KIMBALL -- This week in our “Behind the Scenes” series, we see how grapes are turned into wine at the Millner Heritage Winery in Kimball.

The winery grows eight different varieties of grapes and each grape can be made into different wines.

"If you ferment it on the stems a little bit you can get rose', or if you de-stem and crush it

you can get white wine out of it," says Millner

Jon Millner helps run Millner Heritage Winery, which opened back in 2009. He says in a few weeks the grapes will start to change color and be ready for picking.

"The grapes will start changing color in a process called veraison, and that's when they start turning from green to red, produce their sugars, flavor compounds, the acid starts lowering," says Millner.

The grapes are hand picked and then put into harvest bins where they are unloaded into the de-stemmer to turn into must.

"Must is juice, skins, and seeds and if you have a red grape you actually have to ferment on the skins so you can get out that color," says Millner.

After getting crushed the grapes are moved into a press.

"The press inflates with air and pushes the grapes against a rail that catches the seeds and skins and allows the juice to come out on the other side," says Millner.

Millner says after the juice is collected it is pumped into large vats where yeast is added and the aging process can begin.

"Wines that are made in the stainless steel containers take about six to nine months to make," says Millner.

However, some wines are aged in barrels to give it extra flavor.

"If you taste the wine then that's what taste a little bit soft, that's the whole point of aging," says Millner.

Once the wine is aged it's then bottled, corked, wrapped, labeled and packaged for use.

Millner says every step in the wine making process can change the type of wine you bottle.

The winery makes about 50,000 bottles of wine each year, and Millner says they are also starting to enter in the hard cider industry.

"That's kind of branching out into new territory for us," says Millner.

Millner Heritage Winery has wine tastings every Thursday thru Sunday.

 

Millner Heritage Winery has been making making wine since 2009. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News).