You may recall that Monte Creek Winery is building a new Gravity Flow Production Facility. We’re very excited about all of the opportunities this will give us, not only because it will increase our production capacity to nearly 50,000 cases, making us one of the largest wine producers in the province, but it’s also firmly in line with our sustainability goals and our dedication to making excellent wine.
About The Gravity Flow Production Facility
Our production facility has three, sloped floors. and it’s built on a hill and partially underground, so we can load grapes in at the top and let them roll themselves into the presses and then through the other stages of the winemaking process until the wine flows into barrels and is finally bottled. This uses less electricity and less water since we don’t have to clean out a bunch of pumps, which we love because we’re obsessed with sustainability, but we had other reasons for building the production facility.
Don’t Bruise The Fruit
It is a common understanding in the industry that removing as many pumps, hoses, and conveyor belts from the winemaking process as possible will actually improve the quality of the wine. For one thing, gravity makes it easier to avoid moving sediment with the wine through the various winemaking stages because gravity is less likely to stir sediment from where it sinks to the bottom of the fermentation tanks than an industrial pump. Pumps, which are often used to move grapes and juices from one tank to another, can also do things like cause bruising and agitation to the fruit. This can have an impact on the flavour and aroma of the wine.
Tannins In Wine
This actually has a lot to do with the tannins in wine. Tannins come from the skins, seeds, and stems of the grapes as well as the barrels used for aging, and they are the part of the wine that provides texture and structure. They can also make your mouth dry. You can get the same feeling from strong black tea. Plants originally developed tannins as a defense to keep themselves from being eaten. Of course, that backfired a bit when it came to humans… tannins are found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and of course wine, so they can actually be really pleasant used properly. Done correctly, tannins will smooth out the texture and mouthfeel of wine as it ages. Done incorrectly, well…
Good Tannins vs Bad Tannins
When machinery like pumps crush and jostle the grapes’ seeds and skins, the tannins can be more harsh than intended. Some of you are thinking, “Wait! Didn’t you just get through telling me that tannins are good in wine? How could they be bad?” Yes, we did. However, tannins can be difficult. Over time, tannins bind together and settle as sediment, which smooths the texture of the wine. When wineries use pumps and other heavy machinery, it can crush grape seeds and skins in an unintended way that prevents the tannins from binding properly.
Gravity flow production allows for gentle processing that results in softer, rounder tannins and a much nicer mouthfeel. This is because moving wine down a gentle slope with gravity is going to allow us to incorporate tannins in a more delicate way.
More About The Facility
That’s not to say that our wine isn’t fantastic already. Monte Creek has very talented winemakers, but a Gravity Flow Production Facility will be one more tool that helps them make fantastic wine. To hear what our head winemaker thinks about our new facility, check out this blog post we did back in February.