This week, the cellar team pressed the frozen grapes to start making Iowa Prairie Snow®. We hand-harvested them early in August and sent them to a locker to be frozen. We brought them back to Tassel Ridge on Friday. The grapes partially thawed and then were pressed in our basket press on Tuesday. We get about 1/3 of the juice we’d get from normally pressing grapes, however the juice is really high in sugar and flavor. The part of the grape that thaws first is the layer right under the skin. This is where the flavor and the sugar are and this is what gets pressed out when the grape is only partially thawed. This process is called cryo-extraction.
Typically, the juice is about 40% sugar (40 Brix), so we have to select an appropriate yeast because most yeasts are not comfortable with that much sugar. Then, we will ferment the juice so that we end up with a dessert wine that is about 12% alcohol with a residual sugar of about 18% and awesome flavors.
We will be working on ways to reduce our electrical energy consumption, improving our standard written procedures, and getting our refrigerated box trucks serviced. Finally, we have just released our wines packaged in Christmas Tree bottles for the 2017 holiday season and now is when we have to plan for next year’s Christmas Tree bottling.