First VESPA grapes pressed!

Chardonnay

On Monday September 8th, 2008, we picked the first chardonnay grapes that will become a part of Vespa Bianco. These were harvested from our estate in Buttrio/Premariacco, with a potential alcohol of about 14.3%. Fermentation is never 100% complete, so realistically these grapes should give us a finished wine of a little under 14%.

There’s also cause to celebrate because these grapes are not just ripe (which means there’s enough sugar) but they are also physiologically mature with a potential alcohol that’s not all that high. All this means there’ll be plenty of complexity and aromatics in these wines without being hot. I’ll tell you more about what physiologically mature means in another post sometime soon.

Historic photo:
Loading New Vintage, first Vespa grapes, New Press!

*NOTE: the grapes for Vespa are loaded into the press BY HAND (not with a pump or screw) and in WHOLE BUNCHES. The stems create a sort of “netting” where juice can drain easily, reducing pressure on the skins, and the extraction of bitter compounds. ALSO, by not destemming first, the resulting juice is cleaner and easier to decant.

And here is a picture of the worst job in the cantina:
Casetties That’s Wes hosing down the cassettes. When the grape boxes are emptied into the press, they MUST be washed before they can be used again. So there you are, hunched over, spraying water all over yourself, hands sticky from grape juice, feet sweating in rubber boots. And there are hundreds of cassettes to wash. And then stack in packs of three, where you get wet again. Then the sun goes down, the temperature drops, and you get really cold…
And that’s why grappa was invented…

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