This amazing mess of red and crimson is destined for greatness, albeit an ephemeral greatness.
The purple black texted surface is a floating raft of grape skins and seeds.
The stream of red fluid is the juice of the shiraz fruit crushed a few days before.
What is actually taking place here is this fermenting vat of grape juice, skins and seeds is receiving its twice daily stirring.
The juice (gradually becoming wine) is drawn from below the raft of skins (‘the must’) and pumped back into the vat. The winemaker’s job here is to work the flow over the entire surface to help infuse the tannins, the colour and the complex flavors of the skins and seeds back into the fermenting juice.
The stirring will go on for 7 to 10 days while the yeast works its ‘grape juice into wine’ magic. Every day the juice sits fermenting the winemaker will taste the wine and make adjustments to the process. At the end the entire vat, the juice and the must and the fallen gum tree leaves will be basket pressed and then barreled for the next part of this wine’s amazing journey.
If this years vintage is good enough, and the twinkle in the winemakers’s eyes suggests it is, this fermenting red and crimson mess will become Rockford’s 2017 Basket Press Shiraz.
I am already looking forward to enjoying a bottle of this wine in perhaps 10 years from now (if I can wait that long).
Photo: Robert Rath, ‘Filling Rockford’s Basket’, 1/400s f/14 ISO2500 14mm