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The Winery

Photo by Adrian Schneider     

Surrounded and shaded by imposing pine and cedar trees, the winery is a charming old style red barn and is a perfect starting building for winemaking.  A corner of the winery has been decorated into a small tasting area.   There are also half a dozen picnic tables nearby for people wishing to have a bite while enjoying the scenic surroundings and we have plenty of parking for special events.  A small bathroom building completes the guest amenities.  Guided winery and vineyard visits can be arranged.

Besides being well shielded from the sun, the winery building is also well insulated and cellar temperatures can be maintained by various cooling approaches. Cool air can be brought in with a whole house fan at night, a swamp cooler can be used if needed as the temperature warms up during the day, or air conditioning can be used during heat waves.  A small room, formerly the tack room, is used as a wine lab where Jacques performs the usual wine analyses (SO2, TA, ph, VA, %Alc., etc.).  An outside crush pad is located at the back of the winery. 

Photo by Adrian Schneider     

Harvesting date decisions, although a grape grower call at first glance, are actually made by the winemaker because that date is determined by the vision for the finished wine and will also have a large impact on the winemaking.  Picking date is often the subject of intense negotiations between the winemaker and the grower, with the latter leaning towards picking earlier (minimizes risk and costs) and the former wanting to stretch it longer (more fruit development or sometimes winery is just full).  Of course owning/operating your own vineyard takes care of that problem.  Harvest can be as early as mid/late August in warmer years and as late as November in cooler years, with white grapes generally picked before red grapes. 

We tend to pick on the higher maturity side because we believe more intense flavors/aromas and increased varietal character develop in those last few oBrix (a measure of sugar concentration).  However, we do not want super-ripe grapes because overly jammy fruit characters can sometimes ensue and the high pH of over-ripe fruit makes the wine more susceptible to spoilage and can reduce the aging potential.  Riper fruit also means higher sugar and, in turns, higher alcohol.  The fine line to walk is for the increased fruit development to balance out the higher alcohol and we believe we achieve this.

The winemaking equipment set is small scale but of

Photo by Adrian Schneider 

good quality and the techniques used were selected/developed to support the vision of producing intense, complex, balanced and varietally expressive wines.  Jacques sensory evaluation skills developed through judging provides a unique advantage in attaining this vision, because many critical winemaking decisions along the way are based on the accuracy of this appraisal.

Harvest/crush is a very exciting but hectic time.  Should you visit us during that period, you might notice we are not as clean shaven as we should be and we appear a little ragtag, and sometimes we are even closed (hard to be in 2 places at the same time).  However, the fermentation aroma in the winery is absolutely wonderful and that makes us smile and we are sure it will make you smile too.

 

> Click here for more detail on Solune's winemaking approach