Winemaker Jeff Herinckx
What’s happening at the winery
We have had lots of rain here in the past few weeks. Temperatures have been around average, but we’ve had so much rain there has been flooding. Fortunately, the vines are dormant this time of year, so there will be no ill effect in the vineyards. Since most of the vineyards in this part of Oregon are up in the hills, they don’t tend to flood, even when the rainfall is extreme.
We’ve been staying busy indoors, taking care of the wine from the 2016 vintage.
The 2016 Pinot Noir is in barrels, aging in oak. There truly isn’t much to do with it this time of year. Our Pinot from 2016 came from four vineyards: Triple H Vineyard, Sheppard Vineyards, Dion Vineyard and Tuenge Vineyards. We keep the wine from the four vineyards separate, and we also keep the clones separate, because each has different qualities related to fruit flavors, tannins, etc. This way, we can wait until it’s time for bottling to decide if we’ll do a vineyard-designate wine, or if we’ll blend them.
The 2016 Pinot Gris is about to be blended and then cold and heat stabilized. We need to complete this before it gets too warm outside since winter temperatures are ideal for cold-stabilization – we simply put the tanks outside and let Mother Nature provide the cooling for us. When it’s cold, below 32 degrees is ideal, we add cream of tartar which binds with the tartaric acid and causes it to drop out of the wine. Then, we filter it.
What happens in the vineyards this time of year?
While the vines are dormant, the growers prune the vines. This usually takes place between December and February. Pruning is done to keep the vines from branching out too far and getting tangled with neighboring vines. If left un-pruned, the vines would produce too much fruit (so it likely wouldn’t fully ripen) and picking the fruit would be very difficult and more time consuming.
What’s going on in January?
Besides the work, we need to do on the 2016 Pinot Gris, we also need to filter and bottle more Niagara, and filter and bottle the 2016 Riesling. There is always work to be done, even when the weather outside is cold and wet. We hope you’ll visit our warm and welcoming tasting room before winter is over.
Winemaker Journal Archives:January 2017