Unprocessed wine is different not only in taste but in appearance and how it has to be handled.
Stoutridge wines are not sparkling clear. This is due to the presence of pectins and proteins in the wine from the grapes themselves and from fermentation yeast. It is a completely natural part of wine, but these ingredients do have a temperature sensitivity. Donít let the wine get over 105 F. This probably isnít going to happen in your home, but be careful in transporting it. The general rule is if you can keep a pet in the car the wine is safe. Keep it out of the sun. Donít ship it far as the shipping trucks get quite hot. We didnít process out the temperature sensitive pectins and proteins in the wine at the winery because itís really good stuff!
Upon pouring any Stoutridge wine the first thing you may notice are the myriad of microscopic bubbles coming up through the wine and collecting on its surface. This is completely normal and is not the result of an improper fermentation in the bottle. The explanation is that when wine is fermented it forms CO2, most of which bubbles out but some of which is trapped in the wine. Usually this residual CO2 is knocked out of the wine as it is pumped and filtered. However, at Stoutridge we never pump or filter wine. Thus we have no way to remove the final bit of carbonation from the primary fermentation. It is actually proof of authenticity that the wine hasnít been processed since there is no way to manufacture these microscopic bubbles into wine if they are removed by pump or filter. Sparkling wine bubbles are larger in size.
There are crystals on the bottom of a bottle of Stoutridge wine after the wine has been refrigerated for a day or more. This is also normal. These are potassium tartrate crystals and they would form in the bottle of any grape wine if they werenít usually processed out in the winery. Most wineries do this by refrigerating the wine for several weeks in stainless steel vats and removing the crystals there so you donít have to worry about them in your bottle. The problem is this uses a lot of electricity and is a very energy inefficient so it increases the carbon footprint of the wine considerably. At Stoutridge we generate all our electricity off of solar panels and donít produce enough energy to inefficiently refrigerate large stainless vats to remove the tartrates. The crystals are completely harmless though it takes a modicum of care to insure they donít get in your glass.
Finally, because our wines are cool climate with good natural acidity, and are also unprocessed and have lots of flavor and high antioxidant values, these wines have long ageability. The red wines of Stoutridge require decanting for a couple hours before serving. If you are drinking a wine at two years old that has the ability to age for twenty, the wine will improve considerably upon patient decanting. When decanting you may find some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. These are unfiltered wines so some sediment remains. The sediment has good antioxidant value and can protect the wine during itís aging.
Our society went to processed products for convenience. Because we are making unprocessed products there are naturally some inconveniences as described above. But for many wine customers the more vineyard oriented flavors and the high antioxidant, low chemical nature of the wine is worth the little bit of trouble. We hope you agree. Bon appťtit!