The feeling of doing punchdowns is a great one. The grapes below you, punchdown in hand, and physically working these grapes into submission. It just feels so much like you are really making wine. For me, there is a closer feeling, a more intimate moment with wine. The tanks you typically see don’t always come off as cozy places you might want to spend some time in. Stainless steel is cold, hard, and nothing at all resembling something you’d call intimate. But, you dump some grapes in there that you sorted, punched down and watched after and getting in a steel tank filled with pomace can be a beautiful thing. The fermentation warmed the skins, and the graps skins and stems couldn’t be softer or more inviting. Barefoot and cozy. Why rush it? I just really loved this job. Diving in, and cleaning out these tanks was a memorable and pleasurable experience.Eric is seen here with a punchdown tool pulling pomace from the bottom to make the job inside manageable. The person inside shovelling relies on the people outside to move bins to the front of the door, forklift them away when full as well as to make sure you are not tossing shovelfuls of pomace everywhere.
Here is a look at the action inside. After the pomace is out. There is still a bunch of work to be done. You play in your mess, then clean it up. Scrubbing, rinsing and draining leave the tank smelling great with the air filled with pinot noir.