Making Crianzas and Reservas

(Señorío de Villarrica)

photo 4

A work of art, not of science...
The grapes are picked in the middle of October in “La Vendimia”
(The Grape Harvest).

All our grapes are picked by hand, so enabling our staff to make an initial selection, discarding any unripe or rotten grapes. The fruit is collected in baskets and then emptied into very special trailers (photo 6), which carry a maximum of 1,000 kg. The grapes are then unloaded by vibration onto a selection table without having to tip up the trailer, (photo 7). At this table, six people specially trained for the task remove any leaves and any fruit that does not come up to standard. After the stems have been removed, the grapes are put into stainless steel tanks with a capacity of 6,000 kg (photo 5).  The must ferments for 15-20 days at a controlled temperature before being taken out of the tank. Once grape skins have been separated off, the wine is placed in French oak barrels (photo 8), where the second phase of fermentation, malolactic fermentation, takes place. It is then transferred to barrels with a capacity of 225 litres (photo 4). These barrels are made out of French and American oak and are a maximum of 4 years old. Crianza wines are stored in the barrel for 12 to 14 months and Reservas from 18 to 24, during which time the wine is racked every six months. This involves emptying the wine out of the barrel into a tub, where it is oxygenated and cleaned before being returned to the barrel.

After aging, the wine is refined ready for bottling. Once bottled, it is stored in the bottle-store or cemetery (photo 9), where Crianzas are kept for 6 months and Reservas for 9 months. We then taste the wine to decide whether it should remain in the bottle-store a little longer. Once we are satisfied that the wine is smooth and pleasant, we put the labels on the bottles and the wine is ready to go on sale.

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