with the aspiration of having our own, real winery one day. As a result, our batches of wine have been scaled up to larger volume – of course, having your own grapes helps! The Montepulciano we ferment in our tote was pressed out and will make ~80 gallons of bottled wine. We cleaned up the fermenter to get ready for our next batch – Aglianico. Last week after harvesting Aglianico until 6 am Tuesday morning, John set some grapes aside for our use. First, the grapes were bucketed into the hand powered crusher (borrowed). The crusher was positioned over the tote, so as they got crushed, they fell into the tote.
Here you can see the large wheel which turns the crusher. As you may be able to guess, the children love to turn the crank!
The red grapes are crushed but the skins and seeds are not separated from the juice as with whites. Much of the flavor in red wines is from the tannins extracted from the skins and seeds during the fermentation process. This is also how red wines have their deep rich color. The Aglianico yields an even darker juice at this stage which will result in its even darker, fuller flavor as a wine. At this point, the grapes, complete with skins and seeds are sitting in the tote fermenting and smelling delicious!