Gate red wines are made using small open fermenters with a
submerged cap system using heading down boards (what we call
The head holds the cap of skins under the surface, where the
colour, flavour and tannin of the grapes are gently leached
into the juice. To aid this leaching, the juice is circulated
around the fermenter in a process know as a pump-over. Open
fermenters, through their gentle extraction and contact with
air, can produce wines soft, velvety tannins, great colour
and beautiful fruit flavours.
When fermentation is nearly complete, the liquid, which is
now wine, is drained off to a tank, and the skins left behind
are transferred to the basket press. This type of press dates
back to the Romans, and is similar to the open fermenter in
that it allows some contact with air and is a soft method
press when the wine is still slightly sweet, which allows
us to let the wine finish fermentation in oak. This results
in better integration between fruit and oak flavours and the
two dance in the mouth.
At Hawkers Gate we handcraft our wines. Careful attention
is paid to little details to ensure the best possible wine
is made from the grapes nature has given us each year. Sometimes
we even sleep by the fermenters during vintage.