Carrie’s pre-harvest cellar preparation
August 31st, 2011
Cellarmaster Carrie Findleton
Busy times here at Continuum Estate! As of September 1st the 2009 Continuum (our fifth release and my first vintage at Continuum Estate) will officially be in bottle. Meanwhile, the 2010 Continuum continues to rest and develop in barrel as our attention is now focused on preparing the cellar for the 2011 harvest. Our carefully selected new French oak barrels have arrived at the winery, our oak and cement fermentation vessels are being detailed, crush equipment prepared, basket press shined, and more frequent visits are made to our vineyards, the heart of our operation, to monitor the chemistry and flavor progression within our estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Merlot grapes.
In the cellar, we like to balance innovation with decades of experience and tradition. Each year Tim, Kurt, and I brainstorm on how to improve our winemaking protocols to allow us better control by focusing on quality and a sensitive approach to winemaking. This year we invested in a new gentler destemmer, which will allow for more meticulous sorting of individual grapes following the initial cluster sorting in the field and table sorting upon arrival at the winery. Secondly, after a highly successful two-tank automatic pump-over trial in 2010, we decided to extend and grow this trial for 2011 by converting a larger percentage of our fermentation vessels to automatic pump-overs. We continue to be amazed by the increased concentration of flavor, structure, and balance we achieved in 2010 using this method. Automatic pump-overs give us the ability to set criteria such as frequency and length of pump-over so that each individual lot is truly unique. We are very excited to see what we’ll be able to achieve using this technique in 2011.
Adding to the excitement of the upcoming harvest season is the arrival of our winemaking interns. This year we are lucky to have Troy Moya, who has worked at a number of Napa and Sonoma wineries over the last ten years, especially so with small artisan Pinot Noir producers. Troy brings with him a gentle approach to winemaking and attention to detail, an essential quality at Continuum. We are also joined by one of our vineyard team members, Luis Pelayo, who will share his years of experience working with our estate fruit both in the vineyard and winery. I feel we have a great winemaking team this year and am very much looking forward to the 2011 Harvest!