The hectic harvest and holiday seasons have ended. The New Year has brought a sense of serenity to our estate — along with beautiful, lush green views — which reminds us why we love the cycle of winemaking so much. Watch what’s happening this time of year in our winter vineyard and winery update.
In our Estate Vineyards
Winemaking is a cycle, and as we enter the new year the cycle continues with pruning all 150 acres of Beckmen grapevines. Our crew passes through the vineyard twice: once for the initial pre-prune of the canopy — clearing out the tall canes and brush — and second for the critical final prune cut. Pruning is a very important task as it sets up the crop size on each vine for the year ahead. Each bud we leave behind will hopefully produce a couple of grape clusters come spring. A lot of other factors will affect the crop size throughout the growing season, but this is the first step to set the stage for the 2020 vintage.
The grapevines may be bare and dormant, but our cover crops are growing beautifully due to the good rainfall we received in the end of 2019. Every December, we plant an organic cover crop between the rows of grapevines as a natural way to feed and add nitrogen back into our soil. The crop is a mix of grass and legumes, including climbing peas, vetch, and beans, which we will continue to grow until they start to flower. After flowering, we will mow each row and run a disc to incorporate the beneficial, organic plant materials into the soil. The legumes have nitrogen fixing nodules on their root systems, which improves the health of our soil the most natural way possible.
Inside our Winery
We are gearing up for bottling season! A lot of work must happen before the wine goes into the bottle; we are busy finishing blends — sometimes a blend of all one varietal or sometimes a blend of different varietals — emptying barrels, filling tanks, and finishing wines. We will be bottling different wines for two to three days every month for the next six months. Our wines are bottled via a mobile bottling line, so if you see a semi-truck parked next to the winery you know what we are up to!
Barrel management is also an important task during the winter months. We taste every barrel of wine, making sure the wines are developing well as they age and mature. We check the secondary fermentation (malolactic fermentation, where malic acid is converted to lactic acid) which happens after the primary (alcohol) fermentation. This secondary fermentation enhances the texture and feel of the wine, adding a rounder, creamier quality. All our red wines will go through this secondary fermentation, but we inhibit it in most of our white wines.