• LOCATION 9 | Cellar Audio Guide: From Berry to Barrel to Bottle

    9. Skin

    9. Skin on Cape Town audio tour Cellar Audio Guide: From Berry to Barrel to Bottle

    NARRATOR: The tanks in front of you are used for the fermentation of red wine mash, but fermentation doesn’t just produce alcohol – it also produces CO2.

    The way CO2 rises up through the fermentation tanks presents Boela with a problem.

    BOELA: It’s like if you make a soda float, with ice cream. It sort of pushes all the ice cream to the top. All that CO2 is going to push all the skins to the top. Now you can’t get colour out of the skin if it’s floating on top - so we have to mix it.

    NARRATOR: There are few ways of doing this. Look at the tanks in front you. They have a steel walkway next to them, and tops that open up. When there’s red wine in these tanks, the team here climbs onto the walkway, opens the tanks up, and pushes the skins, seeds and flesh down manually, using long poles. This is the first way of mixing the mash.

    The second is to siphon juice from the bottom and spray it over the top. The third method requires a different kind of tank, and if you look beyond past this first row of tanks, you’ll see another row of tanks resting against the far wall, lying on their side. These are rotator tanks, which churn the wine like a cement mixer while it ferments.

    It only takes seven to ten days for the mash to become wine. Then it’s matured on the skins for another month or so, to extract all the colours and flavours. Once the wine has absorbed as much colour as it can, it goes into the press, and from there it’s moved into barrels to be aged. Red wine can be aged in barrels for up to 18 months before being bottled.

    Let’s move on again. Continue to location ten.

Cellar Audio Guide: From Berry to Barrel to Bottle