Winemaking

winemakingIf it is a cliché that wine is made in the vineyard, it is a cliché that we live by. Close to thirty vintages have shown us that whatever beneficial actions are taken tending the vines will show up later as better tasting wines. Our goal is to sell wines that are a joy to drink. Here is the approach we take to attain that goal: Harvest is usually starting in early October in Northern Michigan where our grapes are all harvested into one half-ton cherry tanks. The grapes arrive at the winery within two hours of being picked and are usually at 40-50 degrees. Most grapes are crushed and pressed in our membrane press. This press is capable of pressing 10 -11 tons of fruit in a 2.5 hour press cycle. The juice is settled overnight and then pumped off the heavy juice settlings into barrels or stainless steel tanks.

Selected yeast and malolactic cultures are added to the juice, and it ferments over a 10-20 day period depending on temperature and juice variety. Wines in barrels are left on the lees (spent yeast cells) and are stirred periodically. Wines in stainless tanks are pumped off the lees into other stainless tanks.

Winter plays an important part in our winemaking. All wines produced from grapes deposit potassium bitartrate crystals when they are chilled. In Northern Michigan that means turning off the heat for a couple of months and letting Mother Nature do her part. It is also a great time for the Good Harbor winemaking team to go skiing or find a warm ocean that needs another diver.  Springtime finds us warming the cellar a bit and filtering the wines off the lees and tartrate crystals and fresh fruity wines can start to be bottled. Wines needing oak aging will remain and be bottled later in the summer. When the temperature gets warm enough to support additional fermentations, we will bottle our sparkling wine cuvees to re-ferment in the bottle and lay en tirage for 18-24 months.