Winemaking: The picking
Despite the fact I have a backlog of spirits to make for people, I've been thinking about trying my hand at wine for a while. One fortuitous work trip down to Margaret River (life is so hard sometimes), I decided to see if I could source some good quality wine grapes.
I ended up finding a really helpful viticulturalist listed on the Wine Industry of WA website who was not only happy to sell me locally grown grapes of a wide variety, but was also happy to hook me up with some free grapes as I was after such a small quantity.
As harvest time drew nearer, and after a lot of phone tag with this guy - we eventually sorted out a day for me to head down and pick grapes. After offending my good mate Joe, my girlfiend and I took a day off work and headed down to pick some grapes.
And that we did - whilst I definately favour white wines, the process for making it is a lot more involved - and I'm already having enough trouble reading through Making Good Wine, a fantastic read even if it's nearly completely over my head - I suspect if I continue doing wine, this book is going to become more and more valuable.
Turning up to the vinyard in Yallingup, we were given our choice of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and some others I've never even heard of before - and free reign: as the crops hadn't sold we were allowed to take as much or as little as we wanted.
Trying to keep it simple, we grabbed five forty-four litre tubs of grapes: two of merlot, and three of cabernet. I was hoping to split it across a few demijons to make some plain merlot, plain cabernet and blended cabernet merlot table wines - and maybe even some port.
After two hours of picking we had filled our tubs and packed them back into the car and headed back to Perth.
For best results, wine grapes are typically chilled for transport - however as I don't own a refridgerated truck and this is (for now) a once-off, we decided to risk it. As it turns out this was fine, though if we had taken any longer to get back I'm not sure the grapes would have been any happier.
Next in the process: De-stemming and crushing the grapes.