Winemaking at District Winery: Blending Trials and Bottling
Not all of our wines get blended, but some grape varieties can do with a little help from their friends. Once all the red wine lots have been vinified and aged separately for approximately 15 months, we begin the blending process as needed. Blending is when we take multiple lots of wine and try different combinations in varying proportions. The goal is to end up with a wine whose sum is greater than the parts alone. It is amazing how 1% of a different lot can affect the outcome (sometimes we even get down to 0.5%!). Some of our whites get blended too, but this is not as common.
Bottling: Science Proves Itself Through Time
For bottlings where we call out the variety—Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, etc—we only blend in enough (if any) to enhance the structure without altering the flavor profile. For example, if Cabernet Franc is listed on the front label, we want to make sure that wine is representative of the variety, so we are careful during the blending process to ensure that the true expression of that variety shines through. All blending takes place as bench trials in beakers before the physical blend is completed in the cellar.
Once a wine is ready to be bottled, a series of events is triggered to ensure the glass, corks, capsules, and labels are on hand for bottling day. We generally need to bulk up our staff on these days too! We bottle almost everything by hand in the spring and late summer, and while this is slow going, it guarantees that the attention to detail is maintained. Since care is given to every stage of the winemaking process, it is vital that this level of care is maintained through to the wine’s final home in the bottle.
Life in the Bottle
Once in the bottle, the wine goes to our temperature controlled warehouse for continued aging, until our winemaking team determines that the wine is ready to drink. During this time, the wine is continuing to evolve, with tannins softening and flavors integrating, eventually resulting in a beautiful glass of wine. Wine is a living thing and whenever a bottle is opened, it is a snapshot of where that wine is on its journey. We are just peeking in to get a glimpse, but my oh my, what a tasty view.