Saturday, December 3, 2011

Explore! Southern Indiana is in the news (again)

We at Explore! Southern Indiana love Southern Indiana's wonderful wineries and so when we read this great article that ran in the Times Mail  about the Carousel Winery in Bedford, Indiana, we had to share it.

From barrel to bottle

Wine making at Carousel Winery starts with eight tons of grapes


BEDFORD — It’s the day Sue and Marion Wilson look forward to all year, and it arrived a few weeks ago. Eight tons of grapes were delivered to the Wilsons’ Carousel Winery on Ind. 37 for the beginning of the wine-making process that can take anywhere from six months to three years to complete, depending on the wine.
The four types of grapes were grown on a West Coast vineyard and will produce a Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Tocai Friulano (similar to a Pinot Gris) and the very rare Aglianico.

Processing grapes is high tech. If you’re imagining the Wilsons stomping grapes barefoot in a giant tub, a la Lucy Ricardo, think again. A machine destems the fruit, shooting the stems out to the side. A roller crushes the destemmed grapes, splitting open the skin to let the juice out. The crushed grapes, now called must, are pumped into barrels in the winery’s wine cellar for the fermenting process.

“We do an open ferment and cover ours with a screen,” said Sue Wilson. “When the grapes ferment, they swell up, so you have to leave enough head space in the tank so it doesn’t bubble over.”

The first bottling from this batch of grapes won’t take place for six to eight months. The Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese will be the first wines that are bottled.
The Aglianico won’t be bottled for three more years.

“It’s quite rare and just now coming to the states,” said Wilson.

Some wineries use just the juice of the grape to make wine, but the Wilsons prefer using the whole fruit.

“We always ferment the full crushed grape on the reds,” she said. “All grapes are white inside, so the color comes from the skin.”

Carousel Winery is in its eighth year of making wine and has enjoyed much success in international wine competitions, bringing home numerous medals. But Sue said they are always learning something new and working to make better and better wine.

“Oh, we’re still novices,” she said.

Times-Mail Staff Writer Carol Johnson welcomes comments and suggestions at 277-7252 or 

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