As part of our Technical Specialists course in September 2016 we returned to Bodegas del Pino in Montalbán de Córdoba to witness the production of the Pedro Ximénez must from start to finish.
As well as wines, the company also produce more than a million bottles of olive oil annually.
The start of our visit comprised of a traditional breakfast of bread, olives and extra virgin olive oil before heading off to visit the pasera.
This video gives an idea of the sheer scale of the pasera.
Bodegas del Pino produce 60% of the world’s Pedro Ximenez must from a pasera that is 10 to 12 hectares in size depending on the harvest yield and demand.
Special care is taken to ensure that the drying of the grapes is regular and uniform. For this reason this process is done manually, by hand for anything up to 14 days.
Bodegas Emilio Lustau (D.O. Jerez), Bodegas Toro Albala (DO Montilla-Moriles) and Bodegas Málaga Virgen (D.O. Málaga & Sierras de Málaga) are among their many customers.
After a thorough insitu explanation of the drying regime we returned to the production facility in Montalbán de Córdoba to witness the next stage of the process, the extraction of the must in two stages.
After arriving from the pasera the grapes move from the receiving bin with a screw conveyor to the grape mill.
This mill’s crusher rolls, made of rubber or stainless steel, gently break the grapes up ensuring that the seeds are not broken and that the stems still remain intact during this crushing process.
The key to this process is that the solid particles do not get damaged and therefore are not found in the must preventing a vegetal taste.
The first pressing takes place in a horizontal cylindrical press with its sealed, rotating barrel and membrane. By injecting air between the membrane and barrel the grapes are pressed with the must flowing out of the peripheral channels.
The must is separated from the pressed stalks, seeds and skin then sieved and racked to clarify it with the remaining debris of pressed stalks, seeds and skin moved on to a second pressing.
It is then loaded between several layers of hessian discs then pressed hydraulically.
Bodegas del Pino were in fact the pioneers of this 2nd process by using the same process as is used to extract oil from olives.
I am sure that our classmates would agree that our visit to the see the pasera and pressing of the Pedro Ximénez grapes was highly educational and a real honour.