Punching down and Pressing Mariah

 

Harvest activities continue as our carefully tended grapes are fermenting away, making their transformation into delicious Waits-Mast Pinot Noir.

 Skins, seeds, and stems atop fermenting Mariah pinot noir grapes. Photo: Waits-Mast

Skins, seeds, and stems atop fermenting Mariah pinot noir grapes. Photo: Waits-Mast

Regular punch downs have been keeping the Mariah pinot noir grapes happy, as we use a special tool to mix up the upper cap of solids (skins, seeds, and stems) and the juice during fermentation.

 Punching down Waits-Mast Pinot Noir grapes from Mariah Vineyard in October, 2018. Photo: Waits-Mast

Punching down Waits-Mast Pinot Noir grapes from Mariah Vineyard in October, 2018. Photo: Waits-Mast

Sometime a winemaker will go barefoot to do some old school punch downs, using the gentle method that also gives weary arm muscles a break. It’s a satisfying process either way, as the pretty juice foams and bubbles to the surface.

 Juice bubbles to the surface during punch down of Waits-Mast pinot noir from Mariah Vineyard. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

Juice bubbles to the surface during punch down of Waits-Mast pinot noir from Mariah Vineyard. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

After a happy fermentation, the Waits-Mast pinot noir from Mariah Vineyards was ready to press. Friday, October 12 was the day, and our winemaker, Shalini Sekhar got to work preparing the press and our French oak barrels for the soon-to-be wine. Before loading the fruit into the press, she extracted the free run juice from the fermentation bin, pumping it directly into barrels.

 Waits-Mast pinot noir juice gets pumped into a new barrel. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast

Waits-Mast pinot noir juice gets pumped into a new barrel. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast

Following that, the remaining grapes were dumped into a large press, which slowly squeezes out the fermented juice into a tray below. From there, the wine went in to additional barrels, where it will remain until bottling.