So initially I thought that I was going to be able to write a blog entry on each day. But starting to realize that I don't have time for that...or that some days will be just about the same as others. So I'll just keep it short and sweet and probably just summarize a few days together.
For days 4-7 that's Thursday thru Sunday. Basically all the days start to meld together, working really long hours, and there's so much that needs to be done in one day. It's hard to remember it all. So at the start of harvest, they have me doing pumpovers. A pumpover is when you need to homogenize your fermentation vessel. And with red wine fermentations, since you ferment on the skins and seeds, all those skins and seeds float to the top of the tank and can create a cap. This is created from all the CO2 that is being produced by the yeast, pushing everything to the top. Yeast is what converts your grape sugars to alcohol, and ta-dah you have wine! That's basic winemaking 101 for ya. Anyways, back to pumpovers. You don't really want to let the cap sit on top of too long. Because skins can get dried out and create pockets in the wine that can make it hard for yeast to ferment in certain areas. So we homogenize the fermentation vessel by basically sucking up juice from the bottom of the tank and pumping it over the cap, in hopes that your mixing the tank and wetting the cap. You usually pump a tank over for 5-10 minutes. And at the beginning of harvest, we maybe had 3 tanks that needed to be pumped over. Sure, one hour of pumpovers, and I'm done. But as more fruit came in from the vineyard, and more tanks start to ferment, it's now taking me almost the full day to complete these pumpovers.
The first fruit we received from the vineyard is Pinot Noir. (But before I got there, they received some Heathcote Syrah. Heathcote is a slightly northern grape growing area.) And we received some Pinot Noir clones I've worked with before, and am familiar with their characteristics. We get Pommard (Pom) and 777. Pom is probably one of my favorite Pinot clones, it's usually a fruit forward clone with tasty bright red fruit characteristics that really coat your mouth with delicate tannins and a good body. But then we started to received some clones I haven't heard of. Like MV6, 916, and a few others.
Then we started to received Chardonnay. And then more Pinot, and well I can't really remember the order of the fruit we received.
It's my first weekend here in Australia, and I worked. Which is what I figured, days off are rare during harvest and are usually extended hours. So I wasn't really expecting a day off. More pumpovers to do!