February Cellar Note

Wine Barrels on Racks

Since the beginning of the New Year the cellar crew has been concentrating on the transition from fermentation to clarifying and stabilizing the new vintage. The wines have been gently decanted several times off the dead yeast cells left over from fermentation in a process called racking. Each successive racking has helped to clarify the wines. This process of clarification promotes the wine’s maturation as the flavors of fermentation give way and the aromas underlying these new wines are revealed.

This is the point where the craft of winemaking takes center stage as the winemakers’ palates and vision of each wine’s style determines the final make up of each blend or lot. Swedish Hill’s cellar has been designed to allow individual grape varieties and vineyards to be kept separate from harvest to this stage to allow as wide range of options when wines are assembled. In addition, different yeast strains and fermentation regimes are used within each grape variety to provide additional options that add complexity and finesse to each finished wine. Samples of the distinctive lots are draw and brought to the wine lab to be blended on a small scale. Each wine for Swedish Hill, Goose Watch and Penguin Bay undergoes this evaluation with as many as 10-15 potential combinations evaluated in the lab before the top 5-6 are selected to be tasted blind by our in house tasting panel. The tasting panel then selects the final blend for each wine. First up are some of the aromatic whites from 2011, including Riesling, Cayuga White, Vidal Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Doobie Blues.

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