As an artisan winemaker in Napa Valley, I am able to customize our fermentation plans to be creative in a desire to make wines of pure elegance. This year, a growing number of vintners are fermenting in wine barrels, both those barrels used only one time as well as brand new oak. By removing the heads and standing the barrels upright, we can basically complete a cold soak, primary fermentation and extended maceration all in the same oak vessel.
Wood fermentation is experiencing a renaissance in modern winemaking. Barrels have often been used in for white wine fermentation, especially for oak influenced wines such as Chardonnay, to achieve more integration and complexity earlier in the life of the wine. However, they have recently become more popular for red wine fermentation.
The advantages of barrel fermentation include earlier tannin polymerization and earlier integration of tannin, which leads to a smoother mouthfeel on the finished wine. The characters imparted on the wine from oak barrel fermentation are different than if the oak where only present during the aging process. Because yeast can metabolize or transform certain characters present in the oak, the wine will finish with less of the vanillin character that new French oak can impart in the wine.
There are increased costs of managing a wine number of small fermenting lots: costs associated with removing and replacing the barrel heads as well as the labor costs with punch downs, cold soaking and extended fermentation in these small lots, but the labor of love and the finished product is worth the investment.
This is one way to “Celebrate Life”
Mother Nature has been extremely kind to Napa Valley this year - yields and up, quality is up and we can't wait to taste the fruits of our labor once the grapes are picked and in the cellar.
With harvest every year comes the traditional harvest party - once again celebrating the end of another growing year and the beginning of the winemaking process. We are hosting our annual Harvest Party the weekend of October 19th and 20th - this year, we have a special VIP experience in store for a lucky few on Friday, so be sure to check it out! Come out to the vineyard and pick some grapes, bring them into the cellar and then help destem and crush them, thereby beginning the process to excellent winemaking. We will reward your efforts with lunch and wine in the Tasting Room - it will be a great day! Limited to 12 people.
On Saturday, October 20th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm will be our big celebration - music, wine and food for all as we raise our glasses to another crush completed!
Tickets for both events are available on our website at www.bourassavineyards.com, so hurry and get yours today! We can't wait to CELEBRATE LIFE with you!
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