Monte Rosso Zinfandel is here!

September 17, 2012

These are exciting times, we’ve just received our first reds for the year! As usual, the first red grapes to make it to us were the Old-Vine Zinfandel from the neighboring Monte Rosso vineyard.

The fruit came in looking spotless, just a little past noon.

Zinfandel is a very interesting variety, in that it tends to ripen a little bit unevenly. It takes a lot of experience to know when it has hit exactly the right point, with all of the fruit adequately ripened, but none of it too far gone.

As you can see, some of the berries on this cluster have started to show a little ‘shrivel’. A little bit of shrivelling is actually highly beneficial to Zinfandel, adding to the many layers of fruit character present in the finished wine.

Once we had all the fruit off of the truck, we immediately began crushing it.

We actually start with the reds similarly to how we start with the Chardonnay, by dumping the grapes into the hopper.

From there, however, the process drastically changes. Instead of going directly into the press, we convey the grapes into a machine called a ‘destemmer’. The destemmer does pretty much what it sounds like; it takes the berries off of the stems.

Once the fruit is removed, the stems are ejected into a bin, which will be hauled away and composted.

The fruit drops out of the destemmer and is collected and pumped into a tank, where it will eventually be fermented.

We say that it will ‘eventually’ be fermented because we like to use a technique with Zin known as ‘cold-soaking’. Since this Zin has a fair amount of shrivel, we’re letting the skins soak in the tank at a low temperature for a few days, to let the sugar from the shrivelled grapes dissolve into the juice. This lets us know the true concentration of sugar in the juice before fermentation, which gives us an idea what the final alcohol will be. This in turn will inform some of the choices that we make during fermentation, so we consider it a vital step.

It’s good to be crushing reds again! Be sure to check back soon to see how it’s going!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.





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