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Making Wine: More than Meets the Eye

January 31st, 2011

Peter Kitchak and I spent the weekend at his namesake winery in Napa racking wine. Racking wine is the process of removing sediment from the handcrafted oak barrels during the lengthy aging process. First each barrel has the wine drained, then the barrel is cleaned and lastly the wine is delicately pumped back into the barrel.  The characteristic wine-colored stripe on the barrel indicates the barrel has been racked. This was the first year we had multiple vintages to rack, about 50 barrels, each representing 25 cases of bottled wine when the aging is completed.

It is a great hobby to hold me over this winter until gardening resumes in Minnesota.

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Friday Photo: Making Napa Wine

October 22nd, 2010

Kitchak Cellars

I’m making the newest vintage of wine at Kitchak Cellars in Napa, CA with partner Peter Kitchak (left)  and well-known Minneapolis architect, Tom Oslund (right). The grapes have just been picked, sorted, de-stemmed and lightly crushed.    Notice the juice is near colorless.   The next step is a cold soak on the skins to impart flavor and color.    After fermentation  and extended maceration, pressing follows and the new  red wine  is transferred  into oak barrels, where  it matures for  many  months before bottling.

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