After some fun in Montreal (more to come on this), I headed down to Prince Edward County to catch a couple of days of vintage at Norman Hardie (I was here for four days during vintage last year). It’s a very late vintage here: there are still grapes coming in and it’s November 2nd. But the quality seems to be really good.
Norm is very happy with the wines. We tasted through quite a lot of stuff that had fermented to dryness and it looks to be a pretty successful vintage here. This year Norm has a new property where he’s moved all the reds. It’s a 125 year old barn, on a block where he was previously leasing some vineyards, and there’s also room here to plant more.
This is a good move because space has always been at an absolute premium in the winery. A lot of work has had to be done outdoors, including all the red wine ferments.
This morning I had a look round with Norm at what was going on. It was pressing time for some Pinot Noir lots that had finished fermenting, and where the caps had dropped. The reds are all fermented in blue plastic bins that take c.800 kg of fruit. These can be moved around easily, and it seems to work well. The basket press can take about one and a half of these bins – first the juice is taken off, then the skins and the remaining juice is dumped into the press, and the pressings are added back to the juice. These will settle for a day or so, then the clearer juice goes to barrel.
We also looked at the white ferments, which are usually started off in dairy tanks. These are very convenient to work with, and have high lees to juice contact area because they are flat. It’s very easy to walk round and have a look at how things are simply by sticking your head in.
This afternoon, there’s some Cabernet Franc to destem. Some is destined for rose, so this will be crushed, too, and when the colour is right, it will be pressed.