Yesterday we spent the day in the winery racking and testing our 2008 wines.
Racking is the process of moving wine from one container to another (barrel to barrel or barrel to tank back to barrel). Racking has two goals. First we're trying to get the wine clear of any cloudiness, solids, or debris. The 'gunk' will settle into the bottom of a barrel and this process takes the clean wine off the gunk. It also allows us to expose the wine to some air, which will help with any sulfur reduction and help soften tannins.
The Pinot Noir and Haut Tubee had already been racked in April, so we just checked on them for problems. Both had good SO2 numbers and no off odors. We decided to leave both of those batches alone.
The SO2 numbers on our Cabernets were also good, we made just a small addition. We had one stinky barrel that I'll discard now, but the wine was fine. We racked everything into an Argon filled tank, and will put it back in barrel on Sunday. It went very smoothly and we were still able to entertain two groups of visitors around all the work.
It was also a good pre-harvest check on our training program. It wasn't a hard day at all, just 5-6 walks up the hill at Chaine d'Or and 6-7 hours on our feet. Nothing like a picking day at harvest, more like a prep day when you are getting ready to pick. I think Stef and I both did really well with no fatigue and we were able to join friends for dinner last night and tasted 19 bottles of great Santa Cruz Mountains wine until past midnight.