Destemming Grapes at Foxen Winery


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Foxen Winery co-founder Dick Doré shows us his new destemming machine as the first fruit of 2014 begins to come in.

DICK DORÉ
So yeah, this is our newest acquisition that allows us to have a lot cleaner fruit coming out in our finished products. So we don’t have what we call, M.O.G., material other than grapes, getting into—

WIL FERNANDEZ
Is that an official term or…?

DICK DORÉ
Well, it’s an official term around here, but we had our old destemmer that we used for the last 15 years, you know, worked, but it always let through what we call, “jacks”, little pieces of stem and we don’t want that in there. We want just as whole grapes as possible.

WIL FERNANDEZ
So having the stems in there would add…

DICK DORÉ
Stemminess.

WIL FERNANDEZ
Stemminess?

DICK DORÉ
Pinot Noir is such a lighter style wine. Man, you can hide with tannin sometimes stemminess, but you can’t hide it in Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir shows everything. It’s very, very transparent about everything.

WIL FERNANDEZ
In terms of efficiency, you have your old one over there versus this one…

DICK DORÉ
Probably the speed is about the same.

WIL FERNANDEZ
Okay…

DICK DORÉ
But the actual finished product going into that bin, that’s dumped into the fermenter is much cleaner. And the cleaner the better. I mean, that’s our philosophy of wine making. There’s other people that want stems in there, but Foxen develops clean, clean flavors in our wines and that’s done by clean grapes.

WIL FERNANDEZ
So could you describe to me—they’ll dump it in there?

DICK DORÉ
They’ll dump it in the conveyor right there and what that allows us to do is feed it into the destemmer slower and then more efficiently so things don’t get backed up again, trying to prevent stems from getting into the finished tank so that the stems come out this way and not down in with the grapes.

So it conveys, goes up slowly, feeds in slowly to the catcher up there, runs through and there’s soft impellers inside that upper unit that spin around, knock the grapes off the stem, the stems come out this end and drop into that bin. The finished grapes fall through the little crevices and land on the sorting table.
The sorting table shakes it this way and we have people stand on the sides, pick up anything that that slid through that we don’t want in the grapes.

That’s it. Simple process and it’s going to make better wine…hopefully…it sure cost enough!