Filed under: Winemaking | Tags: 2008, Amber Ridge Vineyard, Bottling, Hein Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Winemaking
This is the time of the year when things start to get a bit crazy around the winery. Last night we just finished bottling our 2008 Pinot Noirs and are expecting some of our grapes to come in from the 2009 vintage within the next week.
We decided to emphasize the “small lot” angle starting this year and opted to go DIY by hand numbering each bottle of wine. Jennifer also digs the fact that this personal touch is reminiscent of hand-numbered limited edition vinyl records.
Figuring that this task was more than our 20 fingers could handle, we enlisted the help of several wine pals last night and made a party out of boxing up, numbering, and sealing up all 75 cases (900 bottles) of 2008 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir.
The evening began with us tasting samples of the 2008 Pinot Noir from La Encantada Vineyard (Sta Rita Hills) and the 2008 Pinot Noir from Amber Ridge (Russian River).
We’re really happy with how the wines have developed and think they are super tasty already. With our stamp of approval the bottling began for La Encantada, followed by Amber Ridge. As the bottles came off of the bottling line we loaded them into the cardboard cases and Jennifer meticulously marked each box with a set of numbers (1-12, 13-25, etc.) to make our hand-numbering task a bit easier.
As our friends Richard, Bryce, and Darleen arrived, we slipped off into another room with our metallic markers in order to hand number each bottle’s label (1-300 for each vineyard-designate). Along with the Amber Ridge and La Encantada, we also worked to number the previously bottled (as of a few weeks ago) 2008 Hein Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley.
- We were so glad to have the help, as writing numbers on the tiny space on each bottle required a lot more concentration than we’d anticipated. It was still a lot of fun, and we joked about our favorite (1/300, 30/300, 111/300) and least favorite numbers (anything with 8s or with 3 digits). We resisted the urge to mark bottles with secret messages, our initials, or whimsical numbers (Jennifer was very tempted to write her favorite radio station’s frequency of 89.7 when she got to bottle number 89)…at least this year.
We’re anticipating that we’ll release the 2008 Waits-Mast Amber Ridge Pinot Noir in November 2009 and will release the Hein and La Encantada in Spring 2009.
In the meantime, we’re about to begin the whole wine-making process for 2009. Our grapes from Amber Ridge Vineyard are expected to be picked this week, with others to follow in September/October and we are excited to again hand-sort the grapes.
Thanks again to our friends for the help with numbering, loading bottles into boxes, and lifting and sealing up cases of wine. We hadn’t anticipated all of the manual labor that would be involved and thank Bryce for volunteering to do much of the heavy lifting.
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