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There were eleven of us bent over the sorting table as the grape bunches hit the destemmer and began their vibrating dance towards the pump. Twenty-two sharp eyes and twenty-two vigilant hands, with one aim - to insure that only perfect grapes made it into the ferment. Our careful handpick assured that a minimum of leaves and foreign material made it to the winery mixed in with the grapes, but the sorting table takes that careful attention to the next level. This is the final chance to discover and remove anything that shouldn’t go into the wine that might have slipped past our scrutiny during the handpick.

We were mainly targeting anything green. Nothing escaped our watchful eyes and quick hands darting in to cull the odd stem that had evaded the destemmer, random petioles, a stray leaf, unripe berry, a snippet of cane. We removed anything but sound ripe grapes. Without foreign material, nothing interferes with the perfect expression of our incredibly healthy Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. It's painstaking work and costly, but the elegant end result makes it well worth it.

After passing across the sorting table, the juice and skins and seeds were then gently pumped into a large open steel fermenter, which had been thoroughly scoured and rinsed and inspected. Over the next several hours the precious liquid gurgled in and rose slowly towards the top. As it did, the faintest of smells greeted my curious sniffs –a clean and unpretentious odor of fresh fruit – not too sweet, not too green, just a simple pure smell. It was the smell of beginnings, the smell of promise, the smell of a miraculous transformation about to commence...

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