Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 9: All work and some play!

Winemaker Lynda Hanson draining Pinot tank
A big weight lifted from my shoulders as we drained our very last Pinot Noir tank and pressed its cap off the following morning. That was the last task on our winemaking agendas that needed to be completed in such a timely fashion. Some of the tanks went through a short maceration, where they spent a week or less in contact with their skins, and some went through a long maceration where they were with their skins for up to more than two weeks. The lenth of maceration depends on how each individual tank's contents are developing.

So as we are "wine"ding down at the winery, it is time to cross our t's and dot our i's on this 2012 vintage. There is still work to be done, of course... as the winery never sleeps. Currently we are topping off barrels, and will begin transferring Pinot to barrel soon. Topping off means adding more wine to each barrel, because since they are made of oak, wine evaporates through the wood and the level of wine decreases in each barrel, creating a gap between the wine and top of the barrel which would allow in oxygen- wine's worst enemy. Thus, we fill each barrel every so often to eliminate room for oxygen to enter.

With only a couple more weeks left for this experience, I suspect I will finally be having much more free time on my hands to enjoy the wonderful town of Sonoma. I have already managed to find a small amount of time to do some fun activities. One of the great things I got to do was drive around the coast and visit Anderson Valley with the cellar master at Hanzell. The view was beautiful and the roads were long and very windy. We also stopped at an apple orchard where I picked up some delicious apple balsamic, as well as some unique apple varieties.

At Cline Winery
Recently I met someone who worked in production at Cline. He invited me to spend a day touring their facilities, and I quickly followed up on the opportunity. Cline is very different from Hanzell, and I thought it was really interesting to compare and contrast to the two wineries. Cline has hundreds of tanks, whereas Hanzell as a total of 34. Cline produces a plethora of varietals, and Hanzell only produces two. Cline sources their grapes from different vineyards and different appellations in California, and everything at Hanzell is estate grown. There is a place for everyone in the market for wine, and both types of wineries are needed for the market to thrive. I was really pleased with my experience at Cline, and they even sent me home with a few bottles of their wine!

I also stopped in at Sebastiani Winery. I enjoyed a private tour and tasting, and also learned quite a bit about their winery. They were one of the only wineries in the country to have had a license to stay open during the Alcohol Prohibition. They were able to produce wine for medicinal and religious purposes. The Sebastiani family migrated from Italy, and has had three generations construct and add to their facilities. You can see the work from the original 1900's, and what has been changed and upgraded. They also produce much more wine than Hanzell, but the Sebastiani family is legendary in the history of Sonoma Valley wine.

One weekend, I even got to go visit my fellow intern Laura in her stomping grounds of UC Davis. Davis offers the best Viticulture and Enology Program in the entire country! It was amazing to see their facilities with buildings funded by big names like Mondavi and Busch. They also have their very own vineyard where they grow tons of different varietals. Walking through those rows was like being a kid in a candy store. Syrah? Pinot Grigio? Muscat? Sangiovese? They have it all! What an incredible outlet to learn about the winemaking process.

1 comment:

  1. You really had an excitement and fun moments during that day. Keep it my dear friend.

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