These factors differ depending on one's winery and which style of wine one is producing. But with those specifications in mind, the winemaker must also take into consideration the level of sugar in the grapes (Brix), the level of acidity (titratable acidity), and tannin level. Right now we are playing the waiting game. Everyday we do the lab analysis, and the winemaker checks the results, determining when we will begin picking.
Hanzell Vineyards truly puts safety and sanitation first.
Have you ever heard of a wine that is "corked"? Well, Hanzell goes the extra mile to ensure that this does not happen to any of their wines. What is meant by a corked wine? This is just a simple way of saying that the wine has TCA (Tricloroanisole). 3-5% of wines are ruined by corks, and Hanzell will not be one of them. Thus, we have to conduct many experiments and take many measures to ensure this. (This is a major reason why we should not discriminate against screw tops, as they are only here to help eliminate this problem).
|Pinot Noir undergoing perfect ripening|
|Pinot Noir that did not complete veraison|
It is important to cut off, or "green drop" those grapes which are not developing at the same rate so we get a balanced wine made with equally ripe and mature fruit and not with half underdeveloped grapes. Although I must admit, it was very painful for me at first to chop away at so many clusters of big, beautiful grapes just because a few little guys were underdeveloped. ..Sorry grapes, maybe you'll make the vintage next year! Also it is important that you note not all wineries do this. This is truly what you would consider hand selected grapes! Most wineries are concerned with quantity, thus they keep all of their fruit so they can make more wine, but Hanzell is all about quality.