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Andrew’s Legacy dabbles in wine making- Pressing the Grapes.

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, Andrew’s Legacy is participating in Sannino’s Bella Vita Vineyard custom winemaking program.   We have joined with Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast and Harbor Knoll Bed and Breakfast to create or own wines with the help of the Sanninos, Anthony and Lisa.

On Saturday afternoon, Oct.  23, 2010, we participated in the third part of the experience, pressing the grapes. I have not mentioned the second part, which was when the grapes we picked were taken from Sannino’s vineyards to Ackerly Pond in Peconic, where the Sannino’s Bella Vita Vineyards share the processing facilities. Here the grapes were destemmed and crushed by a special machine. (This is the part everyone identifies with the “I Love Lucy” episode.)  

The crushed pulp is shot into large bins where they begin the first stage of the fermentation process.

In the 12 days that have past, the grapes have been fermenting under the watchful eyes of Anthony and Lisa. They have been checking temperatures, sugar levels and adding specials yeasts and bacteria that aid the fermentation process and give the vintner more control of the outcome.

I met my friend Marilyn Marks of Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast there for the press. She is also writing a blog on the process and she goes into much more technical detail than I do, so if you are interested, I would recommend you read her blog.

When we go there we started siphoning off some of the murky liquid, which is actually wine at this point, although very cloudy with sediment. Anthony encouraged us to taste it at every step and it was very good! (A far cry from what tasted much like grape juice only 12 days ago.) Once the vat was reduced by about a third we started loading it into the press. We initially scooped it in with buckets, and when the vat became manageable, it was lifted up and the remainder poured into the press. Members took turns evening out the pile of crushed grapes in the press as more and more was loaded in. The pressure of the bulk of the crushed grapes caused the liquid to start to run off and it was siphoned into holding tanks where the sediment would settle to the bottom.

Once the press was filled the top was sealed. This press works on hydraulic pressure. A bladder in the center of the press is filled with water. As the bladder fills it pushes the crushed grapes towards the wall, which is wooden slates held in place by metal collars. As the pressure builds, more and more liquid is forced out through the walls and collected in a trough at the base.

The wine we were making is a Cabernet Franc and once it is finished processing in the holding tanks some of it will go to the oak barrels for aging and some of it will be ready for bottling. 


This is the machine that destems and crushes the grapes. (So Lucy doesn’t have to)



The stainless steel containers in the background hold white wine, the red is in vats under the plastic tarps in the front. White ferments in sealed canisters like the ones in the picture. Red must ferment in the open air.



Anthony begins to syphon off the liquid in the vats



Here is a more detailed picture of how the liquid is syphoned off. A sieve is pressed down into the crushed grapes to isolate the liquid and the liquid is pumped out through the tube.



 I had to show the beautiful color and texture of the crushed grapes in the vat.



This is the wine press before we put it to work.



Everyone is put to work transferring the crushed grapes from the vats to the press.



When the vats are emptied enough to be lifted, the remaining grapes are poured into the press.



Marilyn adjusts the grapes in the press.



The liquid pours out from the bottom channel surrounding the press. it is further screened of debris (skins and seeds) before being pumped into the holding containers.



The full press, containing three entire vats. Notice the liquid draining out and in the channel surrounding the base of the press.



As the bladder fills with water in the press, Anthony takes an opportunity to explain what he has been doing to the grapes over the past 12 days, such as adding yeasts and bacteria that do things like enhance fermentation and coloration.



Marilyn enjoys some of the chili that Lisa made us for lunch.


Here is the cellar, filled with oak barrels where some of the wine will be going to continue the aging process.




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Andrew’s Legacy dabbles in wine making

Andrew’s Legacy is participating in Sannino’s Bella Vita Vineyard custom winemaking program.   We have joined with Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast and Harbor Knoll Bed and Breakfast to create or own wines with the help of the Snninos, Anthony and Lisa.

On Sat. morning, Oct. 9, 2010, my good friend Marilyn Marks and I went to the Sannino’s to help pick the grapes for the first crush of our wine. Marilyn owns Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast. We were assigned a row and taught how to pick the grapes. We also learned a great deal about winemaking and grape growing from the Sanninos who are gracious hosts, as well as knowledgeable and patient teachers.

After our row was picked clean we joined the Harvest fest luncheon under the large tent in their yard. Lisa hosted an incredible luncheon, including pulled pork, chicken ptarmigan, ziti, clam chowder, roasted corn, and homemade pizza and many other tasty treats. After lunch, the grapes were sent to Ackerly Pond Vineyards to be crushed, the beginning of the many steps it will go through on it’s way to becoming wine.

Membership to Sannino’s Bella Vita custom winemaking is open to everyone, and I encourage anyone who has an interest in how wine is processed and made to join. It’s fun, informative, you become an active participant in the process, and in the end you have your own wine with your own label that you actually had some input into helping to create. I’m looking forward to trying our first bottle.


Marilyn even invited some of here guests to come with us and pick the grapes and enjoy the terrific harvest luncheon.


The row to the left was ours.


Marilyn demonstrates great grape picking technique.



The fruits of our labor. dsc_0047.jpg

Ripe and ready for the picking.



And this is how I do it.



Somehow I manage to make this look difficult.



And yes, I am a goofball.





And after all the picking was done, we enjoyed an incredible meal at the harvest luncheon.





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