farming and winemaking are integrated
meticulous care of our three vineyards and delicate winemaking practices bring you exceptional wines
Mother Nature deals us a different hand every vintage, giving us both desirable and undesirable results. Our goal is to take each block of our vineyards, treat them separately throughout the winemaking process and ultimately craft well-balanced wines that highlight unique qualities of the particular vineyard and vintage. This requires a level of intimacy that can only be attained by an integrated approach and years of experience. Vineyard Manager Jason Yeager, Winemaker Patrick Muran and Winemaker Molly Bohlman are dedicated to learning the nuances of our three sites and treat each vintage as an education.
How we approach each vineyard, varietal and vintage
Our process for the next vintage begins right after harvest, when we prune the vines and seed the cover crop at each vineyard, usually in mid-November. Since each vineyard has a different soil profile, we will adapt each cover crop to fit specific needs. The vines will then lose their leaves and enter dormancy until early Spring when they enter their growing season. Next comes the succession of growing stages: fuzzy bud, budbreak, flowering & fruit set. During this time, the vines and grapes are extremely susceptible to weather & outside influences, and we keep a careful eye on them to evaluate if we need to intervene.
After fruit set, we start to seek balance between the vines and the grapes, using methods like dropping excess fruit or manipulating leaf canopies to allow the perfect amount of sunlight to hit the clusters. After veraison (pictured below) it's all hands on deck to manage the fruit going into harvest. In a typical year, our yields are approximately two to four tons of grapes per acre depending on the vineyard, varietal, root system and canopy size.
The beginnings of cover crop at Jespersen Ranch - blend of clover, mustard & radish
Budbreak normally occurs in mid to late Spring
Veraison - when clusters begin to develop color - generally occurs in early Summer
keeping the vineyard & vintage influences alive during our process
We hand-pick all our grapes at night and deliver them to the winery at dawn to keep our fruit cool, and ready to be sorted. The grapes are then lightly crushed and delivered to tanks using gravity. Since our goal is to preserve the unique qualities of different blocks in our vineyards, we ferment each block separately in mostly 1,000 and 2,000 gallon fermenters. We use primarily free run juice in all our wines and are constantly experimenting with different fermentation and aging techniques. Separate block fermentation also means that we can hand-select barrel profiles to best suit each block, creating a plethora of choices for blending. Our red wines age for anywhere between 14-24 months in a combination of new and neutral oak, with French, Hungarian and American coopers playing roles.
Hand-picking at night keeps fruit integrity high and protects our team from the heat
We hand-sort every cluster that comes from our vineyards into our winery
Our gravity-fed tank system allows us to minimize negative externalities that pumping can have
Oak barrels where our wines will age for anywhere between 12-24 months