With harvest well and truly behind us and the winery in clean up mode, we would be remiss if we forgot about our little lab rats who are still working away.
The lab is a busy place year-round in the winery. Before harvest begins our lab technicians assist the winemakers’ decision of when to pick by testing crop samples for residual sugar and acid levels.
When the fruit is harvested, the freshly pressed juice is analysed, logged and tested frequently throughout fermentation.
The Saint Clair lab team is an international bunch. Our lab manager Aryel Pereira is from Brazil, while assistants Chloe Weber hails from France and Simon Golding is from the UK.
Simon, who has been working for Saint Clair as a cellar hand and lab technician for three vintages now, kept the lab ticking over every night during vintage, when we were operating 24/7.
“It’s the busiest place in the winery, there’s always loads and loads of stuff to do, but particularly during fermentation, because any adjustments the winemakers need to make to the wine needs to happen at this stage.”
Each ferment is tested for sugar and temperature several times a day during the entire process to ensure nothing untoward is happening.
The lab technicians will also routinely test the pH levels, free and total sulphur dioxide levels, alcohol, acid and residual sugar levels and for turbidity (the cloudiness of the wine caused by individual particles, which are invisible to the naked eye, much like smoke in the air).
Simon enjoys work in the lab, because it has given him a strong understanding of all the different elements required for making great wine.
Plus they get to play with cool lab equipment, like Bunsen burners, distillers and various chemicals to make all sorts of magic happen.
“It is a kind of magic really, as Freddy Mercury once said.”
In case you don’t know what he’s talking about, just pretend you do and sing along with Freddy Mercury anyway.