Field Reports

The Crush Is On…

September 14th, 2014

The crush is on here in the Santa Ynez Valley…

Indeed, our 2014 Jarhead Chard is happily fermenting away, the first of our wines to be made from the 2014 vintage.

Once again, the Jarhead Chard comes from the Firestone family’s estate vineyards right here in Santa Barbara County, which is recognized as one of the world’s premier Chardonnay regions.

The grapes were harvested at night. Why harvest at night? Because this ensures that the fruit is cool when it arrives at the winery, allowing for the preservation of fresh flavors and pure aromatics. If the grapes get too warm after you pick them, you can lose some of that freshness and purity. Of course, it’s more work to harvest at night—for starters, you have to bring floodlights into the vineyard—but it’s a worthy investment in quality.

At the winery, the grapes were gently whole-cluster pressed. This means that they didn’t undergo crushing or destemming. Again, whole cluster pressing is more work, but it ensures that the more bitter “phenolics” of the seeds and stems stay out of the wine.

Now the Chardonnay is cold fermenting in stainless steel tanks, which means that yeasts are converting the natural grape sugars into alcohol and CO2 gas. The gas blows off, and the result is wine. So we’re on our way for the 2014 vintage!