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Video: 2019 Fall at our Vineyard & Winery

Posted: Oct 27, 2019

Har­vest is tru­ly under­way! We are bring­ing in fruit near­ly every morn­ing from both our cer­ti­fied bio­dy­nam­ic Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard and our Thomas and Judith Beck­men Estate Vine­yard. See our crew in action when you watch the video below, and read on to dis­cov­er how we turn our grapes into wine. 

In our Estate Vineyards

Fall is by far the busiest time of year in our vine­yards as we are har­vest­ing our 150 acres of bio­dy­nam­ic grapes. Our vine­yard crew hand­picks the grapes from both of our vine­yards overnight, start­ing around 10pm and con­tin­u­ing until day­break. They pick at night to avoid the intense day­time heat and to ensure the grapes arrive at the win­ery cold and in good con­di­tion come morn­ing. They will pick any­where from a cou­ple of tons to up to 25 tons per night, depend­ing on how the grapes are matur­ing and what the weath­er fore­cast looks like. Our vine­yard crew has the impor­tant job of being our first sorters, select­ing only the high­est qual­i­ty clus­ters to be turned into wine. 

Inside our Winery

All our wines are craft­ed through small lot wine­mak­ing in order to cap­ture the indi­vid­u­al­i­ty of each block on both of our vine­yards. As the dif­fer­ent grape vari­eties arrive to the win­ery crush­pad, we keep the var­i­ous blocks, clones, and root­stocks sep­a­rat­ed dur­ing the wine­mak­ing process. We then blend our wines from this col­lec­tion of small lots so that each wine has more depth and dis­tinct lay­ers of flavor.

Our white wines are made by fer­ment­ing grape juice:

  1. Grape clus­ters are put direct­ly into the press and are pressed for their juice. 
  2. The juice is put into stain­less steel tanks/​barrels or old­er oak bar­rels, where it set­tles and is clarified.
  3. The fer­men­ta­tion begins slow­ly at a cool tem­per­a­ture, tak­ing between two to four weeks depend­ing on the vari­ety and what it’s fer­ment­ed in.
  4. The wine ages for between five to eight months and is then bottled. 

Our red wines are made by fer­ment­ing the grapes them­selves, not the juice:

  1. Grape clus­ters are put on a con­vey­er, where they are exam­ined for over­all quality.
  2. The clus­ters fall into a destem­mer which sep­a­rates the berries from the stem, and then the berries fall through a mul­ti-lay­er berry sorter which takes out jacks and under­ripe berries. 
  3. The grapes are put into a box or tank where they will soak for three to five days depend­ing on the variety.
  4. We add some heat to the tank or move the box into the sun­shine, where warmer tem­per­a­tures will kick off the fer­men­ta­tion process. 
  5. The red grapes fer­ment on the skins in these tanks/​boxes for as lit­tle as 12 days or as many as 21 days. We will pump over the tanks and punch down the box­es one to three times a day in order to break-up and sub­merge the cap (grape skins and seeds) into the wine.
  6. Once fer­ment­ed to almost dry, we drain the tanks/​boxes in order to get the free run wine which is the high­est qual­i­ty wine. 
  7. The tanks/​boxes are drained into the press and a gen­tle press begins. This first press wine is usu­al­ly com­bined with the free run wine. We con­tin­ue to press the grapes for sev­er­al cycles, until all the wine has been extracted. 
  8. The wine is put into oak bar­rels, where it will age for between 10 to 32 months and is then bottled.
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