We can’t believe how quickly harvest time comes around again!
With a successful and very enjoyable 2020 harvest under our belts, our thoughts now turn to the winery. This year the grape crop was of exceptional quality and ripeness, absolutely perfect for sparkling wine production.
Our tanks now contain pure juice extracted from our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes; we gently press the grapes in whole bunches to make sure we only extract the purest, highest-quality juice.
After 24 hours in the tank, we rack the juice off the sediment that settles out after pressing and place into a new, clean tank where we add in the yeast - a key ingredient in the process of transforming grape juice into wine!
Over the course of half an hour or so, we gently wake up the dehydrated yeast in warm water (after all, nobody likes a rude awakening!) and add a little grape juice to help the yeast acclimatise to what will be their new home. Soon, all the yeasts are awake and happily starting their job of converting the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol. Finally, the yeast is added to the tanks of juice and a bubbler is put in the top so that CO2 created during fermentation can escape, but the pesky fruit flies can’t get in!
Over the next few weeks we keep a close eye on the fermenting wines to ensure the temperature remains stable and our army of yeasts are doing their job. It takes two or three weeks for the ferment to finish, at which point all the sugars will have been turned into alcohol. The grape juice is now wine … albeit a very young wine, with no Tickerage bubbles.....yet!
My wannabe Heath Robinson chiller construction will be improved upon ready for next year's harvest! Off camera there is a chiller unit that pumps cold liquid through a thin jacket that surrounds the tank, cooling the liquid (fermenting grape juice!) inside. In this photo only the bottom tank is being cooled.
However, it’s not all grapes …
By late October our apples are also ready. This year we picked about 800kg just from our small orchard, which comprises a dozen gnarly old trees that we use for homemade apple juice as well as English Cyder.
Always a family affair, this year we enlisted friends and family and spent a soggy day dodging the rain, running out together to try and pick a tree at a time before the next downpour came along; a three-hour effort taking all day on and off, which certainly felt something of a contrast to the sunny grape pick this year! We spent the next day pressing the apples and filling the fridge with fresh apple juice, with maybe a little left over to turn into cyder!
Did you know that Tickerage also make a sparkling English Cyder?
Zena always manages to keep a few apples back to make a warming homemade crumble, which we serve to our fabulous friends for Sunday lunch accompanied by a glass or two of fizz (our own Blush, of course!) A perfect way to end October.
What next for Team Tickerage?
After a long summer nurturing their fruit, our vines now need some time to rest, relax and recuperate. They will spend the next few weeks drawing whatever nutrient reserves were left in the leaves back into the roots ready for the next big push in spring.
Now is the time to pack away the picking bins and get ready for pruning (a key part of the vine’s yearly cycle!).
We won’t start until December, which gives us a perfect opportunity to get our still wines ready for the festive season.
We do every single part of the process ourselves, including the wax bottle seals … check out the video of me below for a little insight into one of the trickiest parts of the process!
A check out the still wines collection available while stocks last!
Anthony and Zena x