Wine Making Process
Starting a Batch: Kit wines are prepared in 23 litre (30 bottle) batches in about ten minutes. Once mixed the customer places yeast on the batch to initiate fermentation.
Our Part: Wine is placed in a controlled temperature cooler and allowed to ferment fully prior to racking (transferring) to a glass carboy for conditioning and clarification. When stable and clear the wines receive a polish filtration to provide a commercial clarity without stripping color or bouquet from the wine.
Bottling: A bottling appointment is then scheduled and the customer returns to the shop and packages the wine in bottles, jugs or bags in about 25 minutes.
Clearbrook Brewing Company has a large variety of ciders to choose from. Ciders can have their sweetness adjusted to suit your taste. All ciders take 3 weeks to finish and produce approximately 23 litres per batch.
How is it made?
Picking: California grapes are mostly picked by hand while Washington Grapes are machine picked.
Hand Picking: Starting from first light the grapes are picked in the cool of the morning. The filled totes are placed in a refrigerated truck and arrive at Clearbrook Brewing approximately 36 hours later. These grapes are placed straight into the wine making process immediately upon their arrival.
Machine Picking: Our Washington vineyards employ the use of machines to pick. In a process similar to how we see our local berries, the equipment uses fingers and a shaker to ease the fruit from the cluster onto the conveyor. Green clusters remain on the vine, while any overripe fruit will fall in front of the machine.
Crush: The grapes are run through a destemmer to separate the stems and seeds from the fruit. This unit is sufficient to prepare the “must” (grape slurry). By no longer using a crusher we are able to avoid much of the green tannin associated with seeds and stems.
Fermentation: Grapes are fermented in small totes approximately 1 ton at a time. Yeast is selected based on wine style, grape varietal and assessment of tannin, sugar and PH levels.
Pressing: is achieved with a pneumatic bladder press. The almost fermented slurry is pumped into the press. The unit is designed to allow the free run juice to run into the collection pan. Once full, the unit runs a sequence of pressure on / off then tumble. Similar to ringing out a towel, over a two hour period the wine is removed leaving only a crumb of grapes skins.
Barrelling: Upon completion of primary and malolactic fermentations the wine is ready to be transferred into barrels for ageing. Both French and American oak barrels are used depending on the desired type and intensity of tannin required.
Filtering: Clearbrook Brewing does not use any chemical agents to clarify the wines prior to filtration. The result is a more natural finished product. The wine is filtered using a plate and frame filtration system to produce a high level of clarity without stripping flavor or pigment from the wine.
Bottling: is completed in a mere 15 to 20 minutes. A 30 bottle washer completes sanitization in about 3 minutes. Filling and corking are easily conducted with the semi-automatic units. At the discretion of the customer crowns and custom labels can be applied.