Our work in the cellar. Third Part Udo Hirsch
For the third part of my presentation about how to make a Natural Wine I would like to repeat that „ a high biodiversity in the vineyard is the best precondition for a Natural Wine and the successful work in the wine cellar“. In addition, this biodiversity saves a lot of work, trouble and costs, and it gives certainty to clients that they get what they wish to get.
Besides, our project aims at working with little investment and simple work processes.
We have 32 Küps of different sizes with different capacities between 70 – 2000 liter and of different ages. In Turkey you can still find wine Küps all over the country with antique dealers . They are not very expensive.
Our Küps for red wine are in a half open room outside, the küps for white wine in a vaulted cellar below our house.
We work with a grape mill and with a destemming part. It is placed on top of a pump. From here the crashed grapes are directly pumped into Küps.
We fill the Küps three quarters full with mash . Fermentation of the red grapes starts mostly during the next day.
The white grapes normally begin to ferment one day later. Since we do not use yeast from a laboratory, we leave it to the grapes to use their own yeast. This kind of yeast “knows” best how to work with its own grapes, anyway.
During fermentation, when sugar is turned into alcohol, the development of carbon dioxide pushes the grape skins upward to form a tight mash hat. This hat must be pushed down regulary in order to make the extraction of colour, tannins and aroma possible.
On the second and third day I taste the mash and add some of the stems again into the küp, to balance the sugar with some more tannine and aromas
During the following 4-6 days the fermentation is very powerful. Especially the mash of the grapes fermenting outside must be pushed down and stirred every 3 hours, day and night.
If you oversleep, the red wine in our 2000 ltr Küp will behave like a volcano
For our very rare grape varieties we use Küps with a capacity of about 200 ltr. and with a wide opening. Here the dioxyd can escape very easily and the mash hat can also be pushed down easily to mix with the juice.
The küps stay open during the whole time of fermentation.
The fermentation of our red wine takes about 8-12 days, with the white wine in the cellar it takes about 14-20 days. During this time all the sugar is transformed into alcohol. The result is a dry wine.
We now fill the Küps up to the brim and close them with a glassplate and a siphon. Now the few still rising gases can escape through the siphon, but CO² cannot enter the küp any longer. After one month we replace the siphon with a stopper.
In the following time the grape skins, the stems and the pits slowly start to sink down. This procedure takes about one month. Only from two of our grapes do the pits stay on the surface. During this time the wines clear up and we do not need to filter them.
We then patiently wait for another six months without any further interference. During this time the grape juice transforms itself into wine.
In April we invite our wine friends to celebrate with us our yearly Dionysos festival. For the first time we open all our küps and taste the new wine. Together we decide what we should do next. Do we separate the wine from its yeast, from the grape skins, from pits and stems? Do we already fill some wines in bottles? Which wine should we transfer into another küp for aging in our wine cave? Or, do we just close some küps again and wait for another couple of months?
Do not forget, the next Dionysos Festival is in April
Udo Hirsch – Gelveri-Manufactur