The general process of punchdowns and tracking soaks

There are so many steps in winemaking. Before I started, I would’ve (and most likely did) told everyone that I knew what went on in making wine. The cleaning, prepping, calculations, there are so many things going on that at times you feel like you are working around wine, not with wine. We sort when fruit arrives, it gets destemmed, dropped into a bin and off to a tank to cold soak. During this time, we are watching ph levels, but the most attention goes to tracking brix and temps. Each day while the grapes are fresh looking, we punch down once a day. And, slowly, the brix will creep up as the grapes settle in. Slowly, the temp settles at hopefully a nice and cold temp, and then the brix level off at their peak. The grapes begin to look less fresh, with more of a worn look to them. (Wouldn’t you be tired if you had been through the journey and eventual beatdown that they do?) The cap begins to form more on top of the juice below. A massive pile of skins and stems which make it more and more difficult to punchdown. At this point, we move to punch downs twice a day. Around this time, a shift, energy is sparked! Yeast attacks the sugary grape juice and begins to produce heat (which can peak in the low 90*F range), CO2, alcohol while dropping brix numbers (well, the sugar is in fact being eaten up). These measurements are tracked as I showed in an earlier post. Once the brix drops to around -2. Close to this time, punchdowns have become easier to do, requiring less punchdown times.

At Freeman, this is where we start getting ready to barrel down this Free Run (juice that isn’t the result of pressing the skins). Next, we have to drain more juce from the tanks main door and remove the pomace before pressing.

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