Handmade Wine

How we make our wine

Our wine is all hand made from vineyard to bottle. The grapes are picked by hand. This enables any damaged or undesirable grapes to be discarded, it also ensures that the various wildlife that lives on the vine, bearded dragon lizards, ladybugs, helpful spiders and other insects are not beaten to death by mechanical harvesters and mixed with the grapes. The grapes are picked as whole bunches and placed into 20ltr buckets, which are then transported to the crusher/destemmer, again loaded by hand. Rather than crushing at a central point and pumping the must (squashed grapes) to fermentation tanks we move the crusher to sit above each fermenting tank. As the grapes are not squeezed by the weight of grapes above them in large bins, no juicing occurs and therefore no sulphur is added at harvest, maximum distance from bucket to crusher is 800 meters and the grapes are usually crushed within 1 hour of picking.

Bibaringa Vineyards | Handmade Wine

Hand picked grapes on their way to be crushed

Bibaringa Vineyards | Handmade Wine

The grapes are hand loaded into the crusher

Bibaringa Vineyards | Handmade Wine

Manual plunging or why winemakers have purple hands?

Fermentation

The grapes are crushed and destemmed and the must (squashed grapes) is fermented in open fermenters, usually 1000ltr. We have employed several methods of fermentation, manual plunging the cap, (the cap is the grape skins that float to the surface during fermentation), submerged cap with header boards, and the pump over and return method, and a combination of all these, using both plastic and stainless steel fermenters, the latter being temperature controlled via heat exchangers. Each method produces slightly different wine from identical grapes. Which is best? There is not a simple answer to this question.

Pressing

After fermentation the fermented juice and skins are basket pressed. This is where the wine is squeezed and separated from the skins. With basket pressing the wine is constantly tasted as pressure is applied (over pressing would release harsh and bitter tannins defeating the purpose of using a basket press). The wine is then transferred to stainless steel holding tanks, where the young wine settles and completes malolactic fermentation.

Racking

The yeast lees are settled and racked (clear wine is pumped off and the sediment disposed of).

Malolactic Fermentation

This is the process where malic acid in the wine is transformed into other softer tasting acids. When malolactic fermentation is completed. The wine is transferred to mainly French with some American oak hogsheads (hogsheads are 300ltr barrels).

Maturation

The young wine in barrels is stored to mature in our cellar, usually for a minimum of 2 years. They are regularly monitored and topped up to ensure they are completely full, with no ullage (air space).

Bottling

The wine is bottled, usually with screw caps, sometimes with corks if requested for as special order.

The Best Part

You get to drink the wine.

Bibaringa Vineyards | best part

Submerged cap with header boards

A timber lattice prevents the cap (fermenting grapes and skins)from floating to the top. The header board is held down with a timber cut to fit against cellar roof. Many people who have never witnessed submerged cap think I have some sort of compressed air bubbler installed. But this is just the enormous amount of CO2 produced during fermentation.

Bibaringa Vineyards | submerged