Here’s a short overview of winemaker Rob Dolan and his team’s process for making Mt Duneed Estate wines.
Grapes arrive at Mt Duneed Estate whole bunch pressed – particularly with the majority of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Pinot Grigio is a little different as grapes are gently crushed and then ‘held on skins’ in the press prior to pressing 6-12 hours later. This encourages colour extraction and a firmer structure.
White grapes are gently de-stemmed and lightly crushed with ‘rollers open’ then chilled so that extraction of harsh tannins is minimal. After pressing and settling, the juice is then inoculated with a yeast strain specific to each variety and wine style.
Fermentation is in both French Oak and Stainless steel tanks so as to maintain varietal fresh fruit characters. The use of light solids in ferment adds to softer and more robust styles and added complexity.
Red grapes are destemmed then lightly crushed and chilled prior to being ‘cold soaked’ pre-initiation of ferment in small 3-5 tonne open fermenters.
Resultant wines are ‘hand plunged’ and ‘pumped over’ at least twice per day. After 10-14 days, they are drained and skins hand shovelled into containers prior to pressing – either direct to French Oak or into stainless steel tanks for settling and Malo lactic fermentation.
Selected vineyard parcels are made in tiny batches of 2-3 tonne then transferred to selected French Oak for maturation for Single Vineyard wines – often for 16-18 months prior to bottling.
Maturation time in oak varies for each wine style from between 4 months through to 18 months with fine tuning, fining and the bottling occurring based on vintage variation and vintage wine style.