Tag Archives: winemaking

2014 Winemaking – What are we doing different?

2014 winemaking

Every year we look at what we did the previous year, if it worked, and what to do differently.

We are very happy with the how the 2013 Pinot turned out based on the sampling we did at bottling.  I’m hoping it progresses to a wonderfully complex wine in the next 9-12 months.

That said, here is what we did last year and changes this year.

Vineyard – Pick when flavors are optimal, usually around 23.5-24 brix.  Mix of Pommard and 667.  2014 – Will ferment/pick Pommard and 667 separately.  Depending of flavors we will bottle 1 to 3 wines.

Fermentation – Inoculate with Assmanhausen yeast after 5 day cold soak.  2014 – 7-10 day cold soak and then allow fermentation to begin for 1-2 days before inoculation to allow complexity from wild yeast.

Oak – 1 Xoaker per gallon of wine.  2014 – 1.33 Xoakers per gallon of wine to add slightly more oak flavor.




Bottle Shock – I didn’t know it was real until now!


Above is a classic scene in the movie “Bottle Shock”.  Little did I know that I would experience bottle shock at an inopportune moment this last week.  First…what is bottle shock.

Apparently around a week after bottling and lasting one to three months, the wine undergoes a reversible transformation.  “The wine tastes disjointed, unpleasant, and unfinished when in a state of bottle shock, but it doesn’t taste awful/undrinkable. The phrase most typically used to describe wine currently in bottle shock is “muted.” In the forefront are the tannins and the acid, with the fruit hiding somewhere deep in the background. Even more often, the wine throws off odd, reductive aromas.”

Normally when I visit my wine every month to check the sulfur level and taste, I take a few 1/2 bottle samples.  We drink them within the week and although young, it tastes great.  Well, this time I was having a knowledgable person in the wine industry taste my wine.  This 1/2 bottle had been stored for 3 weeks.  It normally takes about 1/2 hour to open up but in this case the wine tasted very acidic and flat with no fruit flavors.  I could not understand it.  Then I remembered “Bottle Shock”, although I had never experienced it until now.  The real confirmation will come the next time I take a sample and bring it home…

So, when Turtle Vines Pinot is released, I will include instructions on how and when to open the bottle, as you can also get “Travel Shock”, just like “Bottle Shock”.

Finding A Winery Partner Since the County won’t let us be One!

JC Winery


This was taken last fall as we were helping our dear friends Bill and Lauren make their Chardonnay at Santa Rosa Junior College.

What does it take to become a winery?  In Sonoma County you have to be zoned correctly and then for a small winery comply with regulations and pay around $6,000, mostly to the county.  Last month we started paperwork to be a winery but found out we are in the wrong zone.  Back to square one.

In order to sell the wine you do make, it has to be made at a bonded and permitted winery.  (Of course, anyone can make 100 gallons per person of wine a year, a law leftover from prohibition, and drink it or give it away to friends.)  So, we are in search of a good match for our organic grapes that can be hand crafted to make the best Pinot Noir possible.

We would like to find a winery that has the following traits:
– is close by
– we like the wine they make
– will give us a good price for our grapes
– will help us make wine  to sell, either as “Custom Crush” or “Alternating Proprietorship”
– values organic grapes
– is fun to work with

Yes, this is a lot to ask, and it is only 3 months until harvest…but once they taste the wine we made last year, all will be good.

And if this does not work…will sell some of these high quality grapes to some nice folks and make more wine on the side for us to enjoy!  Either way is OK…

Stay tuned to see where we end up this year.