Grapes for our white wines are both hand and machine harvested. Hand-picking is gentle on the fruit and preserves the integrity of the bunches. Machine harvesting crushes the fruit slightly, breaking the skin of the grapes and releasing more phenolic material into the juice.
White varieties are either destemmed before pressing or grapes are tipped directly into the press for whole bunch pressing. At De Iuliis we whole-bunch press our Semillon as the stalks provide drainage and preserve fruit purity. Chardonnay, Verdelho and Pecorino are all destemmed to allow light maceration with the skins, adding texture to the palate.
Grapes are pressed using either our basket press or our pneumatic bag press. The pneumatic bag press uses an inflatable balloon-like bag to squeeze the grapes and extract the juice. The basket press uses pressure to give a very gentle extraction and we use it for our best parcels of Chardonnay.
After pressing the juice is settled in a cold tank to remove any suspended grape solids from the clear juice. Different varieties are fermented with different amounts of solids in the ferment. Semillon ferments will always have crystal clear juice to retain purity as opposed to Chardonnay where cloudy juice with a higher solids content will enhance the wine style.
Yeast converts sugars found naturally in grapes into alcohol, CO2 and heat. At De Iuliis we utilise ‘wild’ fermentation as well as inoculated ferments with cultured yeasts. Wild ferments are naturally occurring ferments started by the yeasts from the grape skins that arrive from the vineyard. They offer unique properties specific to the winery and the terroir of the vineyard. Cultured yeast ferments allow more control over the ferment and allow us to produce consistent wines year after year.
It takes between 7 and 14 days to ferment white wine. The wines are kept cool during ferment to preserve the delicate floral aromas and stop the yeasts from racing too quickly through ferment.
At this stage, the wines have been maturing both in tank and barrel and building depth and complexity. The winemaking team goes through a batch classification and barrel selection process to create single variety blends – this is how our Limited Release Chardonnay and Single Vineyard Semillon is made.
To ensure our wines are protected from microbial spoilage and look beautiful in your glass we filter them with a crossflow membrane filter before they head off for bottling.
It’s time to send our wines off to the bottling line! You’ll soon get to enjoy them.