While there, we got to go on a tour of the wine-making facilities and I took some pictures with the cell phone.
This is part of a machine that separates the grapes from the stems (neat!). In this hopper are the stems after the separation.
Here are the graphes with stems still attached, waiting to be very carefully pulled apart by the machine.
An empty machine, showing the twisting screw that pulls the grapes with stems into the separator. On this machine is a sign saying (essentially) "Don't walk in here." Well, duh!
View of the little separator machine from the outside. It's the machine in the distance (in front of the tank). Sticking into the frame from the right is the hopper from the previous picture.
Giganto-normous storage tanks where the slightly squished grapes, sans stems, are stored until they're transferred into the fermentation barrels.
A fermentation barrel. Juice is pulled from the bottom and pumped up to the top where it's re-sprinkled over the "foam". The barrel is about 2/3 juice and 1/3 foam (resulting from the insertion of yeast for the fermentation). We got to try some wine straight from the bottom of this barrel. It was tasty, but indeed had a yeasty feel like bread.
The inside of a fermentation barrel. Dark and shiny and clean.
Oh yeah, no playing in the barrel People get in, but they have trouble getting out. Confined space, and all that.
A fun trip and I learned a lot more about wine and about sugar beets because the tour, and some local signage, talked about the sugar beet days as well. If you're ever in Clarksburg, stop by The Old Sugar Mill for some nice wine and nice scenery!