Grape processing and vinificationGrapes are hand-harvested once they have reached the ideal level of ripeness, and delivered straight to the press hall, where you are now standing. At this point, the processes for different wines diverge.
White wines are produced with the use of compressed air to squeeze juice from the berries, and the juice then ferments in stainless steel tanks. This same process is used for black grapes when they are used to make white wines, such as the starter wine for sparkling wines such as Sekt, often made from pinot noir grapes.
Red wines are made from black grapes. The flesh and juice of almost all black grapes have no colour, so the pigment is dissolved from the skins by leaving the skins in contact with the crushed grapes while the early fermentation takes place. The skins are then separated from the young wine by pressing the resulting mash.
Rosé wines use small amounts of skin pigment, procured in most cases by leaving the grapes cooled but intact before pressing them. An alternative approach is to tap the fermenting juice after it has had a day in contact with the skins. And a third approach still, perhaps our preferred option, is to blend wines produced by each of these methods.
Approaches vary depending on the kind of wine we are seeking to produce. A light, fruity wine will be fermented and stored in an airtight stainless steel tank. The stronger-flavoured and more alcoholic wines generally benefit from a period in large oak barrels or even small barriques; and in any event a red wine will be cellared for a period after fermentation in a large wooden maturation barrel.