After the madness and people for harvest have disappeared it’s actually my favourite time. It’s the winemaking. It’s a one person job: Well actually it should be two. You see fermentation creates lots of CO2 and that with having to climb up and down the vats makes the winery quite a dangerous place to be. Actually people die every year due to being overcome by CO2.
Winemaking is part scientific process, part art. The science bit is well documented and provided that you understand the way in which yeast works; feeding on sugars and producing heat and alchohol then it can be controlled. We control this process mainly by controlling temperature and oxygen contact. its also interesting to experiment with the yeast variant used: we have experimented over the years with various cultured yeast that can enhance certain fruit flavours and minimise harsh tannins.
The art is in guiding the science bit to produce a final wine that is technically balanced ((fruit, acidity, tannin, colour and aroma) and is aesthetically attractive to the final consumer: Thats down the to experience and personal tastes of myself, Sarah and Ludwig. Not always a unanimous decision but thats what makes if fun.
It’s one man against the grapes in the vat. Experience helps but every year that I have made wine, the conditions have been a little different and therefore the process used is modified a little. For example, more sugar from more mature fruit can mean longer fermentation and a hotter must that can terminate fermentation a little too soon.
Of course the final product will not be consumed for some years. That makes the tasting of the wine at these very early stages incredibly difficult. You need a special skill and experience to know how a wine tasted now will evolve over a period of 3,5 even 10 years.
Maybe I just need another 50 years of experience.