The 2012 harvest has come to an end…the fruit picked under stellar conditions, the fermentations completed without a hitch and the wine barreled down for the winter.  Nearly everyone is celebrating Northern California’s “epic” harvest, the biggest in years, including us and we’ve shared some photos of here:

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After a 4 day cold soak and 10 day fermentation (14 days total on the skins,) we pressed the Beresini Vineyard Pinot Noir.  We did one bin native yeast fermentation and one we inoculated with RC212.  We were so happy with the native yeast results that we decided to go all the way native with our last lot of Pinot–Corona Creek.  Early next week we’ll press the Lauterbach Vineyard and Corona Creek Vineyard Pinots.

We at Stomping Girl have just gotten through harvest and can finally take a bit of a breather.  Now, mind you, “harvest” means much more than just harvest. The term refers to everything from harvesting the grapes to crushing the grapes to pressing the wine.  It takes about 2 weeks to take one of our Pinots from harvest to press and we had three harvests this year.  Check out some of our photos taken during these last several weeks during Stomping Girl’s ’09 harvest.

Monday we pressed the last of our Pinot–this one from Santa Lucia Highland’s Lone Oak Vineyard. This one was easy…

Previous presses at home went on for hours and got us all juicy and ‘winey’ from our wooden basket press squirting, buckets dripping and the occasional kid tripping over and wiping hands all over our pants and shirts. As fun as it is to make wine at home, making wine at the ‘real winery’ is refreshing.

There, forklifts, one-ton bins and giant automatic bladder presses are used.  There, the pressing process goes like this:

Step one: forklift one ton fermentation bin into the air; Step two: use siphon and gravity to fill barrels 3/4 full with free run juice;  Step three: dump, using forklift, rest of must into the press;  Step four:  push button to start automatic press.

Best part:  the smell of a brand new French Oak barrel both before and after filling it…Promises of heaven on earth.  

Get a little closer...
Love the smell of new oak in the morning 

Also good: tasting the press wine as it comes raining down from the press.

That last part is done in steps as we try to figure out at what point we have enough tannins to go into the already barreled wine. When we reach that point, we stop the press and fill the barrels the rest of the way. Done!