Blackdown Ridge Estate’spurpose-built winery, with the capability to produce up to 14,000 bottles, an exciting new addition completed over the summer of 2014, is ready for the harvest and production of our still and sparkling wines.
As harvest approaches, regular sampling and observation ensures that when the grapes are plump, ripe and full of delicious varietal flavours, our expert winemaker can choose the perfect moment to begin the harvest.
As the grapes arrive at the Winery they are immediately destalked.
Our white and rose varieties are then carefully pressed in our pneumatic press, thereby breaking the skins and releasing the grape juice, known as the ‘must’. The fresh must is moved to our stainless steel tanks for fermentation, transforming the natural sugars of the grape into alcohol. They will remain in the tanks until they are filtered, blended and bottled several months later.
Grapes intended for red wines undergo a slightly different process where, once destalked, they are transferred to open-top fermenters. Fermenting the juice with the skins allows for all the distinctive flavour and colour components of the skins to be released.
Once the tannins and flavours are ready the skins are removed through pressing and malolactic fermentation starts, transforming tart malic acid found naturally in the fresh grapes into softer, rounded and more desirable lactic acid. Racking the wine into small oak barrels for the remainder of the process allows the red wine to age and develop, and regular tasting ensures that the result is a truly well-rounded and quality tested example of English wine.
Plans for expansion of the Winery in 2017 will allow for the production of Blackdown Ridge Estate English Sparkling wines. Watch this space…