Preparation

To prepare for the coming growing season, we have a laundry list of maintenance priorities. On top of the list is perhaps the most fun part of this time of year. Cleaning the water tanks. They must be drained and scrubbed due to our water source having a high iron content. This can take several days and requires one of us, Jamison, to climb in and out several times. Once our water supply is cleaned, high water pressure is used to flush our drip lines of any residue that could have dried out in them over the winter. 

We will also continue laying down compost along every plant and every row. 

Numbers

Time to check our numbers and top our barrels. We'll rack the wine one more time at this point and take more samples. Since malolactic and alcoholic fermentation are complete, maintaining a constant temperature in the cellar and making sure our wines numbers are constant are our main priority. As the wine is put back to bed, we'll start preparing for the coming growing season. We won't touch the vines themselves until mid March. At our elevation and at our location, our unique weather pushes our pruning time back. While most vineyards prefer to prune early, we don't have that luxury. We prune as late as possible to delay the budding process, which will hopefully put us past the danger of frost issues. 

We are also very fortunate in that our South facing vineyard has a consistent breeze, which helps prevent frost from settling on our vines. 

Racking

At this point, we rack our new wines for the first time. Racking is a very essential part of the winemaking development and it is performed two to four times throughout the barrel aging step. This helps with the clarification of the wine, but also inhibits the production of unwanted flavors and bacteria. It is simply the transferring of the wine from one barrel to another to minimize contact with the remaining skin and yeast particles that have settled to the bottom of the barrel over the last few weeks. The days following a racking will require the cellar master to constantly top the barrels as the wine soaks into the wood and evaporates, trying to minimize contact with oxygen. Topping will happen every few weeks from the day the wine is barreled until the day it is bottled.