Useful Analogies

 

Analogies - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Extracting More Flavor and Texture

 

In the tasting room we often use analogy to convey method when describing the winemaking process.  The following two analogies were provided by Winemaker Kevin Sass and General Manager Skylar Stuck.  They describe how Barrel Fermentation and Cap Management work using similar concepts in coffee and tea preparation.

Analogies - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Pumping Over Malbec

Barrel Fermentation

You may recall the recent post to this blog covering barrel fermentation.  After reading it, Skylar provided the tasting staff with a helpful analogy he uses when describing the process:

“When I am discussing [our barrel fermentation program] I describe the difference between fermenting in barrel, as opposed to ageing in barrel after fermentation, a little like stirring sugar into tea.  If the tea is piping hot, the sugar integrates immediately.  If the tea is iced, the sugar has a more difficult time dissolving.  When you ferment in barrel the heat is interacting with the oak in a very active way.  This is different than putting a finished wine in a barrel and storing it at 58 degrees.  At the cooler temperature the interaction with the oak is much slower on a molecular level.”

Cap Management

The cap is a layer of solids or must that forms on top of fermenting wine as the result of gases (mostly CO2) produced as the yeast consumes sugar to produce alcohol.  When describing two of our different methods for mixing the cap back into the juice, Kevin draws analogy between two comparable methods of preparing coffee:

“The punchdown is kind of like a French press in that we are using a long pole with a platform at the end to physically push the solids down into the juice.  Pumpovers are more like a percolator.  We pull juice from a valve at the bottom of the tank and gently pump it to the top, running it through a spreading mechanism similar to a sprinkler head so that juice touches the entire surface area of the cap and percolates through.  Both methods introduce oxygen into the mix and keep the yeast from suffocating beneath the cap.”

Keep an eye here this coming Friday for a look back at Harvest 2013.  Cheers ’til then!



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