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October 5, 2020 | Winemaking | Team Member

Processing Syrah (VIDEO)

Grapes in Destemmer at Myka Cellars' Winery Harvest 2020

Mica Raas talks us through the de-stemming process as the Myka Cellars team processes the fruit for Syrah.

Transcript from video:

We're in late September. We're about halfway through harvest so we're starting to get some of our heavier reds in. We're processing Syrah today. This comes off of a four acre vineyard. It's broken into four different clones. We need to mix those together to make one product.

This simple operation, up right here behind me, you have a dump table where they're dumping the bins. They sort all the leaves out, all the fruit that doesn't look perfect then send it through a de-stemmer. The de-stemmer removes the skins. Does a pretty good job of that, takes berries off leaves the stems behind and also importantly it leaves the raisins. So, any raisin fruit doesn't come through. We're not trying to get raisin flavors we're trying to get ripe flavors, so it does a nice little split there. 

That's into our pump. This is actually a peristaltic pump, so this is an oversized pump they use to process, um well, blood. This is a bypass pump for when you have your heart transfer it's just a really big one, so it doesn't break any of the berries, so berries come through the machine whole and a processed to our winery. Inside the winery we do pump overs and we do different types of movement of the grapes. Juice is predominantly clear for Syrah. It's always clear and what we do is we move the skins in and out of fluid. The more skin contact you have the more extraction you get. The deeper and richer colors you get as well as with that anthocy increase you get more flavors, more tannins. 

Part of the job for a winemaker is to move around those skins. Doing that differently makes for different wines. Just like when you make tea. The amount of time and the amount of heat contributes to the amount of extraction. An over extracted wine is bitter and under extracted wine becomes more like rosé. So, you try to balance with each fruit how you get there.

This particular wine is actually going to our rotary fermenters where they roll like a cement mixer, so we can gently move fast. That way we can do things by hand, much like a punch down on a larger scale. We get a lot of extraction. That way we get more mid pallet and we can do it rapidly and still maintain a quality product.

We're pretty happy about this fruit. We're actually running these clusters a little close today so we're getting about a 50 percent crush, so we can get a little more extraction and we'll get this move through our process a little quicker. It's a big premium Syrah from this vineyard... we gotta keep up the stems... we've gotta get a lot of extraction before we get a lot of alcohol, because the seeds here aren't as green as i like them, or more green, not as brown i'd like them to be, so we want to get the alcohol process moved off the seeds early in the stage. So, a lot of extraction quickly before the alcohol develops, get off the skins and seeds sometime within a week.


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