How come a winemaker would consider using gravity instead of mechanical methods to make top quality wine?
- a more gentle process of extracting juice and colour
- does not need electricity
- decreases the chance of oxidation
- manages the tannins
- creates a more fruity well-balanced wine.
Alonso Granados, the winemaker of Decantos designed the multi-story winery to use the gravity flow process. He studied wine making in Spain and apparently submitted the design 7 times before it got approved. The building descends 36 feet underground and uses gravity from the beginning of the wine production process from harvesting the grapes, to fermentation, and bottling.
This was my first exposure to gravity flow winemaking and I found it fascinating. In a mechanical process, one step of the wine making process is to pump over and/or punch down the cap which is where the wine skins and other solids have formed into a floating mass. The pump over/punch down process is done so that the wine skins stay in contact with the juice, and to develop flavour and colour. With the gravity flow – everything runs naturally downhill, and there is no need for this mechanical process. I’m curious about which method is more labour intensive. I highly recommend a visit to Decantos to experience a tour enjoy the hospitality of Alex Ford, and and taste many of their delicious wines.