Cabernet Franc Pressing at Di Profio Wines

When Joe and Carollynn from Di Profio wines had mentioned that they were going to be pressing that afternoon, we knew we needed to come back and catch the action. Son Fred Di Profio (also the winemaker at Pondview Estate Winery) and his helper (Nathan Phillips) went through the mechanics of getting everything set up. Being a new winery with a lot invested in the property, vines, tanks, press, and other equipment, they do benefit from the farming community’s “help your neighbour” approach and have been able to borrow or buy some used equipment at decent prices in order to turn the ripe grapes into wine (the previous year’s wine was made at another winery, which is why they can’t sell it from their winery).
I’ve never caught a pressing before although I’ve seen the presses and understand how they work, it was still fascinating to see it in action. The first thing I realized watching the press is how much physical labour is involved even in setting up to press.
In this case they were going to empty out the oak fermenters of the juice followed by the grape skins (must) by feeding them into an auger/pump that would fill the press.
The first thing you realize is that the fermented juice is an amazing purple colour. We were able to sample some of the juice right out of the vat. It tasted great even though the acidity was still very high.
Once most of the juice makes it through the pump and the press, the skins and pulp (the must) need to be pulled out of the vats. There is a center opening in the bottom of the vats that makes it easier to scrape out the contents into the auger. “Easier” is a relatively loose description as Nathan demonstrates the benefits of a young back.
This is dirty work.
Sometimes you need to get into your work!
Once the press is full, they start it up. A bladder in the center of it inflates, squeezing the last juice out of the grapes as it rotates. The juice seeps out of the fine holes and is collected in the bottom of the press. From here it is pumped into a tank temporarily until it will be put into barrels for aging.
That’s the clean-out hatch. We didn’t stick around for the clean up but I imagine cleaning everything takes even longer than the setup.

Joe also showed us a bunch of Cabernet Sauvignon that they had drying on milk crates – they are trying some of the appassimento style with some of the grapes this year.

We left soon after for another winery visit. There was another press afterwards and they were still working when we returned late that night, even though they pressed in the afternoon.

It was great seeing how an emerging winery manages to get the grapes into the bottle. Given the detail and personal care paid to everything from pruning to grape selection,  these new artisan operations can produce some amazing wine. I think Di Profio Wines is going to be one to watch going forward.
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One Response to Cabernet Franc Pressing at Di Profio Wines

  1. Mary-Jane Russell says:

    I agree with the writer. I can hardly wait for the Di Profio wines to come to market. Joe Sr. and Carollynn shared a bottle of their white wine over a fine meal a few summers ago and it was superb, as was their delightful company. Clearly Fred and Joe’s expertise and everyone else’s hard work and refined pallettes will create a world-class Canadian wine. These folks are not beginners. Thank you to you all and we wish you great success! Nick Blagona and Mary-Jane Russell, Caledonia, Ontario

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