Philosophy · Technique · Technology
Vineyard 29 employs the most careful, patient (albeit time-consuming and labor intensive) techniques to create wines that fully express the potential of their vineyard heritage — their terroir. Applying the Old World theory of “elevage” — raising each vintage as one would raise a child — means giving the vines and the wine alike the height of gentle care and attention. By expressing this care, we strive to create a final product that is the highest representation of the vineyard and the climate in that year. Every piece of advanced machinery at Vineyard 29, beginning in the vineyards, enables us to treat our grapes with tremendous care, thus adhering to old world winemaking ideals through use of advanced modern technologies.
During harvest, the vineyard crews begin before sunrise, harvesting by hand, into 40 pound bins. The bins are carefully stacked on pallets to be transported to the winery’s crush pad. The winemaking process begins with hand sort of the grape clusters on a 6 foot sorting table. From here, the berries are destemmed and deposited on a 20 foot sorting table to allow for a 2nd hand sort of the individual grapes. At the end of the sorting process, whole grapes are deposited into a small transfer tank, which is then lifted by forklift so the grapes may slide gently into our computer-monitored fermentation tanks.
Use of gravity, nature’s own gentle crushing method, is central to the process of winemaking at Vineyard 29. Making this possible are advances such as a specially designed freight elevator used to fill, lift and empty tanks as an alternative to the common oxygen-driven pumping of wines around a facility. At Vineyard 29 free-run juice is transferred around the tank room and to barrel in the caves by gravity. Must is gently pressed using a computer-controlled JLB hydraulic press and transferred — by gravity — to barrel. Racking is also done without a pump, this time using inert gas to pressurize the barrel and move wine gently out to the next waiting barrel. These and other technological advancements provide the backbone for the labor-intensive winemaking process at Vineyard 29. They exemplify the combination of Old-World techniques and the most advanced methods available, a design intended to further us in our pursuit of “perfection” in our wines.