PIGSKIN… What does that have to do with wine?

Based on the title above you are probably thinking I have gone a little mad. However, bear with me and
you will see my rational.
As you may recall, in the 2016 vintage we decided to have a bit of a play around with Pinot Gris and
ferment it on skins. As a white variety, Pinot Gris is usually harvested, the grapes crushed and then the
skins separated from the juice in the press. This method of production means the juice picks up very little
colour and no phenolics. Phenolics are chemical compounds in the skins that make the wine a bit grippy –
a bit like too strong tea.
With our experimental Pinot Gris, we crushed the grapes and popped the juice, skins and seeds in to a tank
for fermentation. We basically did nothing else. The juice fermented naturally using the yeast living on the
skins of the grapes. Once the fermentation was complete, we left the wine in contact with the skins for
about 3 weeks, during which time it underwent malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is the
bacterial conversion of the appley malic acid to the soft, creamy lactic acid. This has added texture and
creaminess to the wine. At the end of the 3 weeks, the wine was run to barrel without any sulphur
dioxide.
All very interesting, I hear you say, but what has any of this got to do with Pig skin. Well, as you can see
below, we wrote on the front of the barrel PIGSC for Pinot Gris Skin Contact and somehow this has always
transformed in my mind to Pigskin.

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