The temperatures are rising at Sainte Rose and we are busy preparing for our 15th harvest! We are looking forward to this harvest even more than usual as we have lots of new equipment to use that will both enhance the quality of the wine we produce and improve our efficiency during this very taxing and stressful period. With the help of European grant funding our biggest new investment is a brand new 100hl Xpert press from Bucher Vaslin! This magnificent beast of a press is not only impressive to look at but impressive in its functionality. It is fully automated with an exceptional range of programming that can be adapted according to grape variety and wine style that you wish to produce. It monitors the flow rate, senses when the juice collection tray needs to be pumped to the tank and even cleans itself automatically, so it really will transform the way we receive and process our grapes.
In addition to the press, we have replaced our original cold water cooling system for the tanks with a glycol cooling system and must chiller. This is a far more technically advanced and effective system that will reduce the temperature of the juice for cold settling as it enters the winery and will significantly reduce the amount of energy used during this process. We have replaced old inefficient pumps with new remote controlled devices that will make work in the winery more streamlined and effective. This includes a flotation pump that we will use for settling some grape juice prior to fermentation as an alternative to cold settling. This is a more rapid process, results in less lees and less wine losses through racking, though it will not be used for more aromatic and delicate juices or for our top of the range wines.
Given the cooler start to the growing season and fluctuations in temperature, 2016 will not be an early harvest. It is likely that we will harvest some Chardonnay early next week for our sparkling base wine, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for still coming later that week or into the following for still wine production. The longer hang time will only enhance flavours and happily the weather is looking stable for the foreseeable. Look out for updates over the coming weeks as we progress through the Sainte Rose harvest 2016!