I am having the opportunity to perform a number of tasks that would not be possible with all hands on the sorting line. Today I learned about punching down.
Currently there are 14 enormous vats of Syrah grapes fermenting. Each vat holds approximately 1 1/2 tons of grapes. KWC is fortunate to have a hydraulic punching machine as many wineries must perform this funtion manually. The machine is positioned over the vats and then the operator moves the puncher systematically around the vat punching down the grapes. The process promotes even fermentation and keeps bacteria from developing.
After punching down, each vat is measured for brix readings and temperature. The fermentation process turns sugar into alcohol. The grapes are ready for pressing when negative brix readings and a temperature of around 90 degrees F. are achieved.
My “punching partner” is Misuzu Ishida, an intern from Japan.
Later we took a tour of another vineyard, Guadalupe. Approximately 41 acres are in vine and the soil is marine sediment. Guadalupe is in a particularly beautiful setting.
This afternoon I revisited the tasting room and sampled the warmer climate wines that include Clarets and Syrahs. Clarets are red wine blends and my favorite, the 2007 Ciel du Cheval, consists of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.