A Harvest Reflection

By Jamie Rubin (Harvest Intern 2020)

Here is the next installment of Jamie Rubin’s harvest reflection. We hope you have enjoyed reading about his harvest experience. This story first appeared as a post for Sommation_live, an IG channel offering a venue for wine education through shared experiences. 

Part IV: November 15

For much of my time here, we’ve been using the pneumatic press. This has been exclusively for white wines. Largely, we’ve crushed and destemmed Rieslings followed by a cold soak for a few days. This allows the juice to pick up a phenolic load from the skins prior to fermentation. Then, we pressed the juice out and it went to the tank. 

This week, we’ve started taking our reds, which have finished fermentation and macerated for a while on their skins and stems, to press them off and into used oak barrels to mature. This process has been the most intuitive for me so far. It aligns with what I’ve been taught as a sommelier. The big learning curve here, as it always is, has been the equipment itself. This basket press has a bladder inside which inflates to about 60 psi and presses the grapes against the staves to extract wine. 

As always, I’m very reticent to operate a new piece of equipment until I fully understand it. When dealing in high pressure and high volume, the consequences could be intense. Luckily, this one is relatively simple and intuitive. Right now, the Pinot Noir is safely sleeping in the barrel. Next up is Merlot!!! The Cabernet Franc isn’t quite through ferment, but it smells amazing!


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