Bottling our 2011 Pinot Noirs

Racking Pinot to tank
Wednesday we'll be putting our 2011 Pinots and 2011 Semillon into bottle. If you've read this blog before, you've read my rants and raves about bottling -- how it's every winemaker's nightmare, and how something also goes wrong, always. All that's true, and it's also true that it's one of the most exciting times of the year because you can look back at an entire vintage and know it's now safely aging in bottle.

This year we're bottling a vintage that we're especially proud of. Our entire family (and numerous friends) came together and made it happen, all in a short time frame. The 2011 vintage will be remembered as a difficult vintage at best, due to a long, cool spring and summer and early fall rains. Later years tend to mean compressed harvests, and it seemed all the fruit came in within a few weeks, in one big rush.

Some vintners chose to pick before the rains (and not always at optimal sugars), and some chose to wait it out and risk soggy vineyards and mold issues. There are several stories I've heard about Chardonnay not being picked because it disintegrated in the rain or the vineyard was too wet for tractors.

Foursight Winemaker, Joe Webb, at work
Despite all the challenges, however, our estate delivered again: we had great sugars and flavors well before the rain loomed, and we picked everything without a threat of related issues. During the past two years, being at the southern end of the valley has made all the difference.

During the past few evenings, Joe and I have been racking and putting these 2011's into tank. I truly enjoy being able to work in the cellar with my husband, and my cellar rat skills have improved over the years, although I still sometimes struggle to heave around barrels and equipment (back to the P90X workouts I guess!).

The wines are drinking wonderfully right now, and the new screen printed Pinot bottles will look gorgeous! So far, everything seems to be set for Wednesday, and we'll just have to cross our fingers that nothing else pops up. After all, we already had to deal with our glass delivery never getting scheduled and several other small calamities. Ah, the joys of bottling...


Rob Feckler said…
What a way to do some work and bond with your family and friends! I’m sure the whole gang enjoyed the bottling experience, and they are quite proud of their achievement. Bottling a vintage wine is definitely an achievement. Seeing that liquid work of art in a beautiful container is a victory itself, no matter how hard or difficult the bottling process is.

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