The harvest provides us with approximately 6 tons of grapes which are being processed at our winery in Paso Robles. They are crushed, destemmed, and placed in open-top bins for primary fermentation. The batches are then tested for pH to determine possible acid additions. The acid adjustments, if needed, are calculated and added.
Within 24 hours after crush, we extract juice for our Rosé wine and place it in individual barrels where it will be allowed to ferment and age separately from the primary batch. The resulting red wine batches have a higher concentration without the Rosé juice. The result is a better color extraction and overall wine density, which makes for a richer red wine. The Rosé extraction process is identified by the term saigneé, which is French for “blood-letting”. We have “bled” the Rosé juice from the primary must. Both the Rosé and the primary must are then inoculated with yeast to start the primary fermentation.
The winemaking process then enters an active phase where the primary must in the bin is “punched-down” by hand twice daily to improve grapeskin contact with the fermenting juice. The Rosé juice has no such requirement. Both are tested daily for residual sugar to assess the progress of fermentation, which converts sugar to alcohol. When primary fermentation is complete, usually within approximately two weeks, the primary must is pressed and transferred to barrels, where it will pass through secondary, or malolactic, fermentation and aged until bottling. Both the primary wine and the Rosé wine, as we will now call them, since they are now truly wines and not simply juice, are allowed to proceed through secondary, or malolactic, fermentation, which converts malic acid