In the Vineyards
Our mission is to create wines that reveal the complex nuances of the vineyards that inspire them – cool climate, ocean-influenced, mountain vineyards. To this end, we spend long hours in our vineyard to insure that the grapes we grow represent the fullest expression of the vineyard and vintage. We believe in and employ sustainable and organic farming practices. The steep hillsides, cooling ocean breezes and fog, and mountain soils promote the development of color and complex flavors. By keeping the yields very low and harvesting small sections of the vineyard at perfect ripeness, we strive to achieve the most important part of winemaking – great fruit.
The winemaking then becomes the art of gently extracting what the fruit has to offer. We sort clusters, gently destem the fruit and then sort the berries which roll into small (1.5 ton) open top fermenters. Often times we add varying percentages (up to 100% is commonly employed with Pinot Noir) of whole cluster fruit to the fermenters which serves to slow the fermentation and add additional complexity. We also like to co-ferment different varieties when the opportunity presents itself and when it makes sense for the wine we plan on making – for example, Viognier with Syrah or Grenache with Syrah. White grapes are gently pressed whole cluster to tank, then racked to barrel.
The whole berries and whole clusters are cold soaked for up to a week before being heated up to help start the spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation. Pumping over the juice and then punching down by hand allows us to extract complex flavors and soft tannins from the grapes. When the wine has achieved the intensity, structure and mouthfeel we feel is ideal, we gently press off the skins – anywhere from 15-30 days of skin contact. Whites are typically fermented with indigenous yeast in a combination of new and used French oak barrels.
The wine then goes into French oak barrels where it goes through indigenous malolactic fermentation and grows in complexity and character over one to three years of aging time. When using new oak, we choose barrels which are the best at maintaining transparency to the nuances of the fruit while supporting and amplifying these nuances. Minimal sulfur additions and temperature controlled storage insure that the wine is able to achieve its fullest expression when bottled. By keeping our production small, we can give every vine, fermentation bin and barrel the attention it deserves. We hope you enjoy the results.