What’s Happening in the Wine Cellar?
It’s easy to see the hustle and bustle of harvest and the (usually) crowded tasting rooms in the warmer months. This leads people to wonder what is going on in the slower, winter months. Rest assured, our cellar crew is very busy this time of the year checking in on the wines and getting ready to bottle this years vintage.
Our Head Winemaker, Phil Plummer, has given us an update on what’s happening at this time.
Stainless Steel Fermented/Aged Whites:
For stainless-produced whites, fermentation is complete and the focus has shifted to getting them bottle ready. For most of these wines, that means we’re taking final looks at what we can do to enhance flavor/aroma/texture and pushing them along through heat and cold stabilization. Once the wines are stable, they’re filtered and back-sweetened for bottling (if necessary). Most of the whites in the cellar right now are stable and queueing up for bottling over the next month or two. The exception to this is Riesling. When we ferment Riesling in the Fall, we split it out into several batches that use different yeasts and fermentation parameters–this gives us lots of complexity. Now, it’s time to figure out how those puzzle pieces fit together to make our Riesling blends. Over the next week or two we’ll work up some blending trials to figure that out. Once they’re blended, they’ll be on the same track as everything else in this category: stabilization and prep for bottling.
Wines in this category are pretty low-input right now. We’re stirring them regularly (1-2 times per week) in order to maximize the flavor and textural contributions of spent lees. For the most part, the whites that we use for barrel fermentation come from heavy press juice; there’s a lot of phenolic roughness to overcome. Time and lees are the best way to bring this into balance, so that’s where we’re at now. Once these wines start to calm down a bit, we’ll figure out how we want to blend them and rack them out of barrels.
Dry, Barrel Aged Reds:
Most of these wines are still working to complete Malolactic fermentation. As soon as MLF is complete, these wines will be pumped to barrels, where they’ll be aged for 6-12 months prior to blending and bottling.