We harvested some nice Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes and we successfully commissioned our 4 tonne Coquard press with “whole clusters”. The juice came out quite clear, as expected.
The juice was transferred by gravity to settling tanks, where we let it settle for about 24 hours. After this, the juice was racked off its lees into a tank where it was inoculated with selected yeast.
Since then, the winery has been filled with the nice—or I should say exquisite—smell of fermenting juice.
The temperature control system has proven efficient, which means that we were able to keep the fermenting wine at a constant temperature to allow for a steady fermentation. Remember, during the alcoholic fermentation, yeast metabolise sugars and convert them into alcohol and CO2, as well as energy, in the form of heat. Left unmanaged, the temperature can get to a level that is lethal to yeast. We were able to control the temperature of the fermentation in the tanks. Here you can see the foam from healthy yeast activity:
About half of the wine lots are now technically “dry”, which means that all the sugars have been consumed. The other half is getting close, but they will need another couple of days.
The dry wines are now kept at just over 20°C in order to promote lactic bacteria, which will then initiate the malolactic fermentation, during which malic acid will be converted into lactic acid. While yeast can ferment at low temperatures, around 12°C, bacteria need a warmer environment to thrive, between 20°C and 25°C. This is when being able to keep tanks warm is VERY useful.
I’m now closely monitoring the decrease in malic acid concentration in the wines. Once the concentration is down to zero, we’ll put the wines to “sleep” and start the process of clarifying/fining and stabilizing – this will likely happen mid-December.
We’ll keep you posted on the progress!
Jonathan Médard – Winemaker
As I’m writing this blog it is blowing a gale and tipping down with rain outside – that glorious Indian summer disappeared pretty quickly and autumn is definitely here. Before it arrived though, I caught some early morning sunrises in the valley.
Progress at the Flint Barns is proceeding nicely and we are in the final stages with a few minor adjustments and also some outstanding snagging that needs to be finished off. Currently we are also working towards a major update with regards to the Flint Barns website and social media; it will include a large gallery of pictures so you can really see just how beautiful the Flint Barns are.
We’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with a few schools over the last few weeks and given them a grand tour of the Flint Barns. I have to say that all of them have been blown away with the quality of what we are offering – and I assume they are very pleased, as we have had bookings from the schools for 2015. It’s going to be such an awesome place for school children of all ages to come on an educational trip, a real home away from home to experience the countryside right in the middle of one of the UK’s largest Vineyards.
Last Sunday I spent the day working at the Gun Room, our retail outlet for Rathfinny Wine Estate and the Heritage Centre for Alfriston and the Cuckmere Valley. I was working with Kristina and it was a really enjoyable day. Kristina was fabulous with the customers giving every person an excellent level of customer service, exactly what I want the team in the Flint Barns to offer to all of our customers too. They have some scented candles (http://www.rewinedcandles.com/) in stock and the spiced cider was my favourite one – I’m definitely going to buy a couple of them for Christmas. Pop in to the Gun Room if you are in Alfriston and have a sniff of the spiced cider, you’ll love it for sure.
There are also some spaces left for our last Estate tours of 2014, well worth the visit as we have now completed our harvest and the Winery is starting to smell like a winery should do. You can book the tour ticket either online at www.rathfinnyestate.com or by visiting or calling the Gun Room on 01323 870022 – if you can’t make it for the end of this month then we are also selling Gift Vouchers for 2015, a perfect present for Christmas.
Adrian Lamb – Flint Barns Manager