In the midst of Harvest our Winemaker, Mark Schabel, approached me in the office to discuss the next blog. When I think of Harvest I think of the grapes being picked, crushed and placed in tanks and barrels, as most of us do. In reality, there is so much more to it than that… “Have you seen the ‘cap’?” Mark asks me. I answer, “No, and what is a ‘cap’?” …and so this is where the story begins.
Mark and I made our way through the Tasting Room and out to the Tank Yard. If you’ve never seen the Tank Yard during the middle of Harvest, it’s a real treat. Definitely stop by the winery and take a tour, as the Winemaker brings out all the fancy equipment.
Belly up to a tub of fermenting grapes, Mark jumps on a ladder to show me the ‘cap’. “The cap consists of grape skins, seeds and stems of the grapes. These are kept with the grape juice in order for the wine to gain flavor and retain that beautiful red wine color.” He explains, “For red wines only, in order to extract character and flavor from the skins of red grapes we manually pump juice over the cap that forms during fermentation.” For the next week, the Winemaking Team will be punching down the cap 3 times per day. Phew, that’s hard work!
After taking these quick snap shots, I ran up to the office to write this blog (and to ensure I wouldn’t have to start manually punching down the cap!). Now, I just can’t wait to try the wine! Yumm-y!