Vines to Vino
The winemaker begins each day with an early walk in the vineyard. They check on the irrigation, oversees the pruning or tests the soils, and selects the proper clone for the climate and altitude for future production. With generations of experience with honoring tradition while pursuing innovation. The winemaker dreams each year when nature and knowledge align. That's when they fill the glass, swirl, and sip to a vintage that lived up to its promise.
The Winemaker assembles the crew in pre-dawn darkness with optimism that this harvest will reward them with an exceptional vintage, this is where chemistry meets years of knowledge and experience. By pinching the grapes and tasting the ripeness along with lab confirmation, the Winemaker will make the critical decision of which blocks are ready for picking. Hand selection versus machine harvesting is the ever-ongoing discussion for the Winemaker. Clusters selected by equipment cannot differentiate the quality or the ripeness of the fruit. Therefore, all grapes go through the sharp eyes of the sorting table. Here, any undesirable impurities must be sorted quickly and discarded for the sake of higher quality.
Hand Sorting & Crushing
The winemaker will oversee the sorting table, ensuring through proper training that only the best grapes will make it to the crushing process. With their keen eyes, the sorters remove leaves, stems and unripened or damaged fruit. The crushing stage simply breaks the tender skins of the grape berries, allowing the juice, pulp, and seeds to mingle with the skins during the fermentation.
The Winemaker understands great wines can only come from a clean winery. The importance of sanitation cannot be overstated. The fermentation process has two stages. A primary lasting 5-14 days and a secondary lasting another 5 -10 days . At the winery the fermentation process takes place in concrete eggs, stainless steel tanks, and co-fermented grapes in new oak barrels. The Winemaker will decide after the fermentation what grapes are worthy enough to rest in French, American oak and for how long.
Bottling & Labeling
The winemaker must make the very critical decision as to when the wine is ready for bottling. For months, if not years, the winemaker has headed up a team of professionals to achieve an "unforgettable" vintage. The last analytical decision will be whether the wine is ready for bottling. The correct closure was decided upon months ago: cork or screw-cap. But how long to lay the bottles down to achieve the best wine has not yet been determined. It could be another year, perhaps two, before the bottle will reach its maturity and the consumer will see the label on the shelf. So, for now, savor your next bottle of wine, lift your glasses high, and toast to the winemakers. Their job is still one of farming and their dream for next year will always be a 100 point wine.