The first job right after harvest finished was to get the harvest equipment back to the warehouse. The red wines that are fermenting in open-top fermenters need to be punched down in the morning and again in the evening until fermentation finishes. We want to extract all the flavor from the grape skins. And, we are monitoring fermentations on both red and white wines to make sure that sugar levels are steadily dropping.
La Crescent was one of the last wines picked, and we’ve been holding the juice in a tank at about 34°F for the past few days. Our objective was to let the sediment in the juice settle. Now, we are fermenting just the juice.
As fermentations finish, we will rack the wines off the yeast lees by moving the finished wine minus the sediment to a new tank. Then, we run chemistries on each wine and we taste it to decide what comes next. In some cases, we want more information than we can extract from our own testing, so we will send samples to the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University for more testing.