A Spring's Day in the Life of our Winemaking Team
Spring is all about new beginnings. For our winemaking team at Nine Hats, it’s the start of a new growing season with bud break happening in early April. In this second installment of our blog series showing you a day in the life of a Nine Hats winemaker, we’re taking you on a journey through the season of renewal. So, enjoy this glimpse into the beginnings of how we bring Nine Hats wines from the vineyards to your glass.
Spring things at Nine Hats
A few things that are unique to winemaking in the spring are a planned vineyard trip in mid-April to visit our growers. We usually assess the winter survival rate and go over the season’s goals for yields and management. Don’t forget that making wine depends heavily on the work of growers and vineyard workers as well as a winemaking production team!
In the cellar, our extraordinary team is still working on racking off heavy lees from our 2020 wines and completing the final blends of the 2019 vintage. At the same time, we’re in the lab doing sensory reviews and topping off barrels to keep the wine pristine. Once we’ve completed our secondary fermentation (malolactic) and consolidated the barrels together, we’ve made space for Nina, our wine club manager, and Lisa, our shipping and office supervisor, to start organizing wine club allocations in order to send more delicious wine to our members!
A Day in the life
At about 6:30 a.m., our head winemaker Gilles enjoys a cup of tea as the sun wakes up with him. He enjoys cool, sunny mornings this time of year and loves to soak it in with a walk around his yard to see which plants and trees are blooming before heading into work. This year, his apricot tree was first to bloom. At 8 a.m. he’s at the winery after taking the scenic route and greets and checks in with his coworkers. Then, he assesses his plan of attack for the day and dives into emails. Much of the spring season is spent connecting with growers and completing tasks that will ensure a successful growing season and eventual harvest. After a tasting with our cooper to review the various barrels used to age our wines, it’s time for lunch!
Gilles really enjoys lunchtime as it’s a time for the team to connect and catch up with each other on a personal level. The winemaking team at Nine Hats is more than just a team going through the motions, it’s a family that cares about each other’s professional and personal lives with intention. After lunch it’s time to review projected numbers for the upcoming growing season and update the grape schedule to reflect those projections. Then, Gilles reaches out to our growers to touch base about the vintage expectations for the year.
Around 3 p.m. it’s time for a bit of spreadsheet work. The glamour of it all! Today, the barrel spreadsheet needs to be updated to ensure it matches the grape schedule. This helps keep the process of ordering barrels for the season organized and seamless. After that, the team gathers in the lab and they open a bottle from the tasting room to taste the finished product of all their hard work. By 5:30 p.m. Gilles is headed home to fire up the BBQ and relax with a beer in-hand.
This brings us to the end of the day in the life of our winemaking team during the springtime. We look forward to sharing the happenings around here during the summer months next. Until then, enjoy the longer days. Cheers!