There’s a lot that goes into making wine. From the climate and weather that the vine undergoes all year long to the yeast that is used to ferment the wine and the holding vessel of choice. It can be very stressful all year long with the wine maker and their team. Here is a sneak peak of what goes on behind the scenes from Anderson Valley.
Harvest 2017 was one of the hottest the valley had ever seen. Going from slowly picking white grapes, hauling them to the winery, and making wine to having the ENITRE valley quickly needing to be picked almost overnight. The heat spikes that the valley saw within a couple of days, partially due to the fires, made the red grape varietals became very ripe in terms of brix, a measurement of sugar levels inside a grape. A common “ripe” brix level is 24, most vineyards saw this increase from 23ish to almost 27 within a few days. Normally this happens slowly throughout a couple of weeks to a month.
This put wineries in a very stressful state as they quickly needed to pick their entire vineyard. Having manual labor being sparse within the valley, getting all the grapes off the vines, sorting and destemming once at the vineyard, fermenting as quickly as possible without changing the integrity of the wine, barreling down, cleaning everything, and starting all over again. Talk about STRESS!
Not only worrying about all what is going on in the current harvest, but also keeping up with the previous harvest(s) in the cellar. Checking total acidity (TA), sugar levels, volatile acidity (VA), sulfur levels, etc. Topping off barrels from previous vintage(s) to make sure there is as little air inside the barrels as the “angels” need their share of great wine too! This is just a sneak peek to winemaking.