Handcrafted Wines by Rikus Neethling
What does the term handcrafted wine mean for a winemaker? Surely each berry wasn’t de-stemmend and crushed by hand?
In my view, it means that you were involved in the whole process and even got your hands dirty in the process. We are coming to the end of harvest and my kids are laughing about my purple hands every time I get back from the cellar. You need to look at a winemakers hands during the harvest to know he is a winemaker.
Term handcrafted shows me the winemaker was involved in farming/growing of the vineyards. Hands-on during the picking of the grapes, involved in the fermentation process involving punch down and pump overs, getting the skins into the press and barrelled. It’s being involved in the whole process.
Harvest is coming to an end and all the red grapes are in the cellar for 2021. Waiting for the last few tanks to finish their fermentation process and helping the wines complete malolactic fermentation. Interestingly malolactic fermentation wines get barrelled and stored separate from the barrel cellar. Barrel cellar will be too cold for the malolactic fermentation to happen, thus we barrel the wines in a warmer room to create the best environment for the malolactic bacteria to complete the process to convert malolactic acid to lactic acid. The process helps to soften the wine and give it more body and structure in the wine.
From here on its feels like our bodies also convert from winemakers to sales and marketing bodies for the rest of the year.