The best time to visit a winery is during harvest when the vineyards are teeming with activity and excitement for the latest vintage. Each year, from August to November, our vineyard and winemaking teams work hard to complete the harvest process and gracefully capture the fruits of our labour.
Step by step our teams work together alongside mother nature to gather our grapes and begin the process of making wine. Our team works around the clock to select the best grapes, bring them into our winery crush pad and begin the fermentation process.
As they say, it takes a village and many of our talented crew work day and night during this crucial time of year.
We sat down with our winemaking team to learn more about our step-by-step harvest process.
Grapes are handpicked in the early morning hours and arrive at the Quails’ Gate crush pad ready to be sorted and crushed.
After sorting, grape clusters head into the destemmer. The destemmer removes the stems of the grapes, leaving only pure loose berries to be gently crushed to extract the juice.
Our team diligently and thoroughly removes any matter other than grapes and keeps only the best clusters of grapes.
Now it’s time for fermentation, which helps convert the grape juice sugars to alcohol. The red grapes head into stainless steel tanks for fermentation, while the white wine grape skins are removed from the juice before heading into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. Different blocks and vineyards are kept separate to allow the unique terroir of each site to express itself.
Primary fermentation can take two weeks or more, and the process is rigorously attended to by our winemaking team. During fermentation, the red grape skins will rise to the surface of the tank. To ensure the red grape skins stay in contact with the juice, our winemaking team conducts punch downs or pump overs several times a day
The next step is a dirty one! For the red wine currently sitting on skins, all juice is removed and all that is left in the tank is the skins of the red grapes. The skins are dug out by hand – a very laborious process! Everyone gets involved and it’s a messy day, but a fun one.
After pressing, we let our red wines settle and then rack them into oak barrels. Racking is the process of moving wine from one vessel to another. At this time malolactic fermentation is completed in barrels to perfect the wine’s evolution before being oak-aged or blended for the final wine.
Words by Angela Aiello @SuperWineGirl.
Limited-Edition Harvest Collection
For winemakers and wine lovers alike, harvest is a time of excitement and promise for what the 2022 vintage will deliver. To celebrate the season, our limited-edition Harvest Collection is brimming with excellent wines to enjoy this October including rich, savoury 2021 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir and our boldly structured 2020 Okanagan Valley Merlot.