Winemaking

Great wines reflect the complexity and character of great vineyards, as well as the vision, passion and patience of those who farm them.

Learn about our winemaking, step by step:
Deciding when it's time to harvest the grapes.
The harvesting process usually occurs between early February and late March. During that time of the year, we take a sample from each block of vines to determine if they are ready for picking. With 13 different types of cultivars, a warm northern slope and a cool southern slope, makes our vineyard management so much more intensive. The vines mature at different times, certain blocks of Merlot and Pinotage just happen to mature early, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Hanepoot seems to want to hang around forever.
 
Picking the grapes.
Once we determine that harvest is underway, our vineyard team hand picks the grapes, typically harvesting around 25 tons a day. Our grapes are harvested early morning to protect the delicate aromas. We then transport the grapes to the cellar as quickly as possible.
The grapes are weighed, sorted, and hand-sorted to remove imperfect fruit, leaves, and other material that might detract the quality.
 
Destemming the grapes and dropping them into the tank.
For red wine we tip the grapes into the destemmer, where the berries are crushed and separated from the stem. Then the berries and juice are pumped into the fermentation tank. This gentle handling optimizes the quality of the fruit going into the tank which minimises any bitterness that might come from the stems or seeds. For white wine, the grapes also get tipped into the destemmer, but the grape juice is separated from the skins to avoid any unwanted colour.
 
Fermentation
Red wine: Once the grapes arrive in the tank, the juice and skins are cooled (called 'must') to approximately 10ºC allowing the juice to 'cold soak'. During the 'cold soak', which typically lasts 4-5 days, we gently pump over the juice in the tank to allow extraction of the skins into the juice. I believe this extraction at the beginning of the fermentation process allows for wines with better colour, and softer, richer tannins.
Once the cold soaking process is completed, I add the yeast and stop the cooling to allow fermentation to start. During this process, yeasts convert the sugar in the juice to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
 
The fermenting juice is gently pumped over 2-3 times per day to continue the extraction process with the skins. The wines are daily analyzed to determine the sugar and temperature. Between 10ºB – 8ºB (The grapes come in at around 25º Balling/sugar.) the wine is ready for draining and pressing. The whole process, from the arrival of the grapes at the winery to the draining and pressing of the must, generally takes approximately 21 days.
 
White wine: Once the juice is separated from the skins, the juice gets pumped into a tank and cooled down to approximately 8-10ºC. The heavy particles in the juice settle down at the bottom of the tank (called lees).
The juice gets separated from the lees, the cooling is stropped and the yeast is added. When fermentation begins, I start the cooling again to slow the fermentation process and to protect the delicate aromas.

Fermentation takes approximately 10-14 days.


Jakkalsvlei Private Cellar
+27.443330222