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Let’s talk about why we “punch down”

Join us each week for some Geeky wine stuff!

Did you know that (almost) all grape juice is clear, not colored?

Yes! The color of wine generally comes from the skins as the pulp of most grapes, light grapes AND dark grapes is colorless.

In order to extract the color and other goodies from the grapes, we ferment red wine in contact with the grape skins and pulp. White wine is made by quickly pressing the juice from the grapes soon after picking. then settling and fermenting the clear juice.

To help keep the yeast happy and fermentation proceeding without incident, we mix the skins, pulp, and air into the developing wine.

One way to do this is to do “punch downs”. Where a plunger is used to push the floating “cap” of grape skins and pulp, brought to the surface by rising CO2 bubbles, back into the liquid below.

It’s a great workout, but like all things in wine, a bit of moderation is in order.

The CO2 produced during fermentation can build up, and exercising in a CO2 rich environment while punching down 30 or 40 bins of grapes can be dangerous.

But the result is awesome! That being a rich well colored wine, full of flavor, aromas, and even beneficial organic compounds which can delight our customers!

So next time you eat a bunch of grapes, give one a squeeze and notice the color of the juice!

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Please feel free to leave us a question in the comments below and we’ll feature one or two on our next “Ask a Question Wednesday”.

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