Search Articles

Please Share

FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditTechnoratiLinkedin

Subscribe to Blog via RSS

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sponsors

Search for Events

Connect

  • Facebook: norcalwine
  • Linked In: FredSwan
  • Twitter: norcalwine
 

Sponsors

NorCal Wine Blog

Scenes from an Industrial Winery

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.]

depth-finder
When your fermentation tanks are massive, you need one of these to know how deep the juice is.


pipes
Gravity flow is not an option. There are vast networks of pipes to move juice and wine from place to place.


woven-hose
I like the braided hose on this fitting, and the condensation.


stairs-on-tank
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-helmet-on-bike
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 FacebookAlso 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.

Comments   

Rich Reader
#1 Rich Reader 2012-03-20 19:47
You'd enjoy a visit to the Frei Brother Ranch where E. and J. Gallo produces 2 Million Cases of Fine Wine Per Year (vinebuzz.biz/node/29) (don't try this at home) for a large number of the different brands and vineyards that they own/operate in Sonoma county. The philosophy goes: keep the cultivation inside the original families that owned the vineyards (and let vineyard management deal with scale through the cultivation phase), but consolidate de-stemming/pre ss/crush/fermen tation/aging/ce llarage and all other downstream activities into monster plants. I can almost certainly arrange an official visit for you, as the public relations manager for fine wine is a friend.
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh