In this article, the Woongooroo Estate Winemaker, Ray Costanzo steps us through the wine making process.
When setting up a vineyard, it is most important to produce top quality grapes for the making of premium wine. The other half of the equation is the services of a top quality winemaker. Our Estate chose Golden Grove Estate at Ballandean to craft our wines. Multi award-winning winemaker Sam Costanzo made our 2000, 2001 and 2002 vintages. Son Ray took over in 2003 and has continued our Estate’s fine association with Golden Grove Estate. Our array of medal winning wines over the years is testament to quality grapes and excellent winemaking skills.
The pictures below give a snapshot of basic steps from vine to wine.
Here we see a half tonne bin of Verdelho grapes. The grapes are picked in the early morning when it is cool. The grapes have already had their sugar content measured, for this assists in indicating the time to harvest. Our grapes are handpicked at vintage by friends and relations. Careful handling ensures berries reach the winery in top condition.
On reaching the winery, the grapes are weighed and chilled in the cold room. This cooling promotes good winemaking practice and conditions for the production of premium wine
Grapes are chilled
Each bin is tipped into the Crusher / Destemmer. This machine separates the grapes from the stalks and leaves. These parts of the vine are spat into a bin at the front end of the Crusher / Destemmer and the macerated berries and juice are pumped along to the Press with the whites. For red wine, the must is pumped directly to a stainless steel fermentation tank where the red wine will ferment with skins and seeds to extract colour and tannin before going into oak barrels to age.
Crusher / Destemmer
The white wine grapes gather in the Press until capacity has been reached. Our Winemaker uses an airbag Press which is inflated with compressed air to gently “squeeze” out the juice.The juice collects in a drip tray under the Press and is then pumped to cold settling tanks where any solids settle out overnight.
Temperature controlled fermentation / winemaking has been one of the greatest innovations over the last few decades. This allows for the retention of flavours and freshness in the wine. The fermentation process is slowed and more controlled. This photo shows stainless steel, variable capacity fermentation tanks. The fermented wine goes through filtering and clarification before it is finally bottled. Our completed bottled wine comes back to our Estate where it is labelled ready for sale. Screw caps have replaced corks in our business.
The styles of wine our Estate produces are planned according to markets, demands and trends, discussion with our Winemaker and of course the vagaries (unexpected fluctuations) of each vintage. We produce and market an extensive range of dry to medium dry whites and reds, sensational semi sweet wines and fortifieds.