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Cape May Winery & Vineyard  

Red VS White Grape Harvest


October 15th 2018

White Grape Harvest & Fermentation:
For white grapes, it’s all about the juice!
White grapes mature and accumulate sugars faster than red grapes making them the first to be harvested. Once harvested, crisp white varietals such as Chardonnay are sent directly to the crush pad. Whole grape clusters are dumped into our crusher/de-stemmer and then sent to the press. As they are pressed, juice runs into a stainless steel pan and is pumped directly into a tank for fermentation.
White wine takes slightly longer than red wine to complete fermentation (about 2-3 ½ weeks). During this time we utilize a method called cold stabilization where we chill the white grape juice past freezing temperatures. This acts as a natural filter and will help clarify the wine. After fermentation is complete, white wine needs a few more months of filtration and then it is ready for bottling! The entire process can be completed in about 6-8 months.
VS
Red Grape Harvest & Fermentation:
In our region, red grape harvest can begin as early as late August with Pinot Noir and extend into late October for fuller-bodied red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon. When picked, red grapes enter the crush pad and are hopper-fed into our crusher/de-stemer. This machine functions just as its name suggests: it separates the berries from their stems and crushes them into juice. The resulting cocktail of grape skins and juice is then pumped to the cellar into temperature-controlled
fermentation tanks.
Once the juice enters its tank, yeast is added during a step called inoculation. Depending on the grape varietal and winemaker's style, there are many different types of yeast that could be utilized during this step. Most strains enhance flavors within the juice, creating a more flavorful wine. To maintain an even fermentation, cellar staff pumps juice from the bottom of the tank to the top twice a day. “Pump-overs” will continue until all sugar is turned to alcohol and fermentation is complete. The finished red wine is then pressed and pumped into our oak barrels for aging.

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