February was a busy month in the winery. This being our first harvest in the new space we had lots of extra work to do in terms of planning and organizing, so we are just now finishing up what we would consider to be the work of harvest. As in all fermentation, cleanliness is a huge factor in ensuring that everything happening to the wine is by our design, so a thorough, deep clean of the entire winery was one of the final tasks we completed.
Now we look forward to our next bottling in April which will be made up of wines from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 vintages. In preparation we are racking the wine from the barrels and moving into our final blending and analysis.
Racking is simply the process of moving wine from one vessel to another – either barrel to barrel or from barrel back into a larger tank for blending – in a very careful and controlled fashion that leaves any accumulated sediment behind.
While the concept is very straight forward, the reality is much more complex. With limited space on the winery floor it becomes a real game of strategy to move and organize the barrels in a logical fashion. As with everything in our new winery, we have learned a lot about process from this experience and look forward to putting those lessons into practice for next year’s harvest.
With barrels down off their racks and lots of wine moving around its also a great opportunity to taste each lot and assess what sort of progress it is making. As we get closer to bottling these informal evaluations become even more important as we make final decisions about what is ready for the bottle and what still needs more time to achieve its full potential.