Harvest know how takes focus from when to pick the grapes to how long fermentation lasts, and everything in between. Today I am taking a look at the term pump-over and what this process does to increase wine quality during the fermenting process.
Beginning at the crush pad, the bunches are destemmed. The grapes (now berries with a lot of juice) fill the tank and are inoculated with the yeast chosen for the varietal. The process of converting sugar in the ripe fruit to alcohol begins. A tank full of red wine grapes typically takes about 10 days to finish fermentation. Technology stepped in years ago to help the cellar crew slow the process. They found the longer fermentation takes the more you get out of the grape and the quality of wine goes up. The new technology has been a part of our cellar since the 1970s.
Thanks to our Cellarmaster Hipolito Cano, here is a bird's eye view of a pumpover.
The pump-over process is designed to get the most out of the cap that floats to the top of the tank. The cap consists of skins and seeds. The pump-over method has the fermenting juice pumped from the bottom of the tank over the top of the cap-thereby soaking the juice in the skins where all the color, tannins and flavor are located. The increase in all three of these important characteristics helps to make a better wine. This takes place three times a day during the length of time it takes to ferment dry. A toast to the cellar crew with a splash of Zinfandel in my Dino!