Saturday, October 06, 2007

Our First Pinot Noir

Friday morning we picked up 1 ton of Pinot Noir from an old vine vineyard in the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains. This will be the first Pinot Noir we make.

The grapes were small and the flavors very intense. It was very cool Friday morning. Temps were in the high 40's and the grapes came off the vine cool, which is perfect for transport and winemaking. Millie was able to load both bins in the back of her pick up truck so we didn't have to rent a big flat bed like normal.

We were a little late leaving the vineyard, but by 10:00 am we were on the road and headed towards Chaine d' Or, about a 45 minute drive. We arrived just before 11:30.

I was a little worried about how things would go. This was the first time anyone had brought grapes into the winery, everything else made there had always been estate grapes. That meant we had some new processes to set up, new equipment to use, and a new layout of all the equipment. With so much being done for the first time I was counting on some problems.

We got very lucky! Everything went better than planned and we quickly worked out a couple of small details and had a system down. 85% of the grapes went through the de-stemmer and 15% went into a t-bin in whole clusters. We just filled up one bin, or about enough to make 50 cases of wine.

The Brix tested at 25.2 in the bin, right in the range I like and I covered the grapes and let them start their cold soak. With temperatures so low, we won't need to do anything artificial to lower the temperature. The grapes should just soak for 2-3 days before natural fermentation starts. My plan is to be pretty gentle in push downs as the juice already seems pretty intense.

We'll have another 1-2 tons coming in from a second vineyard soon and eventually we'll combine the two into a "Santa Cruz Mountains" Pinot Noir.


kenneth said...

Sheesh you two are busy, which I guess is good. But does this mean no breaks until January?

Paul Romero said...

Things will be pretty busy until late November. We'll have a little break in December, but the pruning starts after the first full moon in January.