Now that we’ve decided how to source the grapes we’re going to work with, how do we actually get those grapes here? Well, we have found people around the world who select pick, harvest and package the grapes for us. There aren’t very many of these guys who can do it the way we like, but we’ve been lucky to find them. They package them as we wish and they ship them in the manner we choose. We can have them crushed and de-stemmed. We can have them pressed. We can get them with the skins, whole; a lot of different ways. In partnering with these people we can get the grapes in the exact way we need. We could use concentrates and we’ve done extensive experiments with those, but that method has its limits. Although with high quality concentrate the organoleptic qualities don’t suffer too much, using concentrate doesn’t allow us to play with various vinification techqniques. For example, without the skins we can’t have skin contact and dial in the extraction of those tannins. We couldn’t do a cold maceration. We couldn’t ask ourselves, “how much do we want to crush these?”. We need to have the fruit to be able to experiment correctly.
But one thing is for sure: freezing is the best way to preserve grapes. It’s the least invasive and most natural method. We aren’t spraying them with some chemical or adding a crazy amount of sulphites or pasteurizing them or using stablizing agents. By using the most natural method we keep their organic properties intact. We also have the benefit of keeping the bacteria, yeasts and mold which were living wild on the grapes in their native lands. Those are still intact just as they were when the grapes were harvested. We’ve done a few lab tests to see if those bugs survived and discovered that that zoo indeed thrives even after being frozen for a year. So, at the moment, this is our preferred choice. We have begun by sourcing from the West Coast as well as from Italy. We will probably source grapes from other areas in the future, but we already have a lot on our plate to work with.