Artisan Wine Making
The Winemaking Process
From Vines to WinesThe first and most important lesson that all winemakers are taught is that "Great Wines Begin in the Vineyard". Here at Island Winery we travel the world to bring back the best fruits for our wines. Once the fresh grapes or fruit arrive at the winery we get to work.
Grapes are shipped fresh to the winery
CrushingThe fresh fruit is hand loaded into our automatic crusher/destemmer. This machine gently crushes the grapes and removes the stems without breaking the grape seeds. Crushed or broken grape seeds will make the wine bitter.
FermentationPrepared in very small batches,the grapes are crushed the sugar, acid and Ph levels are checked and adjusted if needed. Yeast and nutrients are then added to the must. Must is the term used to describe the crushed grapes. There is a very large selection of wine yeasts to choose from based on the type of grapes and what characteristics the winemaker would like to enhance or reduce. For example, one yeast will be selected to bring out the fragrant aroma of a white wine, while another yeast might be selected to tone down a vegetal taste, which is common in grapes like Merlot or Syrah. The wines are stirred constantly during the 1 to 2 week fermentation period.
PressingThe fermentation is complete when all of the sugar is converted to alcohol. Once this is achieved the grapes are loaded in the grape press. The press squeezes all of the juices out of the wine leaving behind the skins and seeds. The newly formed wine is now ready for the aging process.
AgingThe amount of time a wine is aged depends on the type of fruit. The fruit wines that make up our Low Country Specialty Wines such as Peach, Apple, Cranberry and Orange are aged only for a few months. This gives them just enough time to let the flavors mellow a bit but still remain fresh and fruity tasting. White wines are aged for about a year. Our fruit wines and white wines are aged in stainless steel tanks, and our red wines are aged in oak barrels.
Our red wines are aged for a minimum of 18 months to 2 years depending on the type of grapes. We use a combination of French and American oak barrels and decide which barrels to use based on the type of grapes. To learn more about the wine aging process please join us for a barrel tasting.