“I have to manage that in order to keep it from escaping,” he said.
If he doesn’t manage it, the fermenting grapes bubble over and out of the bin, losing precious juices.
“Then I become the mopper,” he said.
When the initial fermentation process is complete, the harvest goes into the wine press. The young wine is pressed into a bucket then poured into a stainless steel tank.
Four to six months later it’s pumped into another tank. The wine is allowed to settle and the pump extracts the wine from the top, leaving the sediment at the bottom. This process is repeated every few months. The clarification process takes about two years.
Toasted oak chips are added to the wine to yield a flavor profile once only gained by storage in barrels.
Knotts said this year’s harvest will likely produce about 70 gallons or 350 bottles of wine. He’ll probably blend this group with another, larger batch of wine.
“This is a diminished crop,” he said. “If that’s all I’ve got, that’s a pretty light harvest due to the freezes.”
Knotts will blend and taste small quantities of a wine before bottling. That’s where the art of wine making comes to the fore.
This week, Knotts said Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery had a label approved for a new wine. A portion of the sales from that wine, Think Pink, will support local organizations fighting breast cancer. Think Pink is a Provence style rosé and will be sold out of the winery to tourists and visitors.