First of all, I want to extend my sincerest thanks for all who joined us for our first ever volunteer harvest event! Everything went smoothly and I was beyond thankful for the many hands that made picking the 12 rows here go oh-so quickly! It is unusual for all four grape varieties here to be so close to ripening at the same time, but because of the drought conditions we made the best of it and are looking forward to hopefully one of the best wine seasons to come!
SO… what happens after the grapes are harvested?
Our grapes are brought in and run through a crusher-destemmer machine almost immediately. This machine does just like it says – removes the grapes from the stems and crushes them. The product at this stage is called must. The must is pumped into our press so the juice can be pressed from the grapes, then pumped into the tank to begin fermentation. We add enzyme at the crush stage to help break down the grapes to release the juice and provide a better yield. After all juice is pressed, we bring samples to our in-house lab to test for Specific Gravity, Brix, pH, free sulfur content, and acid levels. Having these initial measurements is very important in the wine making process. After lab is complete, we add our yeast and yeast nutrient to begin fermentation – the conversion of the sugars to alcohol. There are seemingly a MILLION yeast strains on the market - as we develop recipes for new wines, we conduct trials to determine which yeasts produce the most desirable characteristics in the wines.
Fermentation of our wines here typically lasts from 3-18 days, depending on the wine and style. From there, we’ll begin the fining process to clarify the wine. I’ll be sure to post pictures and video as we continue this fall! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, we’re celebrating Back-To-School with a CASE SALE! This weekend only! Mix-n-match 12 bottles for $120. Stock up for yourself, but make sure to grab a few bottles for your friends, family, neighbors, and teachers too (they could use it this week #amiright!) Text your order to 515-257-6739 and pick up during regular business hours this Friday or Saturday 1-9pm!
That’s all I know for this week. Take Care & Stay Healthy Y’all. God Bless!
Preston and Amber both grew up on farms in Northwest Iowa. They share a passion for the outdoors and enjoy taking on new projects to see what adventures will be discovered. As high school sweethearts, they attended Iowa State University together, and now are continuing to pursue their dreams at Backcountry Winery.