Winemaking

Annual output exceeds 20 M litres

The aggregate volume of all still wine tanks equals to 20 million litres. This amount is very important, for the Winery needs to find enough place for the wines of this year’s vintage as well as for those of the previous years, matured or stored in its cellars. The existing number of tanks would suffice to produce annually wine from about 27,000 tons of grapes. Most of the tanks are stainless steel, complying with all contemporary hygienic requirements and not affecting the quality of the stored wine.

All grapes harvested for the above line extensions are hand-picked.

The grapes processing cellar is furnished with two facilities, consisting of a feeding bunker, crusher, and de-stalker, from which the crushed grapes are directed either to pneumatic presses to extract the juice, or to vinifiers, special tanks designed for the production of red wines.

PRODUCTION OF WHITE WINES

To achieve maximum efficient extraction of the juice, the crushed grape berries (the must) go into the press via the ‘tube-in-tube’ heat exchanger. Thereby grape juice is clarified, and the undesired enzymes inactivated. The pneumatic press is a perforated drum with a membrane that swells and presses the berries to the perforator, so that the juice flows down through it. Then, prior to the fermentation, the juice has to be fined by settling at low temperatures. Usually, it takes a day to reach the clarity when one can read a printed text through a glass with the wine. Then the juice is set off to ferment at controlled low temperatures. The process lasts for several weeks, and then the yeasts settle down to the tank bottom, and the clear wine is drawn through the top. (Several different variations are applicable here.)

The Fanagoria winemakers apply the following technologies to craft white wines:

  • maceration (skin contact) in the tank at a low temperature before pressing to extract the varietal flavours;
  • young wine maturation on yeast lees to reach rounded taste;
  • juice fermentation in new oak barrels with maturation on yeast lees.

These and many other techniques let us diversify the production and the assortment.

PRODUCTION OF RED WINES

To obtain decent red wine, it is necessary to correctly extract colourants and tannins during must fermentation. You can imagine a huge mass of grape juice, skins and seeds that has to be constantly mixed to achieve homogeneity. Fanagoria has the widest choice of special fermentation tanks – vinifiers – in the Krasnodar region, and probably in Russia.

There are six different types of vinifiers:

  • cyclic pigeage (‘submerged cap’),
  • remontage,
  • Delestage,
  • Ganimede,
  • rotofermentor,
  • fermentation with the continuously ‘submerged cap’.

The aim is to achieve continuous homogeneity of the fermenting mass, and the way of mixing it affects a lot the future wine’s quality, structure, body, grip, and ageing potential, which is why several different techniques are applied to make differently styled wines.

Thereupon, when young wine is obtained, the liquid part (wine itself) is separated, and the must is pressed on the pneumatic press. The wine may stay on the skins after the completion of the fermentation, or it may be separated from the skins before the completion of the fermentation, etc.

Then comes ageing (oak maturation). Fanagoria has been purchasing French and American oak barrels from such renowned cooperages as Bernard, Radoux and Saury, and – since April 2011 – it makes barrels in-house from Caucasus oak. The Fanagoria cooperage produces 300 oak barrels a month.

The wine barrels are stored in the underground cellar (3,000 sq m). The list of the wines undergoing oak maturation includes classic (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – as a rule, French barriques) and indigenous (Cimlansky Black, Saperavi, Krasnostop Zolotovsky – mainly, in-house Caucasian oak barrels) grape varieties.

Upon the completion of all operations (ageing, blending, treatments) that may for some wines last for a couple of years, the wine undergoes filtration before bottling. We use wine-neutral filter agents, and ultrafiltration systems to preserve as much as possible all useful properties and flavour and taste of the future wine.

All operations – from juice extraction to the release of ready wine – are performed in the nitrogen atmosphere to protect the wine from oxidation. Nitrogen is generated in the cellar from the ambient air.

To stop its premium line extensions, Fanagoria uses natural and DIAM (a hi-tech product, fully free of anisole, the chemical substance that adds mustiness to wine) corks.

PRODUCTION OF SPARKLING WINES

The first sparkling wines were launched in 2002. It was a small lot of Charmat sparkling wine.

Fanagoria uses the following three methods of secondary fermentation (champagnisation):

  • méthode classique (in bottles),
  • Charmat (in tanks),
  • continuous champagnisation.

To make sparkling wine, specially prepared white (sometimes red) still wine is taken, sugar liqueur and yeasts are added to it – and the process of secondary fermentation in an air-tight tank begins. As a result of this process, the emerging carbon-dioxide gas is bound with the wine components, leading to the bubbling and foaming. Such tank may be a bottle, a tank able to withstand the pressure, and a group of tanks (continuous champagnisation). The former two are the most widely used techniques: the first is the classical method that gives highest possible quality, and the second is an industrial method applied for the production of value sparkling wines.

To stop sparkling wines, Fanagoria also uses DIAM corks, ideally elastic, durable and anisole-free stoppers.