After harvesting, the grapes are transported from the vineyard to the cellar, where the grapes are crushed and de-stemmed.
The reason for crushing is to split the grape’s skin and allow the sugars of the juice to flow and get in contact with the natural occurring yeast found on the grape's skin. Alcohol (and carbon dioxide) is produced when yeast and sugar get in contact with each other. We crush our grapes mechanically by means of a heavy spiraled steel roller.
At this point the grape stems are separated from the juice, or ‘must’ (as it is referred to at this phase in the game). The must is pumped into the cellar and cooled down by a mash cooler to about 12°C – the optimum temperature for controlled first fermentation to start.
This is also the juncture where red wine grapes and white wine grapes take different paths. If a wine is destined to be white wine, then the grape skins are removed at this stage of the process by pressing the grapes prior to fermentation. By pressing the grapes, the juices are gently extracted and pumped into a stainless steel tank where the first fermentation process starts.
If the goal is to make red wine, then the must is allowed to ferment on the skins first (to provide the wine with colour and tannin components), where after pressing takes place.