Filtering Viognier 2009

Winemaking, as we’re rapidly discovering, is a voyage of discovery, as the cliche goes. Our 2008 Viognier – all 50 litres of it – turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Because it wasn’t filtered properly, leaving behind bits of solids and some yeast, when the warm weather arrived, despite being stored correctly in our cellar under correct conditions, the corks started popping. In fact, one day when my friend Charlotte came over from Wellington for lunch, I opened a bottle and it was fizzy. “Oh, just pour it into champagne glasses and we’ll call it prosecco,” she said.

We did, and it was rather delicious, even if we did get a bit sozzled. But it’s gone beyond that now, sadly, though Colin’s daughter Tracey, in Canada, has a bottle. It’s never had a chance to warm up and she drank her bottle for New Year 2009 and pronounced it perfect!

Anyway, this weekend we got to use our brand new little filter machine – a wonderful little contraption – to filter the 2009 Viognier. We have about 400 litres this year, a decent sized amount, so we’re being more circumspect. Simon Groves (who with his wife Amanda runs the Martinborough Wine Centre) and also has the agency here for a beaut company called WineEquip (where we got our filtering machine) is helping us make the Viognier and the Syrah.

At this stage, Simon’s just pumping water through the filter to get rid of any cardboardy taste in the series of pads which are placed in that toaster-like box. They are made of earth and other stuff (all gets very technical) and become progressively finer as the wine passes along. After each filter (the Viognier was filtered twice – Saturday and Sunday) the pads are replaced and make great weed mats/compost for the garden.

In the background of this shot, beyond the barrels of Syrah, you can see our new wine press, Italian made, which we also purchased through Simon’s company. This vintage we’ll be putting the Syrah and the Viognier through that. Our little winery is now very well set up.

And here’s Simon and CCQC doing the actual filter – Viognier out of the stainless steel tank, through the filter, into the white tank (out of shot) where it’s now resting and awaiting bottling next Friday.

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