Right now, it is a quieter time in the cellar, which is a nice break after a busy harvest season. Malolactic fermentation in our Pinot Noir barrels finished quickly, and the wines are quietly evolving in barrel over the next eight months. Over the last few weeks, in preparation for bottling, we’ve spent time tasting through the wines to anticipate the best bottling dates for each one. Bottling kicked off with our 2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2018 Best Barrel wines, and 2018 Reserve Chardonnay in early February.
The 2019 vintage was all about strategy after several rain events at the beginning of harvest. In two short days, we brought in all the fruit at Ridgecrest. The fruit was beautiful and clean and turned out to have delicate characteristics. As our wines barrel down, we are excited to have a refreshing “cool climate” vintage after the previous four warm and easy ones. The small obstacles presented in 2019 made us all work much harder, and in turn, it made it one of our favorites because of the bouts of rain and a beautifully mild summer. The 2019 vintage will be one we will never forget thanks to the tremendous character and charisma in the wines.
As we continue our goal of invasive plant species removal, we have started to naturescape with the native flora species of the valley: wild red columbine, vibrant blue camassia, and yellow viola. As the restoration progresses, we’ve created an oasis for the preservation of pollinators like ground bumble bees, mimic bees, and mason bees. Their survival is a conscious part of our management, while not losing sight of our task to produce a flavorful and robust grape crop for the next vintage of wine. Through our B Corp practice, we are continually exploring new ways to enhance our environment using simple models, produced organically in pristine natural landscapes. Fellow B Corp partner, Ash Creek Forest Management, is working with our Fine Gardening team to achieve a restoration plan that will announce spring with a flurry of color at our Corral Creek Vineyard and Winery. It takes a village to achieve such lofty goals, but with teamwork and insight, we are gaining a foothold on a vision of the Willamette Valley that we all cherish.
In the vineyard, we’re setting the stage for the 2020 vintage. At Corral Creek, we’ve started to layout the new addition of Gamay Noir, which will replace the Riesling at the top of the hill in late February. Up at Ridgecrest, we are training trunks in two new blocks, 3.1 and 3.4, which will produce a little bit of fruit this year. And, we’re very excited to see the quality Pinot Noir that will come from these areas. Across properties, pruning, brush pulling, and tying is set for early February for established vines, and early March during a nice patch of dry weather for young vines, to protect against trunk disease.
On behalf of the entire winemaking team, we look forward to sharing the 2019 wines with you!