Thursday, April 15, 2010

Harvest 2010 - Pied de Cuve

We prefer to ferment our wines using wild yeast. We believe that by allowing our wine to spontaneously ferment with the aid of the yeast specific to our vineyards, we will produce wines that are truly reflective of our land.

This vintage we are experimenting with using a ‘pied de cuve’ - a yeast culture isolated from one of our vineyards, and used to help us with the last few days of fermentation.

In some years as a wine starts to get drier and the alcohol increases the yeast population reduces and become more fragile. Adding a fresh population of yeast at this stage helps to re-invigorate and finish the fermentation. This is where the Pied de Cuve comes in, supplying enough yeast to help finish off approximately 3 or 4 ferments.

Moir and Alexis are pictured here checking the progress of our Pinot Noir wild-yeast culture.

The cultures are grown from Seresin grape juice, which is kept warm and bubbled with oxygen. Once the culture develops it is fed every day with freshly pressed juice, high in sugar.

We aim to add the Pied de Cuve to the wine when the fermentation is approximately 90% finished. When the sugar and alcohol levels of our yeast mixture are similar to that of the wine, we simply add about 20 litres of our culture and wait!

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