Towards the end of 2019, we embarked on an exciting new chapter for our wine label. We took on an ambitious build, with a tight time frame, to convert an empty warehouse into a new winery.
Since acquiring our vineyard in late 2015, it has been our aim to have our own winery, to ensure the future sustainability of our wine label and to produce high quality small batch wines, on our own terms.
We wanted to create a space that is both beautiful, functional and capable of producing premium quality wines for a long time to come.
Zonzo Estate Director Rod Micallef and newly appointed Head Winemaker Caroline Mooney spent countless hours working with our architects to bring their vision to life. A great deal of time and research also went into finding the best equipment to suit the space and our production needs.
We spent time documenting the build and thought we would share some of the journey with you.
Stage 1: Engineering
Plenty of space in a winery is one of the most cost-effective elements to the production of quality wine. This winery has it in loads, and a lot of time and effort went into working out how best to utilise it.
Tanks are spaced to help accommodate workflow beyond just fruit processing. Being able to clean and maintain the winery minimises the risk to wine quality.
Stage 2: Going Underground
For the first couple of months, it seemed that nothing was being achieved. This was due to most of the working being done underground. Once this was completed, we could begin concreting, and getting the foundations ready for all the equipment to come in.
Stage 3: Concreting
Stage 4: Lab construction/painting
The facility is complete with everything we need, including a lab/workspace, cool room and barrel room.
Stage 5: Catwalk installation
Stage 6: Installation of Tanks
We have selected a number of different size tanks for our winery. The first photo shows one of our smallest tanks going into place. Having this level of quality in small tanks is crucial to our trial processes. Attention to detail can be difficult at times to control in small batches when a winery is only set up for larger volumes. These tanks have already been heavily utilised in vintage 2020 for our new small batch Italian white and red trials. Although heavily engineered relative to their size, they have already proven invaluable to our creative and inquisitive process.
All of our tanks have been designed by Caroline to unique specifications, right down to the slope of the floor and the height of the doors. Many of these design points are to aid ease of use for staff and wine quality.
Stage 7: Installation of Fermenters
Red fermenters are really important. They are only used during harvest each year, so it is important to make it count. We have a variety of sizes to accommodate our very small batches of wine and to enable us to run trials and test different techniques on batches of fruit as well as larger fermenters to handle 5T at a time. The proportions of these fermenters have once again been designed to optimise the results of these fermenters and make them easier to handle. The results from 2020 out of these fermenters is very promising.
Stage 8: Pipe work
Meet Cool-Fit 4.0 – this is the first ever installation of the Swiss technology in a winery in the world!
We chose this refrigeration piping not only for its clean line industrial aesthetic, but also its incredible energy efficiency. There is minimal transfer and energy loss due to the pre-insulated piping.
Stage 9: Concrete Polishing
Stage 10: Wine press installation
The control centre at vintage time is this beauty! Made in Germany and designed to give our Winemaker the best range of options to create individual wines.
How a Winemaker presses out fruit has a huge impact on the final product. This press allows us to make each press load individual to suit the block, variety and season that the grapes comes from. Its pretty fancy!
Despite already completing its first vintage this space will continue to evolve and grow, we hope to one day utilise the upstairs area for functions and events and eventually put in a bottling line, to make sure we are fully sustainable from start to finish of our wine production.
Watch this space!