On Tuesday, September 18, we received our first grapes of the season in the cool and crisp early morning hours: Chardonnay clone 76. Upon their arrival to the crush deck, the freshly harvested grapes began their journey into the winery on the conveyor belts of the sorting tables. With team members lining the sides of the tables, the clusters were meticulously spread out and scanned for material other than grapes (known as MOG in the industry). These sorting tables act as the last filtration point to what makes it into the winery. MOG may range from vine leaves to vineyard tools. (Pickers have been known to accidentally leave a pair of picking shears on top of a full gondola of grapes).
Any cluster or grape imperfections, such as sunburn, rot, uneven ripening, raisins, etc., will be removed from the process and will not enter the winery. At Jordan the sorting process actually begins well before the grapes hit the crush deck. Our vineyards are well tended to, and sorting is a constant throughout the season. Clusters (or portions of them) will be removed to facilitate an even ripening process, leading to an increase in overall fruit quality for the grapes remaining on the vine. A thorough sorting process on the front end allows the winemaker to focus on pristine juice and employ a minimalistic “hands-off” approach to the winemaking process instead of having to apply corrective treatments on the back-end to make inferior wines more palatable. From the time the berries set, our vineyard and winemaking teams continuously whittle down the yield, ensuring that only the best of our fruit makes it into the hopper. For winemakers who strive to produce exceptional wines of elegance, finesse and distinction, these losses in fruit, juice, and wine throughout the growing season and the winemaking process are expected.
The sorting tables have been idle since Tuesday morning, and I’m looking forward to sifting through the MOG again in a few days.