A Summer's Day in the Life of our Winemaking Team
Summer serves as the last season before harvest and for our winemaking team, that means preparation for the controlled chaos of our fruit’s arrival. As the third installment of “A Day in the Life”, we take a look at what our team does in the day(s) leading up to when it’s time to pivot from watching our fruit develop in the vineyard to creating our delicious portfolio of wines in the cellar. Now, pour a glass of Nine Hats and settle in for a glimpse into a summer day for our team!
Summer with Nine Hats
With the anticipation of the first haul of fruit closing in on the crush pad, we start making room for the new juice in our tanks. Our biggest tasks during this time are to finalize our blends and then to bottle our Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blend from previous harvests to allow for tank and barrel space. After bottling, we take inventory then start to make our shopping list of enological products and barrels. We also take time to diligently sanitize and maintain functionality of the equipment that will be taken out of its summertime hibernation!
As we head outside to the vineyards, our team begins to monitor the fruit even more closely to ensure the highest grape quality possible as we inch closer to picking time. We also start the process of hiring our crush team so we’re ready when the grapes tell us it’s time to be harvested! Veraison usually arrives around the end of July so vineyard walks become more and more frequent. During these walks, we’re tasting the fruit and pulling samples to monitor the cluster progression to determine optimal picking time. While this may seem like the calm before the storm, this is when critical and crucial attention to detail enables confidence heading into harvest season!
A Day in the Life
Much like his routine in spring, our head winemaker Gilles wakes up around 6:30 a.m. and enjoys his morning tea before heading to the winery. Upon arrival at 8 a.m., he meets with our production team to check in on happenings in the cellar and lab while reviewing the coming day’s tasks. After the team meeting, it’s time to review data from the lab and do a little quality control (who doesn’t love a morning wine tasting?) of various wines in the works and make any necessary adjustments. After the hard work of tasting through wines, Gilles meets with Matt, our assistant winemaker, to review and update the cellar workload calendar for various things that need to happen before the impending arrival of our first harvest haul. He then takes some time to catch up on emails.
Our team often gathers for lunch on the crush pad—an integral part of our team’s morale since we’re more than the Nine Hats winemaking team, we’re a family that cares about each other. Afternoons may involve chatting with our growers about viticulture practices, vineyard updates, and scheduling times to visit and monitor the progress of the fruit. As the day nears the end, one last check of the email before huddling up and reviewing what we’ve accomplished before heading home around 5:15 p.m. While we still have the sun hanging in the sky into the later hours of the day, it’s perfect for a little yard work to unwind before cooking a delicious meal paired with a refreshingly cold beverage.
That’s what a summer day looks like for our winemaking team! Like we mentioned before, it’s the calm before (the very exciting) storm of harvest and all of the moving pieces that come with it. Keep an eye out for our next “A Day in the Life” post about… you guessed it— HARVEST! Cheers!