Posted on September 23, 2014 @ 05:42:00 AM by Paul Meagher
Busy the last couple of days harvesting some grapes I grew on a farm property we own. This is the first year of production. I transported the harvested grapes 140 miles (or 225 km) back to my suburban home and setup the crushing operation in my garage. In the video, I'm putting the red grapes into the crusher, my Italian friend Malcolm is guiding the grapes into the crusher, and my son Seamus makes a grape tasting appearance. Total end product is estimated to be around 4 glass carboys of wine (around 20 gallons). The grape vines should produce more grapes next year as they mature and I'll have more grape vines coming online next year. I'm happy that things are a small production this year as I'm still learning the ropes on the process of growing grapes and turning them into a decent wine.
The night before I harvested the grapes, I watched a Netflix documentary called A Year In Burgundy that filmed the vineyard and wine making operations of 5 farms in the Burgundy region of France. It was useful to see how they obtained, trained, and treated their harvesters (many of whom appear to be university students) when it came time to pick the grapes. There was also one quote that I found very interesting from an eccentric old woman who sells some of the most expensive wine from the region - she said "The yeast is the winemaker". She downplays the role of the winemaker per se, instead emphasizing the role of (wild?) yeast to turn her carefully nurtured grapes into a product with alcohol content so it can be called a wine. Because she loves her grape vines and their product so much, she does not want any other influences on her wine than the action of the yeast to convert it into wine. It may not that simple (does she add preservatives?), but it suggests an approach were you place less emphasis on additives and specialized techniques to achieve the perfect wine and just let the yeast do the winemaking and take what it delivers.