When the newly – harvested grapes are brought in, the children mount the high platform where the large container of freshly harvested grapes is standing and begin to carefully feed the bunches of grapes into the crusher. The crusher crushes the grapes to prepare them for the fermentation process and separates them from the stems, which we feed to our horses.
The crushed grapes flow out of the crusher directly into the fermentation vats. During the fermentation process the young wine makers are constantly checking the
The Fermentation Process
During the fermentation process sugar in the grapes is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). This process takes a week to ten days.
During the fermentation process carbon dioxide is released from the juice or the “must”, and rises to the top of the vat, pushing the grape skins to the top. This produces a layer at the top of the vat known as the cap. When making red wine this layer must be perforated and “punched down” periodically day and night to ensure that the grape skins constantly cone into contact with the juice to add flavor and color. Punching down the cap demands a lot of physical strength, and volunteers to help with this work are always welcome!
The Wine Press
After the fermentation process is complete the wine is pressed in order to separate the skins, seeds, and solid material. Even our seven-year-old daughter Rimon can do her share by operating the hydraulic wine press. The wine flows from the press back to the vats where the solid materials are allowed to sink to the bottom before the wine is transferred to wooden barrels for aging. This process is called racking.
The solid material or the “cake” is used as organic fertilizer in the vineyard.
The Aging Process
The wine is aged in French and American oak wood barrels, where it undergoes a slow oxygenation process and acquires the taste of the wood that is added to the taste of the fruit from the vineyard. The wine is then moved from one barrel to the other to acquire a better blend of flavor.
We do not use humidifiers, but allow the wine to evaporate from the barrels and improve the taste of the wine. Once each month we replace the wine that has evaporated in order to keep the barrels full. This is called “topping”. The wine is aged in the barrels for approximately one year in order to preserve the natural aromas that are characteristic of desert wines.
Bottling and Corking
Before the bottling process begins the wine from the different barrels is mixed in a process called blending. During the blind tasting process we decide on the optimal taste and determine the proper blend for each year. The wine undergoes a light filtering process before it is bottled in order to prevent any sedimentation in the bottles. The bottles are then closed with corks.
Labeling and Packaging
This is the final stage before the wine is sold. Labels are glued to the bottles with the name of the wine and year. The labels also contain the unique story of wines grown in the desert. A capsule is then placed on the neck of the bottle and the process is complete.