The term “As slow as molasses in January” does not apply to the winery! While this time of year finds our vines dormant in the vineyards, the winery can be a bustling place of activity. All of the post-harvest cleanup has been completed for some time now and once the new wines were comfortably put to bed in December, we shifted gears to focus on the final blending and bottling of the 2020 Vintage wines. One final topping of all of the barrels prior to the holidays allowed us to enjoy some time off with friends and family to usher in the New Year.
While we were away, the wines did play! Returning to the winery in January we are happy to find that many of the 2021 reds have been busily progressing through malolactic fermentation. This “secondary fermentation” as it is often referred to, is the second essential part of fine red wine production that allows red wine to become microbiologically stable and age-worthy. Primary fermentation is when sugars are converted to alcohol by yeast, secondary fermentation is when malic acid is converted to lactic acid by the bacteria oenococcus. This acid conversion results in a softer mouthfeel and also removes the last “food” from the wine, creating the “microbial dessert” we desire for long term shelf stability.
This time of year also gives us a great glimpse into the future of the wine, as it is typically showing its hand in final aromatics and texture. It serves as an ideal time to be planning future blends because we truly can assess how well we captured the flavors that mother nature gave us in the grapes during the last growing season. Assessing the wines at this time of year also helps us to plan our work in the vineyard during the upcoming growing season, truly completing the annual cycle of growth and improvement and starting it again.
-The Seghesio Production Team
Harvest 2021 Q&A with Viticulture Director Ned Neumiller
Now that the 2021 harvest has been completed and our team has had a chance to rest, we thought it would be fun to conduct a Q&A with our Viticulture Director, Ned Neumiller. In this Q&A, we cover the most memorable responses to our questions.
Q: Can you give us a 2021 harvest update?
A: The 2021 harvest was very rhythmic. With a shortfall of rain for the 2020-2021 rainfall season it was going to be difficult to ripen a full crop, however, mother nature has a way of balancing the playing field in a hard but beautiful way. Yields were a little lower than past vintages but the quality of the fruit we harvested was exceptional. We were fortunate to have pleasant weather throughout harvest without any heat spikes and were rewarded with 7-10 inches of rain in October.
Q: What meal is your go to during harvest?
A: Leftovers. I guess I should clarify, leftovers that travel well, and stay warm in the thermos for 12-18 hours. Jerky and candy also classify as a meal during harvest and they are a close 2nd.
Q: What are your favorite post-harvest traditions?
A: Heading to the coast. Anywhere North of the Golden Gate Bridge and as close to the water is best, where you can feel the wind and moisture from the ocean. By far the BEST weather for the North Coast Coastline is October – February.
Q: What’s happening in the vineyard currently?
A: At this point in the vineyard we are pruning for the 2022 growing season, watching cover crops grow and enjoying some wet weather! Hello rain!
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