A Fall's Day in the Life of our Winemaking Team
Cooling temperatures, leaves changing colors, and the smell of fermenting grapes—yep, it’s harvest season! As the most intense but exciting time of the year, harvest is where the final steps in the creation process for our portfolio of wines happen. In this fourth and final installment of A Day in the Life blog series, we wait all year for this pivotal moment when we transition from wine growing to winemaking. Pick your favorite Nine Hats wine, pour a glass, and get ready to learn what life is like behind the scenes during harvest!
Our team has been eagerly awaiting the moment when our winemaker Gilles says, “Go!” This is the beginning of a long couple of months for the crew, but they’re ready. Throughout the summer, they’ve cleaned, organized, and mentally prepared for this moment when their days begin before the sun rises and end well after it sets. Throughout harvest, second to attention to detail is team morale, and Gilles is always a source of inspiration and comedic relief when the days stretch from dawn to dusk. Even more, we keep the team loaded up with pastries and lunches to go along with a good belly laugh or two.
Our mornings start out with the first haul of fruit for the day, where the berries are hand-sorted, destemmed, and crushed before moving to their fermentation vessel. Additionally, the days can consist of pumpovers, pressing skins, filling barrels, and cleaning tanks in preparation for more fruit arriving. Once the juice is in the tank and fermenting, our crew is diligently monitoring various chemical levels to ensure a smooth transition from grape juice to your favorite Nine Hats wines. After the fermentation cycle is complete, it’s time to transport the wine to its aging vessel. Some, like most of our white wines, will stay in their tank to maintain that crisp, clean palate. Others, like our Chardonnay and our red wines, will spend some time in oak barrels to finish crafting the well-balanced mouthfeel.
Each day can look a little different depending upon what needs to be accomplished, based on the fruit showing up or completion of fermentation. This is something that our team is used to and anticipates as a part of the job. Whatever the day holds, we promise the cellar crew is always well-caffeinated, well-fed, and never bored! Make sure to visit our SODO tasting room for a chance to enjoy our lovingly crafted current release wines. Cheers!