Once our grapes reach optimal ripeness, harvest begins. Most Red Bicyclette grapes are carefully picked by hand. After harvest, the grapes get a good crushing. These days, mechanical presses replace the bare feet of happy peasants!
Ripe grapes are juicy with water and natural sugars. Grape skins are home to yeasts, tiny organisms that convert sugar to carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol during a process called fermentation. Throughout fermentation, released CO2 protects the grape juice from exposure to the air that could ruin it.
Red wine is made when the pulp of red (or black) grapes is allowed to ferment with its skins. White wine is created by separating the juice from the skins and pulp before fermentation.
After the first, or primary, fermentation, our French vintners transfer the heavy liquid to other vessels for secondary fermentation and the wine continues to develop - not all wines enjoy a second fermentation, but most of ours do!
Ageing in steel or oak encourages the flavors to mingle and harmonize like pastel colors on an Impressionist's canvas. Oak barrels, or barriques, impart vanilla, caramel, and toasty notes to both whites and reds.
Our winemaker cleans the mixture by filtering, or fining, to remove the bitter tannins that affect the balance and taste. In the last step from vine to wine, our vintner may order the wine to rest in the bottle before releasing it to your local store for your enjoyment later.