Subscribe to Blog via RSS
Search for Events
Recent Blog Articles
- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
- Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native
- Study: Researchers Discover New Taste
- He Wasn't Talking To You, Mr. Outrage
- 16 North Coast Rhones to Try and a Toothsome #WineChat
- How Many Wines do Critics Taste per Day?
- Howell Mountain Spring Tasting Wrap Up
- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- How Critics Taste Wines - Glassware
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
- A Great Tasting on Balance
- How Critics Taste Wines - On Blind Tasting
- On "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
- Robert Parker's Advice to Wine Writers
- Biodynamic Cabernet of Grace from Wise Acre Vineyards
- Back Labels I Can Get Behind
- Napa Valley Premiere - Competitive Juices Yield Record Prices
- Robert Parker Scores and Misses
- 18 Delicious Zinfandels You Need to Try at ZAP
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
- 2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
NorCal Wine Blog
Scenes from an Industrial Winery
- General Interest
- Written by Fred Swan
- Tuesday, 20 March 2012 06:43
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to tour a couple of the world’s largest industrial wineries. It was an eye-opening experience. The scale is awesome, stunning really.
With the massive production volume come many challenges. Every aspect of winemaking technique needs to be re-thought and re-engineered. And I’m not talking about additives, interventionist winemaking and the like that fine wine aficionados tend to moan about. I’m talking about very fundamental things.
How do you move that many grapes? How do you sort them? When you have an insanely large fermentation tank, how do you keep temperatures under control? What do you do with a gazillion tons of grape must? The list goes on and on.
I came away impressed. I was amazed not just by the scale, but with the level of quality and consistency that is maintained. The focus on those things, the attention to detail and continual efforts to improve, were inspiring.
In between my equipment-ogling and question-asking, I took pictures. Many were just for my reference and not too exciting. I thought these were pretty cool though. [If you have one of those glossy screens meant to make movies look great, you might want to increase the brightness a bit to view these.]
When your fermentation tanks are massive, you need one of these to know how deep the juice is.
Gravity flow is not an option. There are vast networks of pipes to move juice and wine from place to place.
I like the braided hose on this fitting, and the condensation.
I love the form and shadows here. But this isn't just any set of stairs on a wall. They are just part of the staircase on a wine storage tank. It holds half-a-million gallons, more than the entire combined annual production of twenty 10,000 case wineries. If you drank the equivalent of one bottle a day out of this tank, after a full year you'd have dropped its level by one inch. There were quite a few of these tanks.
Safety first! Everyone at the winery has to wear a hard hat, except in the office areas. And the winery is so large, workers need bicycles to get around efficiently.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photos by Fred Swan. All rights reserved.