Handpicked fruit is crushed and completely destemmed into 500-litre fermentation bins prior to a brief cold maceration of just a few days.
Pigeage (foot-plunging) three times a day starts as soon as the must is taken out of the fridge. The wine is not inoculated but allowed to ferment naturally. If excessively volatile characters begin to develop, a small amount of a high glycerol producing yeast is sprinkled on top of the must. Alternatively, a bucket of must from another ‘good’ ferment is used to take over from an excessively volatile ferment.
Once the wine is dry it is drained and pressed to barrel as two components: free-run and pressings. We use 500-litre Allier puncheons as well as smaller old oak to age the Studebaker. These don’t tend to impart excessive oak flavour but keep the wine sound with its lees. Secondary fermentation occurs in these puncheons when malolactic bacteria consume the ‘Granny Smith’ malic acid and produce softer, ‘milky’ lactic acid in its place. This also makes the wine stable for bottling without filtration to retain texture and aromatic ‘prettiness’.