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Vine To Wine

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

In September, we had done a feature on the stages of grape-growing – Nine Hills Vineyard Cycle. With this feature, we take you on the journey of the grapes from being harvested to when it’s ready to be sipped as wine – the Vine to Wine journey.

  • Ripening & Plucking of Grapes:
    • When the grapes are ripe enough and reach the right brix level, our winemaker plucks a handful to find out if they taste just right, chews the seeds and measures the sugar content. Once satisfied that the time has come, he gets his team of vineyard workers to harvest the grapes.
    • As they set out to harvest their produce, vineyard workers aim to do it in the shortest possible time, early in the morning.
    • They collect all the grapes in large crates which are then rushed to the winery for crushing

  • Crushing of Grapes: No, in wineries, they do not crush the grapes with their feet. It is considered unhygienic — They use pneumatic presses. Red wines are produced by de-stemming and crushing the grapes into a tank and leaving the skins in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation. Most white wines are processed without de-stemming or crushing and are transferred from picking bins directly to the press.
  • Fermentation: The juice, skins, and seeds (not for white wines) are poured then into stainless steel fermenting tanks. Special wine, cultured yeast is added at this stage to this grape juice. Fermentation begins when the yeast begins to feed on the sugars present in the grape juice. Carbon dioxide and alcohol are by-products of this process.
  • Aging: Once the grape juice has fermented into wine, the wine is poured into barrels/tanks for aging. During the aging process, the wines change tanks/barrels several times in order to remove solids from the bottom of the tanks.
  • Bottling: When our winemaker is satisfied that the wine is now ready to move from the barrels/tanks, they are bottled where the wine will stay and continue to age. Once the wine in the bottle is ready, it is then shipped and sipped by you and me!!!
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Keeping Stomping Alive..

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

It is fair to say that the 1995 movie, A Walk in the Clouds, starring Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, introduced the world of grapes-stomping to many Indians. And we were immediately blown away by the exotic romance and ritual of an otherwise simple wine-making procedure!!!

Flip through the pages of history and you will learn that grape-stomping had its origins in Rome as early as the 200 BC. For thousands of years, men and women performed the harvest dance in barrels and presses, stomping out the juice from the grapes with their bare feet to be eventually converted to wine.

But as humans stepped into the machine age, grape-stomping with their feet became an increasingly unhygienic prospect!!! Can you imagine having a bottle of wine which was made of grapes stomped with other people’s feet? Did you just recoil in aghast? Well, that’s exactly the reason why many countries have banned grape-stomping for wine production. Commercial production of wine uses machines to crush grapes, thus maintaining complete hygiene….

Despite this, harvests around the world still see stomping festivals for the fun and tradition associated with such events.

Nine Hills organized one last weekend at the Upper Crust Grape Stomping, The Lalith Ashok, Bangalore, in order to keep alive the tradition…

Bringing in this year’s harvest of red grapes — the fun-filled ‘hop-hop’ and ‘chop-chop’ of stomping lured both young and old to the barrels….

Mind you, this is just the start of the season……the winter months come with the promise of more grapes….more opportunities to re-visit tradition…

Hail Stomping!!!

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