Closure and continuance
When does harvest end? Well, there are many "endings"; one certainly is the last day of harvest - for us March 10, a 30 day harvest. Another is the last pressing, and this occurred Monday March 27. Emotionally, that is "the end", but the work continues. For us, and especially for Bernard, Vilafonte winemaker, there is lots of baby sitting of the wines to be done. Fermentations continue; the wines we pressed…. removed from the skins … were not all dry at the time, and so continue to "crackle" in the barrels..you put your ear to the bunghole and you can hear the pop pop of the carbon dioxide rising to the top of the wine from fermentation. However, to complete their fermentation work, the yeast must be kept happy…which means warm, with food, and somewhat suspended in the wine. We keep the wines in a warm room, (around 23 to 24C); and part of the "work" is to check on them daily. Unhappy yeasts tend to produce bad aromas; a yeast "red flag". So stirring, warming, feeding, checking, smelling, tasting…maybe a bit routine but very, very important. Concurrently, the dry wines are crackling with malo-lactic, the bacterial fermentation that changes the malic acid to the softer lactic acid. Only when the wines have completed both fermentations do we deem them "finished" and put them away in the barrel cellar to start their aging.This ends my regular/irregular harvest report, although I will return from time to time to talk of other work that is going on, and observations and conclusions on harvest.
Zelma Long, Vilafonte Winemaking Partner