I work at Monte Bello. Accordingly, much of my material for this blog has, as its point-of-origin, the mountain.
That said, my colleagues to the north — at Lytton Springs — are wonderful about feeding me images, videos, and stories.
Given that the teachers/tutors/mentors I am most regularly in contact with, however, are at Monte Bello, the resulting peculiarity is that I am often relying on Monte Bello talent to helps expand on Lytton Springs content!
So this time around, I’m going to flip the paradigm; I’m going to share some Monte Bello content, with some Lytton Springs comment!
The subject of “pump-overs” came up recently on our Facebook page, and in the interest of expanding on the topic, here’s a bit of perspective from John Olney (our Lytton Springs winemaker), followed by a quick and hopefully informative bit of video footage of a pump-over in action at Monte Bello.
With few exceptions, all grape juice is clear. All the color and structure in a red wine comes from the grapes and seeds. Therefore, to make red wine, the clear juice must make contact, or macerate, with the skins and seeds. To accomplish this, we carry out pump-overs twice daily. During a pump-over, the juice is pumped from the bottom of the tank over the floating cap of skins and seeds above.
A pump-over serves two functions:
*First, it is the primary means by which phenolic compounds are extracted from the skins and seeds. Phenolic compounds include all those components of color, tannin, and aroma that make red wine red wine.
*Second, pump-overs introduce oxygen – critical to the survival and function of the yeast – into the fermenting must.
Additionally, pump-overs help regulate the temperature of the fermentation by mixing the cooler juice at the bottom of the tank with the cap of skins above where heat is trapped and builds up.
Video of a pump-over in action:
Sam Howles-Banerji began his tenure at Ridge Vineyards as a Harvest Intern. He is now a treasured full-time member of the Monte Bello Retail Sales & Hospitality Staff …
you can take the intern out of the winery
… and t is to Sam we owe a debt of gratitude for the great imagery in this post (and to Eric Baugher, Shun Ishikubo, and the whole Monte Bello winemaking team!).
In addition to the video footage above, dig this remarkable compendium of pump-over pics: