And so it begins!
Autumn signifies vintage at Pyramids Road Wines. March/April is harvest season for all the wineries on the Granite Belt.
It’s a great time to visit as you can usually see grapes ready for processing, ferments in action or taste raw wines from tank or barrel. You might even see a harvester in action. The grapes hanging on the vine look so delicious and guess what, they are so sweet.
On the Granite Belt, it’s not just grapes but apples, olives and pears being harvested as well.
All the grapes at Pyramids Road Wines are hand harvested by a trusty, loyal team of volunteers taken from our mailing list. Some of our pickers have been helping us now for over 10 years.
Hand harvesting ensures our grapes are selected for quality in the vineyard. All the unwanted, damaged grapes are left behind and only the plump, ripe, perfect grapes go into the winemaking. Any disease or bird damage can be easily removed at this stage to ensure we have high quality grapes to be processed.
White grapes are typically harvested in February whilst the red varieties come in during March and April. Some varieties ripen at different times so we don’t have all the grapes coming into the winery at the same time. Our winery is one of the smaller ones, crushing on average around 15 tonnes each year.
After harvesting the grapes, they go into our cold room overnight so the temperature is cooled prior to crushing. A long cool ferment ensures we have control over the extraction of flavours and aromas in the final wine. The grapes are crushed into the fermenting vessel, usually a plastic food grade one tonne fermenter so the stalks are removed and the grape skins squashed gently to extract juice. The white grapes are immediately pressed and will ferment without skins. The reds are left on skins to ferment so the pressing is not carried out until after the fermentation is completed.
Yeast or no yeast
Most of our wines have a commercial yeast added to control fermentation, with the exception of our Barrel Ferment Chardonnay. We use a mixture of wild yeast (naturally occuring yeast in the vineyard and the winery) and commercial yeasts which are used to inoculate the Chardonnay ferments.
After primary fermentation is completed – where sugars are converted to alcohol, the must is then gently pressed to extract the solids from the wine (or juice in the case of white wines). The still cloudy wine is pumped to a stainless steel tank to settle and rack to barrels.
Some wines undergo a secondary fermentation to soften the acid. Malic acid is transformed into lactic acid during this process. Our Verdelho is a good example of a wine that shows malic acid – a crisp, bright finish on the wine. Whereas the barrel ferment Chardonnay goes through partial malolactic fermentation so the acid is softer like milk acid giving the wine a broader, richer mouthfeel. All our red wines go through malolactic fermentation.
And now we finish the wines. The unwooded wines will be bottled in a short few months and ready for sale this winter. The Verdelho and the Rosé wines fall into this category. The reds and the barrel ferment Chardonnay will not be bottled until early next year. They spend 9-12 months in oak – a mixture of new and older barrels depending on the style we are looking for.
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Visit the Granite Belt Wine and Tourism website for more information.
On the road to Girraween National Park
25 Wyberba Lane, Wyberba Q 4382