Middle of the Night and the Grapes Arrive!

4.40am Grape lab & weighbridge / Crusher 1, Yalumba , Eden Valley
Now folks, this is the time to be up and about! Nice fresh, cool breeze happening – makes it the best it’s been for three days. Yesterday afternoon a big black-and-blue angry cloud blew lightning and a few drops of rain across Pewsey Vale and the Valley floor, but didn’t amount to much more than a sticky humid evening.

I’ve just been at the grape lab with Sue since 2.47am – yep I checked the clock when I walked in – mad time of the night to be about, but at least there’s no traffic on the roads! We’ve got a busy night going on through the crushers and presses, with Valley floor Chardonnay, Tanunda Riesling, and Pewsey Vale ‘Prima’ Riesling already through, and 10 ton of local Pinot Gris going through right now. That fruit always looks weird – almost red berries that give up perfume aromatic white wine! I scrambled around the catwalk at the grape lab and at the crusher to get some photos of what the fruit looks like as it comes in as separate loads, so you can compare Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Chardonnay and Riesling.

I’ve also got some photos of Sam’s Valley Floor Sangiovese destined for the Y Rose, as a pretty clean machine harvested load, tubs of the load core sample of juice, and as the load went into the crusher. When I come back into work later this morning – around 8.30am when the normal folks arrive! – I’ll get a picture of a glass of the settled juice to complete the picture.

I took a picture of how the core sampler at the weighbridge works – on the chardonnay load. Each parcel of fruit that comes in is sampled in this way, to get an accurate starting point on how much was crushed, and what the characteristics of the juice were, with respect to sugar, acid, pH, and how clean the load was. There’s a rating called MOG which stands for “material other than grapes” – and we want this to be non-existent or very low. This is leaves, canes, pieces of grapevine trunk – all sorts of weird and wonderful things have come in to wineries in grape loads over the years. I took a picture of a few solid bits of vine that have been pulled out of loads over the last week to give you an idea – but generally we don’t see much of this sort of thing – which is what we want.

OK! 5.19 am and the job’s done! The Sangiovese just got tipped off and is on it’s way to a vinmatic to sit on skins and soak up some colour and flavour as I belt this out. When I come back in to work, I’ll get a photo of the juice and about 4 hours down the track again – so you can see the colour development. As Grape Lab Sue said – this juice is reeeally nice! Looking into the crystal ball, I can see it already finished up, chilled to death, lovely juicy fruit – and it’s going to be just the right thing to go with some yabbies, cray tails, or pick your favourite seafood – anything from the ocean will work!

So see ya later. I’m off home to grab another 3 hours sleep before coming back in. Later on we’ll have a look at the Pewsey Vale ‘Prima’ juice as well as the Pewsey Vale Traminer and Pinot Gris – both being hand picked and due in at about 11am and 2pm respectively.

(ED NOTE: Jane is still grabbing her well-deserved rest. We’ll get her photos posted later today. Stay tuned.)

4 responses to “Middle of the Night and the Grapes Arrive!

  1. I can’t wait to see all the pictures! Will be a great lesson for those of us who’ve never seen the winemaking in progress!!

  2. Afternoon Jane… whats going on? I’ve been up all night picking that afore-mentioned Tanunda Riesling and some Semillon for another winery, then home for a half hour doze on the lounge, then back on the tractor putting a late spray on… Surely 152 minutes floating around the winery in the middle of the night with a camera cant wear you out that much 🙂

    No doubt your like all of us this time of year.. one million things to do and only 1440 minutes in the day…

  3. hey Ben – see this is what happens when you get old!! Years ago I would have stayed up, dropped in at Saltrams for a spa (in the old slate fermenter they modified with a stainless steel steam bubbler) , had a bacon and egg sandwich around at Rolf Binder’s place at early brekky, gone home for a shower and gone straight back to work. Sleep!! That’s for the old folks! And now that’s me!!

  4. You’re doing an awesome job Jane. The pic of the Sange makes my mouth water. Any chance of a serious Sangiovese under a Yalumba label?

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