White winemaking is about instinctive vineyard management and carefully monitoring the ripening process to ensure that we retain and showcase the delicious fruit flavours in the finished wines.
The white winemaking commences with slow and gentle pressing to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. The free run juice and very gentle pressing portions are combined and separated from the remaining pressing fraction. Only the free run component is used in our white winemaking as it is aromatic and delicate, with more vibrant acidity.
The free run is cold settled, allowing the juice to clarify naturally, preserving the precious aromatics and freshness. This juice is then inoculated with neutral yeasts, selected to respect the site and varietal characteristics.
When the ferment is completed, the wine continues to be stored on yeast lees, which encourages additional mouthfeel and texture.
Once the white wines have matured they are sent to bottle with only minimal additions and without the use of any fining agents. As a result of this winemaking, all of our white wines, with the exception of the Pinot Grigio, are suitable for vegans.
There is a deep respect for the land and vines at Chapel Hill, evidenced in the regular vineyard visits. This ongoing care instils confidence that the grapes grown can support our gentle winemaking vision.
The red winemaking process is never rushed and all steps are allowed to take place at their own pace. Small batch handling sees this patience rewarded as each parcel of grapes receives individual attention and care.
The process commences with the destemming and crushing of the fruit which is then transferred to traditional open fermenters. The crushed fruit is then inoculated with neutral yeasts which are selected to promote varietal and site characteristics.
During the fermentation, the fruit is gently plunged to manage the cap of skins and seeds, and to extract colour, flavour and tannin from the skins. Minimal additions and processes are made at this time with careful monitoring in place to ensure the fermentation rate is regulated. It is imperative at this stage to ensure minimal breakdown of the grape skins and seeds to avoid over extraction and undesirable bitter tannins.
Once the maceration is complete, the skins are basket pressed on a long and gentle cycle and the free run and pressing fractions are then combined. The finished wine is transferred to fine grain French oak barrels for maturation. This serves to season the wines and introduce further complexity.
Over the period of 12 to 20 months, the wines are clarified naturally with the lees settling over time and the wines being periodically racked and returned. The red wines are then bottled without fining or filtration. All Chapel Hill red wines are suitable for vegans.