Winemaking

Pre-Harvest

We closely monitor fruit ripening and weather forecasts to harvest when flavor and acidity are perfectly balanced.


Harvest

Fruit is harvested in the early morning so that it’s cool, and sorted in the field to remove leaves and unsuitable grape clusters.


Crush

The crush is different for each lot depending on fruit characteristics and the desired style. Some options are: crushed without stems, whole berry without stems, whole cluster crushed by foot (stems and all), and various fractions of whole cluster added to a destemmed must.


Primary Fermentation

Primary fermentation converts sugar to alcohol and in the process flavors, color, and tannins are extracted. Most fermentations proceed with natural yeast strains from the vineyard. When conditions for natural fermentation are not suitable, commercial yeast strains are used.


Barreling Down

Free-run wine is drained off the skins to oak barrels. The wet skins are loaded into a basket press to gently extract wine that we barrel separately. A combination of new and neutral oak barrels soften the wine during aging and impart nuanced complexity.


Secondary Fermentation

Once in barrel, naturally occurring bacteria convert malic acid to lactic acid. This conversion softens the acidity and improves mouthfeel. We periodically stir the lees during malolactic fermentation and collect samples for analysis.


Barrel Aging

The wine is aged in a cool room for about two years. During this time, harsher tannins, extracted from seeds and stems, convert to softer, more appealing tannins, wine and oak integrate, and character builds. We periodically taste barrels to monitor progress. Low levels of sulfur are added and the barrels are topped up to prevent spoilage and oxidation.


Blending

Barrels are tasted individually and then in combinations to formulate a blending plan for bottling.


Bottling

It’s not the most interesting work, but care and precision are essential to maintain cleanliness and minimize air contact. The wine is bottled with 35 to 40 parts per million of free sulfur to minimize oxidation over a long life in the bottle. Bottles are held for four to six months before release.

Left Bend Bottle fill

Left Bend Bottles by the case