There’s no need to fear the powers of this monster…as Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate red winery fired up a new state-of-the art mog (material other than grape) removal system this harvest called the “Mog Monster,” becoming the first winery in the U.S. to use the new equipment on this scale.
“This new system lets us customize how we receive fruit into the facility and handle the fruit in a much more gentle capacity,” says winemaker Bob Bertheau. “It’s all about improving wine quality and that starts with how the grapes are processed. It will have a huge impact on the quality of our red wines moving forward.”
Designed by P & L Specialties in Windsor, California, the Mog Monster is based on their newly patented Le Trieur separator, but is eight times larger than their standard machine. It is rated to process up to sixty tons of grapes per hour.
“This is the holy grail of mog separators,” says Bertheau. “Two-thirds of our grapes are processed in three weeks so we need speed and scale. We wanted to improve quality and needed someone who could custom fabricate to our needs. We have outstanding grapes, a great cellar crew and have now upgraded the red winery to help take our red wine program to the next level.”
Bob adds that the system more gently feeds the grapes to the destemmer on an incline conveyor belt without crushing the grapes and does a much better job of removing any green material which can negatively impact wine quality.
At six feet, 4 inches wide and 14 feet long, it is the largest domestically built mog separator ever made. In design phase for two years, the system features a receiving hopper which can accommodate five ton bins. Next the fruit passes to a P&L incline-conveyor and then to a destemmer. The final stage is the Mog Monster and must sump.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, one devoted to whites and another to reds. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s white wines are made at the winery’s Woodinville Chateau, 15 miles northeast of Seattle. The red wines are made at its Canoe Ridge Estate winery in Paterson, Washington. Situated on a steep slope overlooking the Columbia River, the red winery is next to its Canoe Ridge Estate vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.
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