A story in pictures with Winemaker Matt Dumayne at Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland BC
Okanagan Crush Pad is known for their concrete eggs - the vessels that age their award-winning Haywire Wine, their organic biodynamic vineyard practices, their contracted winemaking services for other brands, their innovative branding of wine for several successful wine producers, amongst other excellent accomplishments... So it makes perfect sense to me that they will be the first in the Okanagan to produce a wine from the world's oldest style of wine vessel - the amphorae.
The amphorae is a vessel originally made for the world's oldest winemaking tradition in Georgia (no, not the state, the country). As you will see in the photographs, its a terracotta egg shaped vessel.
To describe the ancient process quickly, the grapes are harvested and crushed (as you can imagine they originally stomped them in vats) then directly put in to the amphorae, which was actually buried in the ground, to give it the insulative and moderated temperature qualities similar to a cave. The clay, like the concrete eggs at OCP - or like wooden barrels - gives the vessel a slow transformative breathability for the wine aging. The fermentation process would then begin, and the musts would remain in the wine until the wine was finally aged and ready to enjoy.
Matt Dumayne is doing the same at Okanagan Crush Pad with their organic Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. They ordered two of the amphorae from the best crafter of the vessels they could find, which happened to be in Italy. In October this fall, I was called up on two different harvest days for the honour of helping fill the crushed fruit in to the two amphorae that will produce the ancient style of wine. I am following the progress of the amphorae wine closely. I await the invite to come up for a first tasting of how the wine is progressing. I will share the progress with you in this story series.
Enjoy the photographs of the process, and watch for the next in the series, the tasting.
by Tarynn Liv Parker
those egg shapes in the photo are the Okanagan Crush Pad signature vessels
Winemaker Matt Dumayne fills the first amphorae
and the first amphorae is filled
let the wild ferment begin
before Matt begins, I have the opportunity to see and smell that the first ferment has begun.
Matt filled the vessel with water a day earlier to seal the clay's porous surface. It is important to "fill" the clay, so the wine isn't lost through the clay's seeping. Here he pumps out the water before the fruit fills the amphorae.
Thanks for sharing this experience with us Matt