The Oregon harvest typically starts at the end of September. The grapes are hand-picked in the early morning hours before the vineyard warms. The picked clusters are placed into five gallon picking buckets, which are then loaded into bins and transported to the winery. The picked fruit enters the winery during the cool morning hours; if needed, it is stored in our cooling room to reach the desired temperature before it is processed.
Our Pinot Noir grapes get the royal treatment. Our estate Pinot Noir grapes go through our sorting line, where several people remove any unwanted grape clusters as well as any material other than grapes.
The grapes are then carried to our destemmer, which sits on a trolley directly above the fermentation tanks. We drop the whole grapes into these tanks, where they remain at cool temperatures for up to 10 days. This cold soak process is a style choice that facilitates color and flavor extraction before the production of alcohol.
The fermentation usually takes five to seven days, at which point we press the wine.
Our Chardonnay grapes go directly into our press. The pressed juice is then collected, and settled in steel tanks for 12-24 hours. From there, fruit for our oaked Chardonnay goes into French oak barrels in our cellars, where the wine ferments and is aged for approximately 10 months in order to build richness and complexity. Our unoaked Chardonnay is fermented completely in stainless steel tanks, providing a more crisp, fruit driven wine.
We settle the wine in tanks for two to three days, then move it down into our barrel cellar via gravity flow for secondary fermentation and aging.
Our lots of Pinot Noir are fermented and barrel-aged separately, allowing us to gain insight into characteristics of our various clones and vine ages before blending.
We use French oak barrels exclusively, selecting from a handful of coopers (barrel makers) depending on age of vine, clone, and vintage. We think of oak as a complementary spice that enhances the fruit and tertiary flavors of the wine, instead of providing a dominant flavor.
Throughout the years, we have learned the nuances of our individual vineyard sections, and which types of oak complements each best.
Blending and Final Processing
Our Pinot Noir spend approximately 10½ months in oak barrels before the wine is blended and bottled.
Wine blending takes place in the late spring and early summer months. When the wine is blending and ready for bottling, we employ the use of a high tech mobile bottling line. Following bottling, we like to age our Pinot Noir for at least one year prior to release.