Cellar work is the energy we dedicate to the transformation of grapes into wine, the continuation of 8000 years of co-evolution between human and grapevine, a tribute to the joy and wonder of fermentation, a celebration of community and of harvest!
Yes, we use our feet to stomp the grapes! It's still the best method because feet allow us to be very gentle with the grapes, and give us a feel for the temperature of the fermentation. Everything the vine offers us in a cluster - juice, skins, stems, seeds - we use in our winemaking methodology. We believe this creates wine that is a vivid, authentic expression of the vine and its growing conditions throughout the year.
After the grape are stomped, there is a mixture of juice, seeds, stems and skins, in a big, open-topped container. The yeast that occur naturally on the grape skins, in the wooden rafters of the winery building, and living on the winemaker all collaborate to begin fermenting the sugars in the grape juice into wine. Above is our press, which creates juice that we then place in fermenting tanks.
Wild yeasts are the winemakers here; our role as humans is to provide the ideal conditions for the yeasts to thrive, and to marvel at their cosmic imperative to provide us with wine!
Here you can see what this spontaneous fermentation looks like in a glass fermenting vessel called a demijohn. Demijohns have a specific egg shape that allows a dynamic mixing of liquids and solids in the ferment, which you can see especially well in beginning of the video. This is a blend of Vignoles and Sevyal Blanc grapes from the Grapevine Run Vineyard from 2021.
We make the wine in this little building next to the vineyard. For the most part, it is at ambient temperature, however if it goes above 80 we turn on the AC, and keep it above 40 in the winter via a heater. One of the neat things about working with the native yeast is the amazing range of temperature at which they will continue to ferment - we see active fermentations at temps as low as 38 degrees!