Having a vineyard is romantic AND a lot of hard work. I'm talking physical labor here folks! Labor that I didn't know about when we started. I expect that starting a winery will be the same. It seems romantic but you just don't realize the work involved!
But, we do know and have known for quite awhile that we want our own winery! So, we are biting the bullet and just starting a winery - Oswald Winery.
As you know if you have been around for awhile, we have done a lot of wine making using grapes we gleaned after harvest. You can see some of the older posts about our wine making with our Roussanne grapes, crushing grapes and fermenting the wine.
Once harvest is finished, we plan to finish as much as possible (with the time and finances available) the upstairs of our home. Once that is finished, we can move all our "stuff" out of the barn where the tasting room will be.
It will be like Christmas since all that "stuff" has been packed up since we moved from Alabama to start this adventure!
Once the barn is cleaned out, work on the tasting room/winery begins. It will definitely be humble beginnings but the point is, we are getting started!
The plan at this point is to be in the barn for a year or two and then build a larger, nicer winery/tasting room on the other side of the vineyard. Hopefully, it will even include an event center.
So, we are harvesting about a ton of each of our varieties and making wine for starting a winery for ourselves. We crush and press the grapes here at the house and then transport them to another winery where it will actually ferment.
While we always try to be very clean and sterile, now, it is doubly important. After all, if the wine goes bad, we don't have it sell!
The grapes you see below are Roussanne, a French white grape. They are poured into the top of our crusher/de-stemmer.
Below you can see how they look in the bin of the crusher/de-stemmer. Underneath the grapes is an auger that moves them back and forth separating and crushing them.
As the grapes go through the crusher/de-stemmer, the skins and juice are separated from the stems (rakuses). They come out the bottom and are caught in a large barrel that you can see tipped on edge.
Next comes the pressing of the grapes. We have a bladder press that presses out the remaining juice. The crushed and destemmed grapes are poured in the top and water is turned on to fill the bladder which is in the center of the grapes.
The pressure rises, pressing the grapes between the sides of the press and the bladder. The juice runs out the bottom where we catch it in a bucket.
Here is a closeup view of the delicious Roussanne juice.
Once the smaller bucket is full, the juice is poured into a 55 gallon barrel.
Once all the grapes were pressed, the juice was transported to a local winery where it was chilled quickly and left to settle. After a day or two, yeast was introduced and the fermentation process began.
Now, it is a waiting game until the fermentation is complete.
Starting a winery, our own winery is so exciting....and also, a bit scary!
So, next year, if you are in west Texas, be sure to stop in for a tasting!