Spring is when Nature stirs back to life after sleeping through the coldness of winter. In vineyards and wineries in California, the scenario is no different. It’s the perfect time for wines to be enjoyed.
So, What’s Brewing?
Wines go through an exacting process — the texture and taste, color and flavor can make all the difference.
Not all wines are created equal even when they stay in the same cellar, the processes and techniques being employed are all critical to the outcome. Vineyards are likely to have their own way of doing these, their best-kept secrets, to achieve the distinct flavor of their wines.
And spring is the opportune time to bring all these tasks to fruition. The traditional way of winemaking follows these steps:
Harvesting. It starts with harvesting. Whether grapes are ripe for the picking depends on their varieties. In California, harvest time is around August to September. Notably, vineyards pay particular attention to spring because it is a critical time for the growth of the plant’s root flush. Harvesting is all about timing, like clockwork to ensure the quality of the fruit and the wine it produces.
Fermenting. Harvested grapes undergo crushing and pressing. Some do it the traditional way aka, stomping, which is an event in San Diego and the nearby wine-producing estates in the state. This extracts the juice from the grapes and starts the fermentation although it can be a lot more complicated than that. It is also after the crushing that the process for making red wines and white wines diverges. White wines require little to no skin contact to avoid any coloration brought by the grape’s skin, seed, and solids. Red wines, on the other hand, welcome such contact to bring out their luscious color.
Clarifying. This process entails filtering out substances, particles or anything from the fermented liquid. The wine, now clarified, can now be bottled or aged further. It’s up to the vintners to use general filtering for the bigger particles or a finer one for scooping out the smaller ones.
Aging. The wines will then be kept indoors, in cellars for days or months. The aging can happen in concrete tanks, oak barrels, or ceramic wine eggs. Vintage wines (grown, picked, and created within a year) are in golden slumber throughout winter to be taken out in spring.
Vineyards in Spring
For blended wines, the process involves blending two or more varieties of grapes, e.g. Sirah, Merlot, and Tempranillo. The predetermined blend can be fermented together although in most cases, each wine component is fermented on its own.
They are then blended based on the percentages desired. With the blending, sediments are expected to form; one must wait for them to settle down and filter them out. The final product can be subjected to several tastes before it can be hauled out for bottling and shipping.
Winemaking is certainly an art and science but there’s magic when spring comes. To make way for the new ones, the old ones have to be shipped out. How’s that for spring cleaning wine edition!
Speckle Rock Vineyards is located in beautiful Escondido, California and we’re happy to serve the following cities and counties and their surrounding areas in Southern California: Vista, Valley Center, San Marcos, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Ramona, Mesa Grande, Poway, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, and Temecula