We’re back with another Altitude video and and this time we’re at the famous Gibbston Valley Winery So if you’ve ever been on a wine cave tour you’d know it gets pretty scientific after the first taster.

So we are going to actually chat to one of the winemakers ,and chat to them about what happens after the grape gets picked – and as a challenge for ‘them’, they have to dumb down the science so we can all understand!

Hey, Yeah, Yeah

These are going to be great, great little grapes!

So they get picked and what happens next?

So they get hand picked so everything that is quality focused not machined harvested but hand picked so people are choosing the right bunches – it simply goes into a bucket ….

and then into ahh….. that might look like a stainless steel couch, it’s what we call a ‘press’, its hollow inside with a bag that which fills up and squeezes the juice out of the grape so it separates the skins and the seeds from the juice.  The juice is the important thing , thats what gets turned into wine.

Let’s focused on the whites because it can get pretty complicated when you get into the reds.  

The process is as soft and gentle as we can possible make it.  The juice goes out, and if it’s your Sauvignon Blancs, your Rieslings, the ‘aromatics’ as we call them, it tends to go straight into the tank.

Which tanks are we talking about (looking into the winery)?

They’re kinda like that (pointing to a tank) with insulation so we can control the temperature more effectively:  they’ve got a there is a glycol coil around them so we can cool them down so the cooler the conditions the more sorta fruit based the wine.

So it’s like a cold sitting process?

The temperature is well, – here we go ‘science’…’geek time’!

Well the fermentation happens.  The yeast converts all the sugar into alcohol, CO2 and heat


So ..yeah it’s what we call an exothermic reaction – so heat is reduced, so you just monitor and regulate the speed of the ferment, otherwise it’s done in a day – slammed through, but if you can elongate it you tend to get a little more complexity and flavour. There is a nice brilliance to white wine that can shine and be sparkly, almost like a diamond.

Almost like a diamond!

Do you put it in the barrels?

Yes, some of them!

…so these will go straight into the barrel with all the juice and ferment in the barrel, as opposed to a temp controlled tank.  The smaller barrel will give slightly higher temperatures which is great for building up textures and more complicated flavours in there – depending on the age of the oak, how much wood flavour gets in there, and of course surface area and volume ratio comes into play.

I did drama in school (laughing – and looking confused)

Was that your interested look?  Why tell me more about surface area and volume ratios (still laughing).

It is about having fun and enjoying it with friends, even drinking it. But if you want to take time, look at these things over years: you can start seeing the typicity or the characters come through – do they, don’t they, and have you done a good job allowing that character to express itself? That’s why we geek out on this stuff – we love seeing their personalities come out in the fertile ground of where creation happened.

Cheers Gibbston Valley for the wine science and cheers Altitude tours for giving a tour unlike the rest!

Well go on then, don’t be shy!

I’m NOT being shy – it’s a sipping process and I’ve got a white top on!