This winery, located in Cafayate in the Calchaquí Valleys, in Salta, was created by three brothers Osvaldo, Gabriel and Rafael Domingo. Domingo Molina offers an impressive view on the mountains and the vines are surrounded by huge kactus. They combine the particularities of high altitude grapes with high-tech facilities and technology.
They own 60 hectares of vineyards, and their vines are located between 1,600 and 2,300 meters above sea level. The vineyard benefits from the exclusive and special microclimate of the region with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, scarce rains, and a great thermal amplitude, which offers excellent conditions to fully develop the full potential of the grapes grown there. They grow many grapes varieties such as Torrontés, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat.
During our day in Domingo Molina vineyard, we’ve measured the sugar level and the density in the tanks, to follow the fermentation process.
The density gives the degree of alcohol the wine will get once the fermentation is done, therefore it has to be monitored regularly. When the juice has just been pressed, the density is at 1100, and during the fermentation it goes down. Additional yeast can be put in the tank to lower the density and to hasten the process.
We’ve also measured the ph level in the tanks to determine if the wine has a good acidity. The majority of wines get a ph around 3.1, but in Salta, it is quite higher around 3.8. This is caused by their soils poverty which don’t give enough nutrients to the grapes, and hence less acidity.
Moreover, to correct the acidity of wine, we can add some tartaric acid as well as malic acid. The malic acid is used to accelerate the second fermentation where the bacterias present in the wine transform the malic acid in lactic acid. It helps to soften the wines.
We’ve also helped to add some French wood chips into the tanks. It was the first time we’ve seen a vineyard doing this, so it was very enriching ! This method enhances the aromas and tannins of the wine, as well as its structure and volume. It is a cheaper method than the ageing process in woody barrels. However, the winemaker can also decide whether or not he wants a maturation in oak barrels, in addition to the wood chips.