Behind the Scenes

What Happens on a Grape Sorting Table

September is the month where the grape sorting table at Jordan Winery performs 90 percent of its work for the year. Russian River Valley Chardonnay grapes are almost always the first to be harvested each vintage, hand-harvested in the middle of the night and brought to the winery at dawn. Upon their arrival to the crush deck, gondolas full of freshly harvested grapes are dumped into the hopper and begin their journey into the winery on the conveyor belts of the grape sorting table. With team members lining the sides of the sorting table, the grape clusters are meticulously spread out and scanned for material other than grapes (known as MOG in the wine industry).  This grape sorting table acts 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 winemaking process and will not enter the winery. At Jordan, the sorting table 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.

Learn more about the next step in the Chardonnay winemaking process, wine press cuts.

Grape Sorting Table Photo Gallery

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Lisa Mattson

Videographer, photographer, writer and publicist. Find me on weekends trying to capture footage of the elusive Jordan Estate jack rabbits and turkeys.

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