Upon arriving at the winery, each two-tonne bin of grapes is lifted with a rotating-head fork-lift from its trailer, tipped into the elevated receival hopper, and gravity fed into the de-stemmer.
The de-stemmer removes any remaining stalks, and its rollers gently split the berries to release their juice. This fruit is immediately pumped through a refrigerated heat-exchanger. Although harvesting probably commenced at 3am when the ambient temperature was around 100C, the juice is chilled below 50C to minimise oxidative browning, and also to inhibit enzyme and microbiological activity, as the latter could initiate an unwanted fermentation. The principle is similar to keeping fruit fresh in a refrigerator.
The accurate winery monitoring of quality parameters can now begin, rather than having to rely on estimates from the vineyard. Samples are taken to the laboratory where temperature, pH, total acidity and sugar are measured.
It is at this point that the pathways through the winery for red wines and white wines diverge. Reds are fermented on their skins, while whites are pressed prior to fermentation.