2016 Suveg Cellars Harvest
The 2016 harvest at Suveg Cellars Winery was our biggest yet! Here are some photos from our recording setting season.
October 2, 2016: Vineyard Manager Preston Todd and Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance Secretary Tina Leuer prepare "The Beast" capable of crushing/destemming 10 tons of harvested fruit per hour. On this date, Suveg Cellars crushed and destemmed a record 5.5 tons. Manufactured in Italy, the Pillan destemmer is pressure sensitive and capable of dialing in maceration grade based on weight and density of the fruit.The Pillan must pump seen below the destemmer will drive the macerated grapes through a 3 inch hose over 100 feet to field bins located in the winery which will be used for primary fermentation.
October 2, 2016 Dennis Brown operates a fork lift which transports half ton field bins of grapes from a refrigerated transport carrier to the crush pad.
The aftermath of the onslaught. Empty field bins litter the winery's property and need to be stacked 3 high.
"Punching down" a process done by hand 2-3 times per day during primary fermentation, requires the winemaker to mix and oxygenate the must. The oxygen assists the yeast in converting sugar to alcohol and creating heat and carbon dioxide.This process is routinely done until fermentation is complete; generally between 7-10 days.
Preston Todd pressing Barbera. The Pillan bladder press is capable of pressing 1 ton of grapes at a time. The bladder is inflated by compressed air and the pressure measured in atmospheres which allows the winemaker to adjust the pressure in squeezing the grapes. The press is a critical step in the wine's processing journey requiring the juice to be constantly sampled for consistency, balance and tannin extraction.
Winemaker Craig Suveg prepares his barrels for use.Usually a 2-3 day process, barrels must be properly "cured" prior to use. Potential leaks and structural defects must be eliminated, the barrel's pressure checked and finally sanitized. Since the winery's inception, Suveg has used only French and Hungarian oak (Quercus Petrea) with 90% of his barrels being coopered in Europe.
Racking (transferring) wine into barrels located in the barrel room is done by using a transfer pump. The barrels are being seated on state of the art seismic racks (left) as well as Western Square racks for the smaller 114-120 liter barrels (right).
From L to R: Winemaker Craig Suveg, Assistant Winemaker Melanie Todd, Vineyard Manager Preston Todd and Production/Equipment Engineer Michael Stubbs on bottling day.
Winemaker Craig Suveg uses a 4 spout gravity fed bottling machine at the bottling station. Bottling is done by hand with 4 bottles filled simultaneously after which the bottles are manually corked at a corking station.