Images of Micro Fermenting at Foppiano Vineyards

Continuing with its Renaissance, Foppiano Vineyards has made capital investments with winemaking equipment. Right now, I don’t have lots of time to document all the details of the equipment that they’ve purchased for this morning’s blog; although I do need to get that onto paper and sent around the US to my wine writer connections. It’s a great story, and it will be worth naming names.

The above image is a glimpse of the old giving way to the new. In the foreground is the new equipment that Foppiano now uses to process fruit. In the background, past the stainless steel, you can see all the old crusher/destemmer equipment, that now serves as a historical point of interest.

For now, I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to bring to this blog some of the best of the best that I was able to take with winemaker Natalie West in her 2008 winemaking harvest. When someone writes about Micro Fermenting, this is really what it should look like… processing half ton bins, one at a time.

This machine takes in the berries and gently shakes them from their rachis, the main axis to which the grapes are attached. Natalie has the ability to set the destemmer to a perfect adjustment that gently shakes the fruit form its stem, leaving many of the cluster’s fruit in whole berry condition.

This fruit is then moved through large lines (the hose you can see on the ground) from the machine into the winery, where it will then be held in a fermenting tank, until it’s fully converted from juice to wine.

For future Foppiano vintages, there’s no more crushing of the fruit, only destemming and into the fermenter it goes. Their wines, beginning with this vintage of 2008, will have delicate, fruit forward flavors, and full expression of the grapes’ potential.

You can see how some whole fruit still remains, coming from the process.

In the above image, Natalie is raking all the rachis. Removing the stems allows a wine’s flavors to not be encumbered with additional tannins. Removing stems – a very tedious task now accomplished by this gentle process – brings delicate flavors forward.. making wine much more enjoyable.

And, yes… She wore a white shirt to do her job… One brave winemaker.

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