Close to one-quarter of our entire fall harvest arrived last Saturday. Needless to say, it was a long day for us, but it was also filled with high expectations. We were not disappointed. The grapes arrived in top condition ready to fill our hungry tanks. In the Pinot Noir department, we received grapes from the Bien Nacido vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley and the Bacigalupi vineyards in the Russian River. Petite Syrah and Zinfandel arrived from Lodi as well.
Assistant Winemaker Bill Anton delivered pallet after pallet of grapes to the loading dock where Sikou Nakate and his trusty pallet jack were waiting to lift and pull each one-ton stack to the loading station. In the case of the Petite Syrah, whose clusters tend to run somewhat large compared to other varieties, the stems had to be snipped into smaller pieces so that they would go through the destemmer properly. Working in shifts, the sorting table was kept busy all day long, with only short interruptions in order to move from one tank to the next. Purple hands and sticky fingers were in abundance.
With our second crush of the season now finished, three-quarters of our fermenters are already full. It is now up to the hard-working yeast cells to transform all that sugary must into wine. We tend to them day and night making sure they complete their important task on schedule. This means regular pump overs, punch downs and temperature regulation. Our lab technicians are busy monitoring the progress and if all goes well, we will start to press and barrel down during the next two weeks. As you can see, timing will be very important so that tanks are available for more crop as it comes in. We are excited about breaking in our new press that will make this process more manageable. Stay tuned for updates.
David begins the unloading process as the sun rises
A forest of grapes
Bins waiting to be loaded
Filling the fermenters
City Winery restaurant staff take a turn at the sorting table
Last Saturday we had one of our largest crushes ever — 20 tons of grapes! Thanks to our dedicated members, staff and friends, it was processed in record time without a hitch. In fact, they managed to sort the grapes with such precision and care that David’s high standards of winemaking were held in the highest regard. In the time lapse video below, you will see most of the day’s effort compressed into two and a half minutes.
Variety: Zinfandel Vintage: 2010 Vineyard: 92% Grand Peres Vineyard Alcohol: 15.0 % vol Volume: 750 ml & Tap AVA: Shenandoah Valley, Amador county, CA Cases production: 80 cs bottled & Kegs
Vineyard description: 92% Zinfandel from Grand Pères Vineyard Lake County, CA. 8% Pinot Noir press from Bien Nacido Vineyards.
Winemaking Info: 18 day fermentation in tank with pumping over twice a day, partial press blended back into free-run juice. Full malolactic fermentation. Gravity pumped into a combination of ¼ new Seguin Moreau and ¾ used Taransaud and François Frères for 9 months.
Wine Description: A fruit driven and zesty Zinfandel from Amador County, jammy red fruit with hints of spice & smoke, powerful and youthful with an abundance of ripe red cherry, plum and black berry characters. Palate is big and boisterous, with red dark fruit offset by an incredible density.
Aging Capacity: 2 to 4 years.
Food Pairing: Can be sipped by itself slightly chilled or be served with some grilled meat just out of the barbecue. Perfect party wine!
Variety: 96% Zinfandel from Madder Lakes Vineyard, Lake County, CA. 4% Merlot from Alder Spring Vineyard: Mendocino, CA. Vintage: 2008 Vineyard: see above. Alcohol: 15% vol Volume: 750ml AVA: Lake County, CA Cases production: 120 cs bottled
Vineyard description: NA-Blend of vineyards.
Winemaking Info: 13-day fermentation in tank with pumping over twice a day, partial press blended back into free-run juice. Full malolactic fermentation. Gravity pumped into a combination of 1/3 new Seguin Moreau and 2/3 used Taransaud and Francois Freres for 9 months.
Wine Description: A fruit driven and zesty Zinfandel from Lake County, CA with hints of spice & smoke, Powerful and youthful with an abundance of ripe red cherry, plum and black berry characters. Palate is big and boisterous, with lively acidity offset by an incredible density.
Aging Capacity: 2-4 years.
Food Pairing: Can be sipped by itself slightly chilled, or served with some grilled meat just out of the BBQ. Perfect party wine!