Winemaking Unplugged

The harvest is coming in thick and fast in the Western Cape of South Africa. It is with great expectations that I await the new vintage and anticipate the surprise of special new wines.  I visited my friend Brenda de Jager’s garagiste operation in the centre of town and was surprised at how little you need to make your own.

Quick harvest facts:

  • A ton of grapes makes about 720 bottles of wine
  • Red wine goes through 2 fermentation phases
  • Primary fermentation of red wine takes about 3 to 5 days and produces 70% of the alcohol
  • Secondary fermentation takes up to 2 weeks and produces the 30%.
  • Punch downs need to happen 3 times a day during the 2 fermentation phase as you want the juice to have maximum contact with the skins