How do we produce our wines?
The first thing to do when grapes arrive in the winery is to assess their quality by analyzing important parameters, such as total acidity, colour, degree of alcohol and physical condition. According to these parameters grape will be classified into different quality groups, rejecting the fruit that does not reach the required levels for our wines. The grapes used for ARO, Torre Muga and Prado Enea are harvested in small boxes (20 kg capacity) so that they get to the winery in perfect condition. Then the grape bunches go through the selection tables, where those that do not fulfil the required quality are discarded. After that, the grape bunches go through the destemming process, where the stems are separated from the grape berries. Finally the grapes are put into the fermentation vessels.
Fermentation is a natural process of slowly converting the sugar contained in the fruit to ethanol. Contact between the juice and the skin is essential for both colour extraction and aroma. Bodegas Muga has four fermentation rooms containing 90 wooden casks –their capacities ranging from three thousand to fifteen thousand kilos. Thanks to this broad range, Bodegas Muga can make different wines depending on the fruit quality and the vineyards they come from.
Following traditional methods, Bodegas Muga uses oak throughout all the wine-making process (fermentation, ageing and store). As a matter of fact, Bodegas Muga is one of the very few Spanish wineries that employ three coopers plus a "cubero" (who specializes in the big casks). They are in charge of working with the oak wood that will finally give that unique and personal touch to our wines.
Once the alcoholic fermentation takes place, wine will naturally carry out the secondary fermentation, also called malolactic fermentation. Later on, wines start their ageing, in a large wooden container, which can last from 24 to 36 months, depending on the wine category. Every four months wine has to be moved from the barrels where it has been sitting to new empty barrels. This is called trasiega (racking) and helps clear the wine from the settled sediment or lees that have precipitated during the ageing process. Racking also provides aeration.
Once the red wine is aged but before it is bottled, fining (clarification) is done in Bodegas Muga. The method used is traditional --using egg whites. Two to three egg whites are enough for 100 liters of red wine. The egg whites drag any remaining sediments and absorb harsh and bitter tannins leaving behind the softer tannins. Fining is done in oak containers with capacity for 17,500 liters. Once the process of fining is done, the wine is extracted from the container and bottled. The egg whites together with the lees at the bottom of the container will be used to produce balanced, high quality compost, which in turn will be used to fertilize the soil, in a naturally biological process.
Once the wine is bottled, it will remain in the winery for a time that ranges from 9 months (Crianza) to 36 months (Prado Enea Gran Reserva). During this time the wine refines in the bottle. Thus, the enjoyment is guaranteed the moment the wine is available for the consumer.