Spring Cellar Notes

Winemaker Zack Geers preparing our Pinot Noir Blends.

While much attention is devoted to harvest as it must be, there are parts of winemaking largely hidden from view that are at least as important, and in some years equally crucial. The late winter and early spring are when blends are put together. For barrel aged wines such as Pinot Noir this entails tasting and grading every single barrel in the cellar before you can even begin to think about putting the first trial blends together. Once blends are proposed and tasted another round of even more detailed barrel tasting begins especially in regards to the top reserve wines where even a single barrel can make a big difference in the outcome of a ten barrel blend. The reality of this process involves scrambling up and down the barrel stacks at nine in the morning with a glass in one hand and a piece of chalk in your pocket for marking the head of the barrel.

New growth on our 2019 Estate Riesling, Claiborne Vineyard

At the same time the vines are beginning to set the pace of the upcoming harvest. This winter’s relentless rains and cold has made for a late start to the growing year. Whether this will be a good or bad thing will remain a mystery until the harvest is complete. We are just now seeing the young shoots emerging – at least three weeks later than average. Each growing season is a bit like having a child – you hope for the best, but you really have no idea of how they will turn out. Your job is to do the best you can.